Over the past two weeks, the Trademark, Copyright, and Media Practice Group in Washington, D.C. hosted Afef Mars, a licensed Tunisian attorney, who came to the United States to gain a better understanding of U.S. law with particular focus on the areas of trademarks and its role in franchising.  We took advantage of the opportunity to sit down with Afef and talk to her more about her experience and views on the value of U.S. law. 


Remarks Blog: What motivated you to learn more about the law of other countries?

Afef Mars: It is important to work to prove our skills as lawyers in a global setting.  Through scientific and technological advances in recent years, the world is growing ever smaller such that travel in the virtual world takes place within seconds.  The practice of law has always intrigued me. Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamed of being a lawyer.  Now that I am practicing, I want to continually strive to develop creative solutions for my clients.  Sometimes, in Tunisia, the body of law that exists does not cover the issue one must address so it can be necessary to understand how other countries are handling similar scenarios.

RB: Why did you choose the United States as your destination?

AM: I travelled to the United States to learn about the American legal system and practice of law because it is my view that, as a lawyer, one should never be out of touch with modern advances in the legal field and techniques.  In my observations, the practice of law in the Unites States is technically advanced as are methods used by American lawyers.  Furthermore, U.S. law is appealing to me because it is very developed in a number of areas. 

It is exciting for me to gain experience in a legal system that has such a large body of precedent in many diverse practice areas.  I found this to be especially true during my time working with the DLA Piper Trademark, Copyright, and Media Practice Group in Washington, D.C.  During this time, I developed a better understanding of the practice of trademark law.  Federal trademark law in the United States is more developed than Tunisian trademark law.  I am impressed by the organization and the specificity of U.S. trademark statutes. 

RB: Tell us more about your impression of United States trademark law.

AM: Trademark law encompasses many different industries which gives lawyers the opportunity to specialize and develop skills to gain competency and eventually become recognized experts in a particular area of trademark law such as fashion, food and beverage, media, etc.  The law continues to evolve with rapidly changing business practices and technological advances.  At the same time, the lawyer is presented with opportunities to further develop these specialized skills and potentially create new precedent which may be better suited for the changing market. 

Specifically, I am very interested in the role of trademark law in the franchise sector.  Trademarks are an integral part of any franchise system, and the diversity of franchise systems gives a lawyer the ability to practice in a wide variety of areas, allowing her to exercise creative legal strategy for her clients.

RB: Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers on how this experience has benefited you?

AM: In closing, I find it beautiful when lawyers incorporate new techniques and methods into the practice of law.  I am confident my experience at DLA Piper will be of great value to me throughout my professional career, presently and in my future business ventures in Tunisia. This experience and what I have learned here has given me a renewed sense of excitement and enthusiasm for the practice of law upon my return to Tunisia.