Entering the Law
In high school, Nathalie excelled in studying mathematics, Latin, and Ancient Greek and hesitated between deciding to pursue a law degree or a business degree. In perspective, Nathalie began her career after completing her law degree near her hometown of France. Nathalie decidedly graduated with an LLM in Intellectual Property Law at the University of Paris Assas. During this time, she had the opportunity to study a year abroad with five other students as part of the ERASMUS program. This program is organized and managed by the European Union for education, training, youth, and sport. The ERASMUS (European Community Action Schemes for the Mobility of University Students) program provides opportunities for students to study or gain work experience in a different European country while completing their initial degree in their home country. Nathalie had the opportunity to attend Leicester University in the United Kingdom. She diligently learned everything she could about common law at Leicester.
Later, she decided to move to Paris to start her career as an attorney. She was more inclined to practice copyright law for artists and designers there. During this time, Nathalie applied to a copyright protection and collection society in Paris, namely SPADEM, for collective rights. Soon she was introduced to the Pablo Picasso estate, which was a turning point in Nathalie’s career. She applied to a law firm specializing in trademark and patent law, which led her further into the intricacies of intellectual property law.
After working hard to build her career in intellectual property and to become an expert in French and European trademark law, industrial designs, copyright law, anti-trust, unfair competition, counterfeiting, and technology, Nathalie realized an opportunity. She recognized an important niche where she could bring innovation, integrity, and efficiency to her clients. It was time to start her own law firm. The firm was established, and Nathalie’s dream became a reality.
A curse and a gift
Nathalie went with her gut instincts and decided to call the firm Dreyfus, which is where her first challenges began. The name ‘Dreyfus’ is not neutral because of its historical and political weight. As Nathalie refers to it, the name is both a curse and a gift. It is probably the most important reason that prompted her to stick with her choice of name to start up her firm. Historically, the name Dreyfus is often associated with Alfred Dreyfus, a French military officer who was involved in the most polarizing dramas in French history. He was charged with treason and then found innocent in the Dreyfus affair.
With this ‘weight’ in the name, Nathalie experienced indirect discrimination from very early on in her career, as sadly, many French IP law firms refused to work with her name. However, when Nathalie set up her own firm and went international, her name became synonymous, becoming a ‘true gift’ as the name Dreyfus was so appealing, due to its association with some popular entities globally. People were surprised when Nathalie began traveling abroad in the name of her new company. The name had its weight and still does, but it has also had a positive impact on people in the industry, which has been an encouragement when working with international clients.
While founding Dreyfus, Nathalie’s objective was to always find solutions for her clients, no matter how complex the issue could be. To this day, Nathalie and her team at Dreyfus strive to bring innovative and pragmatic answers to complex legal questions and issues related to the protection and enhancement of intellectual property rights. Dreyfus has a balanced clientele, from large, well-known companies with big brands to smaller firms, including creators, artists, entrepreneurs, and start-ups. The team at Dreyfus works closely together to bring their clients’ projects and ideas to life, and according to Nathalie, it is always an absolute pleasure with a sense of pride to see their work yield fruitful results. Dreyfus prides itself on assisting its client’s hand-in-hand from start to finish.