Fashion Law: Behind the Seams

McDeviit Pitts Stuart Weitzman
Alexa McDevitt '15 and Emilie Pitts '15

At Villanova, externship placements go beyond the typical non-profit and government agencies to encompass opportunities at multinational corporations—such as luxury shoe company Stuart Weitzman LLC. 

In summer 2014, Alexa McDevitt ‘15 and Emilie Pitts ’15 traveled from the Philadelphia Main Line to Midtown Manhattan for hands-on experience in fashion law at Stuart Weitzman’s corporate headquarters.

As a first-year student interested in intellectual property and fashion law, Pitts used her networking skills to connect with Barbara Kolsun, the fashion industry’s go-to lawyer and General Counsel of Stuart Weitzman. The following summer Pitts and classmate McDevitt landed both of the company’s coveted legal intern positions.

McDevitt Pitts Kolsun
McDevitt and Pitts with Stuart Weitzman General Counsel Barbara Kolsun

“Every day brought a new set of challenges,” said McDevitt, co-founder and President of the Fashion Law Society, about her experience. “My duties consisted of drafting designer consultation agreements, reviewing commercial retail store leases and writing cease and desist letters to companies infringing on the Stuart Weitzman trademark.” Pitts added, “Though my title was ‘intern,’ none of my responsibilities were typical intern duties. On my first day, I filed a trademark renewal application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.”

Pitts’s experience included working directly with Weitzman himself. “Getting to know Stuart was a fantastic experience. He was so friendly, and it was great to work directly with the person who was so involved in his own company.”

Both students cite their Villanova Law education as pivotal in preparing them for this opportunity. “Diane Edelman (Professor of Law) and Peter Thompson (Director of Experiential Learning) were a huge help to me throughout the entire process because of their support and positive encouragement,” Pitts said. “In the beginning, I worked with Professor Edelman to secure the externship. Peter was always there to talk to whenever I had challenges throughout the summer and gave meaningful advice about how to get the most out of my experience.”

McDevitt’s participation in the Stuart Weitzman externship reinforced her desire to become in-house counsel for a fashion company. “The marriage of law and the business of fashion fosters a positive, albeit fast-paced and demanding work environment, which I find professionally rewarding.”

Click here to learn more about the Villanova Law Externship Program.