News & Views

Get to Know Us | Sarita Schröder, Managing Associate, IP & Technology

20 November 2020

We interviewed Managing Associate Sarita Schröder, who works in our Intellectual Property and Technology & Data practices. Sarita specialises in intellectual property, marketing, and consumer law, with a particular focus on litigation and other contentious matters in these fields. She frequently writes in our blog and often speaks at different events.

Can you share a little bit about your professional background?

I graduated as a Master of Laws from the University of Helsinki in 2010. Prior to joining Hannes Snellman, I spent the majority of my career working for another large corporate law firm in Finland — most recently in the intellectual property practice, but initially for a couple of years in the competition law and dispute resolution practices. In addition, I have gained some valuable in-house experience working as a legal counsel for a major Finnish telecommunications company. There, I was primarily responsible for brand, marketing, and customer service related legal affairs.

In addition to a law degree, I also have a Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration) degree from Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, where I completed the Master’s Degree Programme in Intellectual Property Law in 2016. Studying alongside work was tough at times, but it was definitely worth it.

I joined Hannes in November 2018.

You have just recently written a blog series “Branding Trends from a Lawyer’s Perspective”, and you will soon be speaking in a webinar about influencer marketing in the Nordic countries and the US. Why are you as a lawyer interested in these topics?

I really enjoy the fact that these topics are so concrete and relate directly to my everyday life. For example, I regularly buy and use products from most of the brands I work with. I also follow many popular influencers in my free time, meaning that I am continuously exposed to the commercial content that they produce. By helping our clients to successfully protect and defend their brands and ensure the legal compliance of their marketing, I feel that I am playing a part in shaping how consumers — myself included — experience the world. That makes my job feel meaningful and often not like hard work despite it being demanding.

If you could pick any brand to work with, which one would be your “dream client”?

I am already very fortunate to have the opportunity to regularly work with many of my dream clients, including leading Nordic and multinational brands in the retail, fashion, fast-moving consumer goods, and technology industries. However, even if I could name them publicly, it would be impossible to pick a favourite from among them. So, considering only brands I have never worked with before, I would probably go with someone like the LVMH group, whose product portfolio includes many of my favourite things from luxury handbags to champagne.

Another type of client that would be a fascinating new experience to work with would be a major influencer. Typically, we have assisted brands in setting up commercial partnerships with influencers, who often may not have had legal representation. However, the influencer marketing scene is changing rapidly, and many influencers are starting to become big businesses. As a concrete example of this, Chiara Ferragni, an Italian blogger and Instagram star, recently announced that she would be taking her company public on the Borsa Italiana (the Italian Stock Exchange). Thus, it is likely that we will soon be seeing more lawyers and major law firms on the influencers’ side of the table as well.

What is included in your “normal” working day?

There is no such thing as a normal working day for me — and that is one thing I really like about my job! Each day is unique, and most days include unexpected elements. However, typically a working day includes a lot of correspondence with colleagues, clients, counterparties, courts, and authorities, etc., drafting different types of documents, internal and external meetings, and coaching younger lawyers in their assignments.

In addition to billable work, I often spend a relatively substantial part of my day on tasks related to client relations and knowledge management. These tasks include, for example, engaging in business planning together with teammates and colleagues firm wide, preparing marketing materials and sales pitches, and participating in and speaking at internal and external trainings and other events.

What is the best advice you have received when it comes to your career?

Make small improvements every day and you will accomplish great things. With this advice in mind, I regularly put aside at least a little time to learn new things and polish my existing skills. Our frequent Hannes Academy trainings, which cover a broad range of legal, business, and personal development topics, provide an excellent opportunity for this. I also enjoy listening to podcasts and audiobooks on similar topics, for example, while walking to and from the office.