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Pro Bono Spotlight
Jennifer Mikulina




Jennifer M. Mikulina is the head of the global trademark practice at McDermott Will & Emery, and has been with McDermott since 2001.  

McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice.  Over the years, McDermott’s trademark group has been consistently recognized as an industry leader, including rankings in Chambers USA, World Trademark Review, Legal 500 and Intellectual Property Today. In November 2013, McDermott was honored by the INTA as the sole recipient of its Volunteer Service Award in the “Pro Bono Services Provided by Organizations” category.   

Driven by McDermott’s goals to give back to the community and participate in its comprehensive pro bono and community service program, Jennifer holds a vice-chair position of the Firm’s Gender Diversity Committee and has served as chair of the Pro Bono & Community Service Committee for McDermott’s Chicago office. She is also an active participant on INTA’s Pro Bono Committee.

When Jennifer started college she knew that she wanted to go to law school, but had no idea what type of law she wanted to practice. Only when she was writing her senior honors thesis on the issues related to the protection of international intellectual property rights did she think that this was an interesting area and then chose to pursue a career in intellectual property.

Her personal and professional interests coupled with giving back to the community have afforded her interesting and challenging pro bono activities. “Every day is different and brings new and interesting projects.” When asked, “How is your day going?” Jennifer doesn’t say “I’m busy.” She’s on life’s treadmill and an every-ready crusader who finds the time to pay it forward. She regularly provides  pro bono intellectual property services to a number of organizations. Some of these are as follows:

Rainforest Alliance: The Rainforest Alliance fosters the principles of sustainability by connecting sustainably managed businesses with conscientious consumers through its Rainforest Alliance Certified seal and Rainforest Alliance Verified mark. Jennifer is part of team of attorneys that handle its registration and other prosecution matters, and advises the Rainforest Alliance on complex international certification mark licensing issues and provides counseling related to the enforcement of its trademark and certification mark rights around the world. The Rainforest Alliance works with forward-thinking farmers, foresters and tourism entrepreneurs to conserve natural resources and ensure the long-term economic health of forest communities. In order for a farm or forestry enterprise to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification, or for a tourism business to be verified, it must meet rigorous standards designed to protect ecosystems, safeguard the well-being of local communities and improve productivity. Through the green frog seal, the Rainforest Alliance links these entities to the growing global community of conscientious consumers and helps both businesses and consumers do their part to ensure a brighter future for us all. More information regarding Rainforest Alliance.

Healthy Schools Campaign: The Health Schools Campaign, a non-profit organization based in Chicago, seeks to create healthier school environments for students. In the past year, Jennifer has helped to protect its valuable FIT TO LEARN and COOKING UP CHANGE trademarks and enforce its trademark rights against unauthorized third party use of these marks, and provided copyright and trademark counseling. 

FIT TO LEARN is a professional development program to help teachers integrate nutrition and fitness into everyday subjects, while meeting state standards. The objective is to make healthy habit a routine part of how kids learn to increate academic achievement, better behavior and reduced absenteeism. 

COOKING UP CHANGE is a dynamic culinary competition that puts student voices front-and-center in the national dialogue about school meals. Teams of high school culinary students compete to create delicious, nutritious school for lunch for about $1.00 per meal.

More information regarding Healthy Schools Campaign.

CFIDS Association of America: The Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI) – formerly the CFIDS Association of America – has been the leading organization focused on myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) since being founded in 1987.  Jennifer has advised them  on its rebranding campaign and new Logo mark, and counseled them on how to use their trademarks property and how to protect them. More information on the CFIDS Association of America.

Community: In addition to Jennifer’s many professional responsibilities, she is committed to community organizations in the Chicago area. She is a member of the Board of Directors for: Lawyers for the Creative Arts, where she is an officer (Secretary) on the Board’s Executive Committee; WITS (Working in the Schools), where she serves as both a board member and a volunteer tutor; and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Jennifer is also a Brownie Girl Scout troop leader (for her daughter’s troop). Outside her professional life, this Chicago-area resident enjoys spending her free time with her husband and their daughter (age 7) and son (age 3), and cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers.