INTA members Paula Clancy and Natalie Raffoul are quintessential busy professionals. They are founding partners of Clancy PC + Brion Raffoul, which are affiliated firms operating as an IP boutique specializing in trademarks, designs, patents, and associated licensing issues.
Paula is a registered trademark lawyer with almost twenty years of legal experience, and Natalie is a patent attorney with a background in electrical engineering. Paula and Natalie have been recognized by numerous organizations for their achievements in IP and business. For example, Paula was recently nominated and selected as a finalist for the Businesswoman of the Year Award, and Natalie was awarded the Ottawa Business Journal’s Top Forty under 40 award. Both recognitions highlight Paula's and Natalie’s success in business and professional life.
In addition to their active legal practices, Paula and Natalie have made a commitment to pro bono work and giving back to the community. When asked about the history of pro bono activities in their practices, the women explained that the partners of their firm feel very strongly about pro bono activity. The lawyers of Clancy PC + Brion Raffoul have been involved in a number of pro bono and community outreach organizations including Ottawa Community Foundation, Ottawa Caring and Sharing Exchange, REACH, Vanier Community Services Association, SOS Children’s Village, and Western University.
When asked what their favorite pro bono activity has been, both Paula and Natalie responded that it was their involvement with Lead To Win because it gives them both the opportunity to draw on their expertise in the area of intellectual property while also giving back to their Ottawa community. Lead to Win is a business development program that was designed with the objective to establish and grow businesses in Canada. It was recently named one of the top 10 university incubators in North America by UBI Global. Through volunteers, Lead To Win provides small businesses with the resources to establish, grow, and/or strengthen their businesses. Paula and Natalie serve as coaches for the entrepreneurs participating in Lean To Win. The entrepreneurs are able to draw, not only on Paula’s and Natalie’s legal expertise in the area of intellectual property, but also on the business knowledge they developed over the years of starting and growing their own firm.
When asked whether they think participating in pro bono matters has enriched their practice of law, both Paula and Natalie responded “Absolutely.” The women explain that “by working with entrepreneurs at the start-up stage, [they] have become more attuned to client needs.” Paula’s and Natalie’s pro bono experience, particularly with entrepreneurs just starting out who may not have an advanced understanding of intellectual property issues, has highlighted the importance of being clear in the communication of the advice given. As a result, Paula and Natalie are even better at communicating with and spotting issues for existing clients. Both women agree that their pro bono experiences have been very rewarding and that they are happy to have the opportunity to continually learn from other entrepreneurs. As they pointed out “[we] genuinely have a love of learning, and we are entrepreneurs by nature given our experience as a start-up firm.”
Paula and Natalie are great examples of INTA members succeeding in business and paying it forward by giving back to their community.