The Enterprise Law Clinic offers a neighborhood firm the increase it wants
When Brian Edwards, a judge on the Kentucky Circuit Court, and Andrew Vazquez, a California immigration law attorney, saw his uncles, they partnered with the law and inspired Willamette law student William Grasty JD’21 to pursue his own legal education. For Grasty, his uncles embody the values of integrity, perseverance and compassion. He witnessed the impact of their work on the lives of others that greatly influenced Grasty and influenced his own career path.
After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Grasty became a research fellow at Stanford Law School and later worked as a trainee lawyer at Electronic Arts, a video game company. Both experiences cemented his desire for a career in commercial law at Willamette Law.
“What brought me to Willamette was the strong sense of community and the beautiful campus,” says Grasty.
In the spring of 2020, Grasty attended the college’s Business Law Clinic.
“What piqued my interest was the opportunity to build relationships and work with passionate entrepreneurs who were just getting started,” explains Grasty.
He wanted to help improve a customer’s vision by offering a service and creating value. Through a referral from the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center to the legal clinic, Grasty met Sam Parra, who was looking for help with the labeling of his logo, a stylized “P” made from grapevines.
“Mr. Parra was my first customer,” says Grasty. “He was born and raised in the Napa Valley. I’m from Sunnyvale. I felt like there was a direct connection between two people from Northern California who are now passionate about their lives.” in the Willamette Valley. ”
Parra found him a passionate, motivated person. His desire to help other underrepresented groups get into the wine industry had a positive effect on Grasty.
Parra founded Parra Wine Company in 2019 to pursue his passion for winemaking and support underrepresented groups within the company. Parra is co-chair of AHIVOY, a non-profit that empowers Latin American and Hispanic vineyard workers in the Willamette Valley to address socio-economic challenges.
Reflecting on his experience with the legal clinic, Parra says it was the resource he needed to start his business on a budget.
“William Grasty was a true professional from the beginning to the end of my branding process who always followed up and explained what was going on with my brand,” says Parra. “I am honored and happy to have branded endorsement from Willamette Law. As a minority owner starting on a tight budget, this is the support my company needed to protect my branding from the start.”
According to Grasty, the biggest challenge facing the Parra logo was studying whether it was likely to be registrable nationwide. It was the perfect hands-on opportunity for Grasty to work with trademark law.
“Most emerging businesses start with limited resources, so our research and ability to analyze and convey information in layman’s terms has been vital,” says Grasty.
The information provided by Grasty enabled Parra to decide which of its trademarks are likely to be approved and registered, and to decide whether to file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the Oregon Secretary of State.
“The Business Law Clinic teaches the value and benefits of teamwork,” says Grasty, “and I had the support of two great partners, Dylan Knapp [3L] and Julie Preciado [JD’20]. “
After almost a year of work at the USPTO, the Parra Wine Company logo was approved for publication and was recently published in the Trademark Official Gazette. The logo is now nationally protected, which is important if the company becomes a national trademark.
Grasty describes his time at the Professor Warren Binford-led law clinic as much like a law firm atmosphere that challenges students and instills the value of quality work. “Working at the Willamette Business Law Clinic gave me an exceptional opportunity to develop conceptual and organizational skills, work with startups at a very early stage, and shape my future by incorporating those tangible, invaluable skills into my planned Area of activity, “says Grasty.
Binford noted that from the outset, Grasty recognized the law’s potential to empower members of historically marginalized groups by helping them create successful business ventures and nonprofits. It is inspiring to “sit behind the glass” and see his customer interviews with Parra, where he talked about his life managing other people’s vineyards and his dream of one day managing his own, she says.
“William believed in his client’s dream and worked 24/7 to learn all about Mr. Parra’s intellectual property and how to protect it to ensure his client’s dream continued to come true, a legal protection after the other, “says Binford. “Williams’ work with Parra Wine is the best that Willamette’s Business Law Clinic has to offer clients and students who recognize the power of the transformative lawyer.”
Grasty will continue to serve emerging businesses and nonprofits like Parra Wine. He expects to graduate with his JD in 2021.
Via Willamette University College of Law
Willamette University College of Law was the first law school in the Pacific Northwest when we opened our doors in 1883. Our location in Salem, Oregon, directly across from the state capital and the Supreme Court, is a benefit not found anywhere else in the region. Our thought-leading scientists nurture and nurture the shared responsibility we have to make a difference in society. That is why we focus on justice, fairness and equality.
We produce the best problem solvers, community leaders, legal dealmakers and change makers in the most innovative and exciting region in the country. We have seen remarkable growth in academic achievement, as measured by bar throughput rates, for three consecutive years, and consistently have the highest graduate employment rates of any law school in Oregon – including the best on the West Coast.
We are a dynamic force within our university’s vision of an “Only at Willamette” education and have worked to develop one of the most forward-thinking and creative programs in the country. Our student-centered approach manifests itself in the solid experience-based learning opportunities that we offer alongside the strengths of the curriculum in public service, business law, the legal profession, international law and health law.