Interview with Sarah Feingold the In-House Attorney for Etsy
Sarah is a jewelry-making out-of-the-box artistic extrovert, and an attorney. The Student Appeal is ecstatic to interview her for our Day in the Life series.
1) Tell us how you got your current position.
I discovered Etsy while I was working at a law firm. I was looking for different ways to sell my jewelry when I found Etsy. I realized that they didn’t have an in-house attorney, so I emailed the customer support team. They got me in touch with Etsy’s founder, Rob Kalin. After talking with him, I told Rob that I was flying from Rochester NY to New York City for an interview. I met with Rob, got the job, sold my car and moved to Brooklyn.
2) What does your job as in-house counsel for Etsy entail?
As in-house counsel, especially for a start-up, you have to be part businesswomen and part attorney. Most start-up companies don’t turn into long-term businesses, so you have to make smart decisions for the company’s bottom line.As an in-house attorney, you do a lot of issue spotting. There are always things that need your attention – the important thing is to prioritize.
Also, you need to ensure that your coworkers trust you. It will make your job so much harder if the other employees don’t feel like they can talk to you.
3) How long did you work at your previous job?
I was out of law school for around two years working for a law firm, but I knew I wasn’t passionate about my work. I went to law school because I wanted to work with artists and protect artists.
4) Do you think you would have gotten the job at Etsy without the previous experience?
No. The law firm helped me hone my research and writing skills. It also gave me the credibility and experience to get the job I love. It was a great way to meet people because when you are working as in-house counsel you will still need to hire outside counsel or solicit other attorneys for advice. Not only did I meet great people at my first job, I also learned what I didn’t want to do with my career.
5) Did you do anything during law school that you feel helped you get the job?
I published an e-book during law school, Copyright for Artists: Quick and Easy Copyright Protection. I still get inquiries from the e-book; which, of course, I refer out.
I also took art classes and entrepreneurship classes. I knew I wanted to work with artists after graduation, so it was good for me to get out and meet potential clients and learn what issues concern them.
6) What law school classes were helpful in your career?
All of them. Every class makes you a better attorney. Every class teaches research, writing and analytics skills. As an in-house attorney though, I’m glad I took Contract Law and Employment Law. When you work for a company, there are always contracts to draft and negotiate and employment issues to handle.
7) Is there any advice you can offer current law students who might be interested in pursuing a similar career path?
Always keep working on your research and writing skills. If you are interested in a subject, research it. You can start becoming an expert on an area of law right now. Also, you don’t have to work for a job you don’t enjoy for years in hopes of getting a job you will love. Always look for your next opportunity. Think outside the box, and show how you can add value to an organization. Etsy wasn’t looking for an attorney when I contacted them.
Do you have questions for Sarah? Leave a comment! Want more articles like this? Let us know!!