Successful Berklee Alumni #114: J.C. Zwisler

J.C. Zwisler

Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 15 min.) or download it.


Graduated in 2010 with a major in Professional Music.  Principal instrument:  drums.


Position:  Associate Attorney at Ladas & Parry, LLP, a Intellectual Property (“IP”) law firm that specializes in international intellectual property law, with a bit over 100 attorneys spread over for primary locations.  J.C. is one of around 30 in their New York office, and one of 4 lawyers in the “Trademark Group.”  He’ll respond to clients’ queries, research issues, and write responses which are then looked over by one of the (more senior) partners.  A small fraction of his job involves trying to get new clients.


Overview:  J.C. planned to teach music after graduating at the end of 2010, and did so in the Boston Area for a year, getting private clients plus many clients in Weston and Wellesley through At Your Door Music.  He enjoyed working with them, but after a full year J.C. realized he was unhappy with this as a career–for most students “It was just another activity.” and his head would be ringing by the end of the day. He kept some students, as well as gigging with a band, while exploring other career options, particularly those still connected to music.  His Legal Aspects class at Berklee, plus his parents both being lawyers got him thinking about entertainment law, and conversations with several local entertainment lawyers made him choose that as a career.  J.C.  spent a while studying for the LSATs, and enrolled at NorthEastern University School of Law in the fall of 2013.

Very soon as he got there, J.C. realized he didn’t want do entertainment law.  “I learned more about what an entertainment attorney actually is. It’s not like it’s one thing. It’s someone who should know real estate, corporate, IP, maybe criminal.  That wasn’t what I was looking for. ”  But J.C. loved his IP law class, so he took all the IP classes he could, joined IP professional organizations and clubs, and took IP-related jobs.  After graduation and passing both the MA and NY bar exams, J.C.  undertook a full-time jobs search.  It took roughly six months, but in February 2017 an application to his current firm led to his current job.


You can see J.C.’s LinkedIn profile here.


Choice Quotes:  “I was drawn to IP (intellectual property) from the get-go. Also, it makes sense to me. When I try to explain trademark law to people, what it boils down to is two companies using marks which may or may not be similar for products that may or may not be similar. The question is are they similar enough for people to be confused? To me, that makes sense.”

“In our practice–and I think this is particular to trademarks–I bounce around all day on countless things. I come home and can’t recall everything I’ve don’t wtihout having to look back on my records.”

“A lot of what I do is routine, but when a client comes with something really different and it’s intellectually stimulating to turn your brain on and figure out new things–I enjoy that challenge. I have to keep up with trademark law as part of my job; there are a lot of interesting, impactful IP cases.”

“Dealing with first year law school was a major shock. Not that Berklee wasn’t challenging, but law school is a whole different beast.  You can’t prepare all that much, but brace yourself–it’s REALLY difficult!  Try to read a few case books before you go. Learn some rudimentary law before you step in.”



J.C. drumming with the band he was in for years, Jet Black Sunrise.  They played their farewell show in December 2017.  “When you’re a musician, you practice your craft. For me that was drums–going to (Berklee) classes all day, then practicing for hours at night. That taught me to focus in on something for long periods of time and apply apply apply myself until I get better at it. I went to law school with no real idea what was going on, but that same concept–reading stuff over and over until I got it was similar.   It was extremely hard, but I knew if I put in the time and worked it hard it would happen.”



J.C.  these days, with friends.  Life is going well, and he has some words of advice for Berklee grads thinking about a career in law,  “”It’s a double-edge sword. As a Berklee grad, you’re going to have to explain yourself a lot. This interview is just a long version of my 30-second elevator pitch I’ve done for years. But on the plus side, having Berklee on your resume will help you stand out–and in this field anything you can do to set yourself apart really helps!”




See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.