Cassandra LaRae-Perez

Creating practice-ready lawyers from day one has been essential to the mission of UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law since its founding. In her new role as director of the Intellectual Property and Transaction Clinic, seasoned attorney and educator Cassandra LaRae-Perez intends to continue that preparation for the next generation.

“My goal is for students to leave this clinic with the confidence and skill to handle a trademark application or a copyright registration from start to finish, to deepen their client communication skills so they can not only talk and listen to a client effectively, but also recognize when there may be IP issues that the client may not see.” says LaRae-Perez, who will join the law school community full-time in January. “I hope they will learn how to win a client’s confidence, to know what they know and what they don’t know. I hope they will impress their employers and future clients with their practical skills and solid judgment.”

LaRae-Perez, who has taught trademark law at UNH Franklin Pierce as an adjunct professor since 2021, brings more than two decades of practice experience to her new role. After 14 years, first as a telecommunications attorney and then a litigator, she spent the last six years at Gravel & Shea, where she founded a practice dedicated to food and beverage law, representing specialty food producers, sugar makers, bakers, wine and cider makers, distillers, and others. At the same time, she developed the firm’s existing intellectual property practice, expanding its international reach and deepening its complexity and the services the firm offered to its clients. She will continue to represent clients on trademark and copyright issues.

A graduate of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), LaRae-Perez did not initially pursue a career in law, having studied theater, genetics, and economics as an undergraduate at UCSD in addition to studies at the University of Birmingham in England and the Suzuki Company of Toga in Toga-Mura, Japan. After graduation, she lived for nearly 10 years in England, after which she returned to the U.S. to attend Boston University School of Law, where she focused on international, refugee, and asylum law and participated in a section of BU’s Civil Litigation Clinic that focused on representing asylum seekers before the (then) INS and the EOIR, the immigration court in Boston.

 “It was motivating to be able to help people with real-world problems while I was still a student,” LaRae-Perez says of her time at the Clinic, “and I developed practical skills that I would not have otherwise had when I first started my career. That’s why I feel so strongly about the value of the clinics [at UNH Franklin Pierce]. It was a formative experience in law school to take all the abstract learning of the classroom and apply it to real problems. My clinic professor was then and is still a person I admire and respect. She contributed a lot to who I am today. If I can be that for someone else, I will really have achieved something.”

Outside of her legal career, LaRae-Perez is a French wine scholar, a Level 4 diploma candidate in the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), and would like one day to study to become a master sommelier. She also studies French language.

To her work as director of the IP and Transaction Clinic, LaRae-Perez will bring fresh perspective to an already thriving program and practical skills gained from more than 20 years in private practice. Having traveled extensively herself, she looks forward to working with students from all over the world.

“I’m interested in different cultures and practices and I’m interested in learning about different approaches to legal problems we have in common,” LaRae-Perez says. “Many of the international students who study at UNH Franklin Pierce are already lawyers or trademark professionals in their home countries. I’m excited to meet and learn from them as well as from the other experienced students who come to our school to broaden their practices.”

In announcing the appointment of LaRae-Perez, Dean Megan Carpenter praised the incoming professor for her “thoughtfulness, experience, and ideas for running a clinic.” Meanwhile, LaRae-Perez shared that she has been impressed with the law school’s sense of commitment to practical teaching, along with its welcoming community. She looks forward to working with her many colleagues to implement new ideas and expand on the excellent foundation established by her predecessors. In addition to her role with the Clinic, LaRae-Perez will teach Trademark Law and Deceptive Practices and additional courses in intellectual property and business development.

“The team at [UNH Franklin Pierce] is terrific,” she says, “and I really look forward to working with them.”