Joan focuses her practice on intellectual property transactions in the areas of entertainment, arts, publishing, music, fashion and luxury goods law. Joan’s diverse clients include fashion designers, authors, musicians, models, modeling agencies, actors, actresses, inventors, photographers, event coordinators, visual artists, embroidery specialists, jewelry designers, and specialty boutiques.

Intellectual property and business matters such as trademarks, copyrights, trade secret agreements, business entity formation, standard releases, book publishing agreements, fashion model agency agreements, band collaboration agreements, domain name disputes and licensing are her areas of concentration.

Joan consistently earns Avvo’s Client’s Choice Award in entertainment law and receives five star reviews. Joan is an experienced mediator in both Virginia and Florida and has mediated numerous civil matters. Prior to private practice, Joan served as a law clerk for the Virginia Supreme Court’s longest serving Chief Justice, the Honorable Harry L Carrico. Pro-bono service with the Virginia Bar Association’s Lawyers for the Arts Committee inspired Joan to develop the “Coffee with an Art Lawyer” program which allows artists, musicians, fashion designers and other artsy types a pro-bono consultation in coffee shops in Richmond and Fredericksburg.

Joan has extensive trademark experience in clearance, filing, prosecution, licensing and appeals. Her clients include small businesses, boutiques, artists, fashion designers, modeling agencies, health food companies, jewelry designers, bakeries, musicians and television producers. Joan frequently speaks to local small business chambers, fashion designers, and artists about the importance of brand protection and trademark registration.
Fashion law is a specialized field that combines intellectual property and contract law with domestic and international business transactions. Joan’s knowledge of the industry’s rapidly evolving cycles, High Fashion Model regulations, counterfeiting, proven licensing strategies, trademark, trade dress, and design patent law allow her to be one of the area’s top fashion lawyers. Involved in the fashion and modeling industries for over twenty years, Joan regularly holds seminars with emerging and seasoned designers, fashion models, and parents of burgeoning talent. Joan is a licensed private investigator and has worked with internet service providers to have counterfeit goods removed from online retailers such as EBAY. As the mother of a daughter who is both a national spokesperson and a young model, Joan is well versed in fashion modeling law. She counsels young models and their parents concerning the obscurities involved in the modeling industry and the importance of finding a reputable agency. On the flip side, she also works with photographers and modeling agencies to review and draft sensible contracts that meet the requirements of the law and protect their businesses. Joan was featured with her daughter as a guest on The Katie Couric show in 2014. The episode highlighted the difficulties child fashion models encounter in the industry and the necessity of New York’s Child Model law and parental involvement in their children’s careers. She is an active member of Fashion Group International and the Model Alliance and holds a certificate of concentration in Fashion Law from Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute in New York City. Her practice in this area complements the firm’s entertainment clients looking to launch and maintain their own fashion labels.
As a published writer herself, Joan has a unique perspective of the literary landscape. Her book, Feng Shui Love (Palari Publishing, 2009, co-authored by Lisa Hyatt) hit the “chick-lit” world by storm with complementary merchandise and design lines. Reviewers of the book include Cindy Williams of Laverne and Shirley, who noted “Feng Shui Love is a Fun Shui Read!” and Emyl Jenkins, author of The Big Steal, who added, “Stop rearranging your furniture and spend your time reading Feng Shui Love. Along the way you might learn a little about life its own self. Additionally, Joan has served as an expert on panels discussing legal issues involved in the publishing industry. Joan is an avid supporter and founding member of James River Writers, a central Virginia non-profit that builds community by inspiring and educating readers and writers.
Joan’s music clients include soloists, bands and children’s groups. Joan assists musicians with forming business entities, creating agreements, registering trademarks and seeking copyright protection for their music. She also advises groups and individuals about the importance of having agreements reviewed by an attorney.
Joan’s visual art clients include painters, sketchers, tattoo artists, sculptors, pottery makers, jewelry makers, and photographers who sell or license their art to many different businesses including surf and skateboard companies, jewelry shops, clothing and shoe manufacturers and greeting card companies. Joan assists with reviewing and drafting licensing contracts, copyright registration, trademark protection and assisting a business entity. Joan is active in the local arts community and has spoken to various art groups including the Virginia Equine Artists Associations and Bon Air Artists.
Joan has extensive experience with internet and domain name disputes including matters involving cyber squatting and trademark and copyright infringement. If someone has infringed your trademark by registering it as his or her domain name, you may be able to file a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy proceeding against the registrant. Joan has filed numerous UDRP complaints with both the National Arbitration Forum and the World Intellectual Property Organization resulting in having domain names suspended and transferred to their rightful owners.

Contact Joan at 

(804) 510-0700 ext. 2

(540) 834-3657

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  • Graduate Certificate, Fashion Law Institute, Fordham School of Law
  • Barry University Dwayne Andreas School of Law, J.D.
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Harry L. Carrico, Virginia Supreme Court
  • University of Richmond
  • Stetson College of Law, International Business Law Concentration
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, M.S.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University,B.A.

  • Federal Bar Association Intellectual Property Section
  • American Bar Association Forum on Entertainment & Sports Industries
  • The Model Alliance
  • Virginia State Bar Intellectual Property Law Section
  • Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association (CLE Committee)
  • Fashion Group International (Executive Member)
  • International Association of Entertainment Lawyers
  • Greater Richmond Intellectual Property Association
  • Fredericksburg Bar Association
  • James River Writers
  • New York Lawyers for the Arts
  • Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts

  • Virginia State Bar
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Federal Bar 4th Circuit
  • New York (application pending)

  • Richmond Metropolitan Women’s Bar CLE Committee
  • Coffee with an Art Lawyer pro-bono program
  • Virginia Fashion Week Pop Up Law Clinics
  • Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts pro bono program
  • Chair, St. Catherine’s Daisy Days Corporate Sponsor Committee
  • Virginia Bar Association Lawyers for the Arts Committee

  • Instructor and Professional Development Consultant, Barbizon School of Modeling
  • South University, Richmond, Virginia
  • Webster College, Palm Harbor, Florida
  • Bryant & Stratton College, Richmond, Virginia
  • J. Sargeant Reynolds College, Richmond, Virginia

  • VCU School of Design“What can Emerging Designers Do”
  • Virginia Fashion Week “Protecting your Designs and Fashion Model Contracts”
  • James River Writers “Legal Panel”
  • The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce “Protecting your Brand, Registering your Trademark”
  • Fredericksburg Toastmasters “Writing Romantic Comedy”
  • RVA Fashion Academy “Designers, Branding and Logos”
  • Virginia Equine Artists Association “How to register a copyright”
  • Bon Air Artists Association “Preventing copyright infringement”
  • Fredericksburg Lunch n Learn, “Intro to Fashion Law”
  • Tennessee Bar Entertainment and Sports Forum 2016 “Fashion Law Couture”
  • Virginia Bar CLE “A Primer on Fashion Law”
  • The Northern Virginia Film Festival “Fashion in the Film Industry”