Dan Baldwin 2013-10-25 12:26:16
Maria Crimi Speth sees herself as the beneficiary of the spirit, determination and hard work of hundreds of women attorneys who preceded her in the profession. “I have much gratitude and respect for the pioneers who became women lawyers at a time when it was a male dominated profession. I feel like I owe a debt to those women because they paved the way for women lawyers today to embrace our feminine traits and be who we are,” she says. Speth is an attorney with Phoenix based law firm, Jaburg Wilk, where her practice areas are intellectual property litigation and Internet law, including website liability. She felt a calling to work in the intellectual property field since her days at law school. “Trademark and copyright law is fascinating to me. Since most of my clients are web based, most of the work that I do is related to online infringement and other online legal issues.” As with many women in the profession, she experienced gender-related challenges early in her career. She was able to overcome these challenges by following the example of her predecessors. She says, “Clients, clerks and firm employees have assumed I was a secretary or a paralegal. There was the new employee in the copy department who didn’t think it was a good idea to copy my document on bond paper and said, ‘Maybe you should ask the attorney.’ A courtroom clerk once asked when the attorney would be arriving. There was even a secretary who announced to me on my first day on the job that she told the firm she did not want to work for a woman.” Throughout her career, however, she has found that being a female attorney is an asset and that at times the false expectations of other people can have a humorous side. “Later in my career, one of my favorite secretaries was a man. We had many laughs at the reactions of people who assumed that he was the lawyer and I was the secretary,” Speth says. “Overall, my feminine side has helped me in the practice of law as much as my masculine side. Every lawyer, man or woman, needs to balance strength with compassion, intelligence with emotion, and toughness with sensitivity. It is that balance that I think makes me a great lawyer,” she says. In 1983, Speth earned her associate degree at Suffolk Community College, summa cum laude. She graduated from Hofstra University, cumlaude, in 1985 and earned her Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law in 1988. She was admitted to the State Bar of New York in 1988 and the State Bar of Arizona in 1989. Speth is licensed to appear before the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York; the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; the U.S. District Court, District of Arizona; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit; the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit; and the U.S. Supreme Court. Speth is an experienced and in-demand writer and speaker. She is the author of “Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors” and “Apple vs. Samsung: The Balance Between Patent Rights and the Free Market.” She presents seminars for the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Small Business Association, the Inventors’ Association of Arizona, the National Business Institute, and Lorman Education Services, on intellectual property, Internet and trademark protection. She is a faculty member of the internationally acclaimed CEO Space Forums and is a frequent guest speaker on TV and radio, addressing intellectual property protection topics. In addition to her work, Speth finds time for yoga, entertaining friends, playing board games and dancing. She is also quite active in the legal community. She is a member of the intellectual property law section and the past chair of the e-commerce and technology section of the Arizona State Bar Association. She is a member of the International Trademark Association’s Internet committee and the National Association of Female Executives. She is on the board of directors of both Safe Haven, Inc. and the Institute of Harmonic Science.
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