Rochelle’s interest in copyright law began during her childhood. Her great-uncle, Billy Strayhorn, a gifted and prolific composer of famous music including “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Lush Life”, had not been properly credited or compensated for many of his works. This issue plagued Rochelle’s family for decades after his death, landing them in federal court when they tried to recapture their copyrights after the passage of the Sonny Bono copyright extension.
Rochelle went to law school not knowing what she would pursue, but dedicated to learning about copyright and trusts/estates. Fascinated by copyright, Rochelle took the natural next step to trademarks and, while in law school, held internships with her copyright/trademark professor and at the United States Copyright Office.
After law school, Rochelle joined one of the largest IP boutiques in the country and from there, she established her own firm where she represented clients in an array of industries and handled a mix of trademark and copyright prosecution and litigation matters. In one of her more noteworthy cases, Rochelle successfully represented a pair of highly accomplished jazz musicians in a copyright infringement matter against the #1 hip hop artist at that time.
Rochelle also serves as music supervisor for television and film. Her IP expertise has been a tremendous asset when facing challenging clearances. Productions sometimes wish to use material for which the permission parties are not obvious and/or the need for permission is not clear—and the deadlines are often very short. This experience has been tremendous for Rochelle because it has required her to find non-traditional avenues for making things happen that otherwise seemed impossible.
Publications and Speaking Engagements
- Northwestern University, Business of Jazz, May 16, 2018, April 6, 2016, April 30, 2014, May 16, 2012 (guest lecturer)
- Vibe and Thrive: Eat. Educate. Elevate, Are you sure you own that?, September 14, 2016
- Valparaiso University Law School, Sister to Sister, October 4, 2012 (panelist)
- Northern Illinois University College of Law, What Can I Do With My Law Degree?, September 26, 2012 (panelist)
- What Is True?, 2010 (editor)
- Chicago Bar Association with Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Copyright Infringement, March 26, 2009 (panelist)
- University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign College of Law, Intellectual Property Law Practice, October 2008 (panelist)
- Copyright Law and the New Library of Alexandria, IP Law 360, March 30, 2006 (co-author)
- Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression, 2006 Edition (research assistant)
- Selected Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition Statutes, Regulations & Treaties, 2004 Edition (research assistant)
- The NBA Analyst, 1997, 1998, and 1999 editions (editor)
Admitted to practice
- Illinois (2005)
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2005)
- New York (admission pending)
- J.D., 2005, The George Washington University Law School
- B.A., French, 1992, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
- Certificat, 1991, L’Univérsité d’Aix-Marseille III, Institut d’Études Françaises pour Étudiants Étrangers
Volunteer Attorney – Cabrini Green Legal Aid (2013 – Present)
International Trademark Association (INTA)
The Copyright Society of the USA
- Midwest Chapter Co-Chair (2014-15)
American Bar Association