Attorney Spotlight: Shehla Syed named to Super Lawyers 2023 edition

18 October 2023

About Super Lawyers

West Hill is pleased to announce that Shehla Syed was recognized by Super Lawyers® for Intellectual Property. Super Lawyers is an exclusive list of top-rated attorneys in specific practice areas who were selected after a thorough evaluation of numerous criteria. No more than five percent of attorneys in a state are named Super Lawyers.

“I appreciate the honor of being named a ‘Super Lawyer’, and congratulate my peers also recognized on this year’s list,” said Shehla Syed.

This marks the fifth consecutive year Shehla has been selected as an honoree in Massachusetts since 2019. Super Lawyers select attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research.

This marks the fifth consecutive year Shehla has been selected as a Super Layers honoree in Massachusetts since 2019

About Shehla Syed

Shehla is a West Hill Shareholder and IP Strategist specializing in Intellectual Property, Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Ms. Syed counsels clients on all aspects of their intellectual property – trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets – to help them maximize the value and enforceability of their content, brands and technology.

Shehla is a member of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, the Boston Patent Law Association and the New England Muslim Bar Association, for which she was one of the founding members. Shehla has also served on the Community Ethics Committee at the Division of Medical Ethics of the Harvard Medical School which provides ethics feedback to Harvard teaching hospitals.

About West Hill

West Hill Technology Counsel is a boutique business and technology law firm. Providing proactive, practical legal advice to help solve problems before they arise. Our clients are new and growing businesses that create or leverage technology as a core part of their business model.

About Super Lawyers

For more information on Super Lawyers, a part of Thomson Reuters, click here.

West Hill Proudly Supports the Million Dollar Women Symposium

10 October 2023

The Enterprise Center at Salem State University hosted the Million Dollar Women Symposium at the Hawthorne Hotel on September 29th. West Hill Technology Counsel is a legacy sponsor of this event that celebrated 15 years of spotlighting women entrepreneurs who have achieved a million dollars in revenue per year on the North Shore. 

Million Dollar Women Panelists

As a past Million Dollar Woman panelist, Louise Kennedy was invited to introduce the panel of four honorees. The panel included: Rajia Abedelaziz, CEO of invisaWear, Natalie Blue and Madelene Pario, Co-Founders of the Artful Life Counseling Center & Studio and Jeysi Zuniga, President and CEO of Synergy Contracting, Inc.

Abdelaziz’s company sells smart jewelry and accessories with safety technology hidden inside. Her mission is to prevent sexual assault, as currently one in five women are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetimes.

Blue and Pario’s center, The Artful Life, is a unique mental health counseling practice and studio in Salem. They utilize expressive-arts therapy and other holistic interactive methods as an affordable alternative to traditional mental health counseling.

Zuniga’s Lawrence-based company provides environmental remediation, demolition, painting, and construction services. She has worked in a variety of fields including real estate and biotechnology.

Keynote

The keynote speaker was Rhonda Kallman, Founder & CEO of Boston Harbor Distillery. Kallman has nearly four decades of experience in the alcoholic beverages industry. She is widely considered one of the a national thought leader in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

About the Enterprise Center

Laura Swanson, the Executive Director of the Enterprise Center and also the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, and her team organizes the event annually to spotlight successful women business owners and inspire future women entrepreneurs in and around Boston.

  • Louise Kennedy from West Hill Moderating Panel at Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Louise Kennedy from West Hill introducing the Million Dollar Women Symposium panel.
  • Shehla Syed, Louise Kennedy, Jennica Holoquist, Wendy Sabin, Suzanne Turcotte and Kathleen Shaffer at the West Hill Table for the Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Shehla Syed, Louise Kennedy, Jennica Holoquist, Wendy Sabin, Suzanne Turcotte and Kathleen Shaffer at the West Hill Table for the Million Dollar Women Symposium.
  • Louise Kennedy Million Dollar Women Symposium Panel Moderator
  • West Hill Sponsors Million Dollar Women Symposium
  • Wendy Sabin and Louise Kennedy from West Hill and entrepreneur Jessica Moody from Moody's Gifts at the Million Dollar Women Symposium
    Wendy Sabin (West Hill), Jessica Moody (Moody’s Gifts), and Louise Kennedy (West Hill)
  • Louise Kennedy, Mabelyn Lopez, Laura Swanson, Jeysi Zuniga, Nathalie Blue, Madelene Pario, Rajia Abedelaziz and Alvania Lopez


Attorney Spotlight: Shehla Syed named to 2024 edition of Best Lawyers 

17 August 2023

West Hill is pleased to announce Shehla Syed was recognized by Best Lawyers® in their 2024 edition for Litigation – Intellectual Property. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers follows a peer-reviewed process recognizing lawyers in the U.S. who are demonstrating professional excellence in private practice. Best Lawyers has earned the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as a reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. The selected lawyers are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise and undergo an authentication process.

About Shehla Syed

Shehla is a Shareholder and IP Strategist specializing in Intellectual Property, Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Ms. Syed counsels clients on all aspects of their intellectual property – trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets – to help maximize the value and enforceability of their content, brands and technology.

Shehla is a member of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, Boston Patent Law Association and the New England Muslim Bar Association, for which she was one of the founding members. Shehla has also served on the Community Ethics Committee at the Division of Medical Ethics of the Harvard Medical School which provides ethics feedback to Harvard teaching hospitals.

About West Hill

West Hill Technology Counsel is a boutique business and technology law firm. Providing pro-active, practical legal advice to help solve problems before they arise. Our clients are new and growing businesses that create or leverage technology as a core part of their business model.

About Best Lawyers

For the list and more information on Best Lawyers, click here.

West Hill Selected to Mass Lawyers Weekly Inaugural Empowering Women Awards List

7 August 2023

West Hill is proud to be recognized in the inaugural Empowering Women Awards list by Mass Lawyers Weekly. We congratulate fellow recipients for their shared commitment to the support and advancement of women in the legal community.

The Empowering Women Award recognizes a law firm’s commitment to hiring and promoting women, providing mentoring and opportunities for professional advancement to women attorneys, and establishing programs and policies to help women attorneys thrive professionally.

“We are both delighted and proud to be awarded this designation and recognized for our firm’s continued commitment to supporting and elevating women in the legal community,” said Louise Leduc Kennedy, Founding Attorney, West Hill. 

A Better Way to Practice Law

West Hill was founded on and remains committed to hiring and professional development for women attorneys and support staff.  Louise Kennedy established West Hill in 2008, after working in the Boston office of a regional law firm and as in-house counsel at IBM. When Louise attended her 10th law school reunion, she was the mother of two daughters and was distressed to learn how many women in her class had abandoned the practice of law because the pressures of large firm practice were incompatible with the needs of a growing family. Louise was looking for a better way to practice law and allow attorneys to integrate their commitments to family. She created a cutting-edge law practice that is dynamic, challenging, and innovative.   

West Hill Values

Louise built a team of motivated and upbeat legal professionals looking for flexibility while still practicing law at a high level. West Hill values innovation, integrity, open and honest communication, and diversity. These values shape the positive and inclusive firm culture. West Hill believes – and clients have affirmed – that happy lawyers = happy clients.   

Certified Women-Owned Business

West Hill is a WBENC- and SBA-certified women-owned business actively redefining the concept of private law practice. Diverse hiring practices are important to West Hill and many of its clients.

Empowering Women Awards

For more information about Mass Lawyers Weekly and the Empowering Women Award list, click here.

The support and empowerment of women is a critical component of the West Hill vision and mission

Click to Accept the Terms. Are you Exposed?

1 August 2023

You’ve drafted website terms and online contracts that protect your business. What if the way they were presented on the screen made them unenforceable?

What makes a contract binding?

An enforceable contract has two key components: “reasonable notice” of the terms and a “reasonable manifestation of assent” to them. In other words, the user must be shown the terms and indicate that they agree. For most contracts, this is easy; a party’s signature shows that they have read and accepted it. The laws of Massachusetts and many other states apply this standard to all contracts, whether signed in ink, signed electronically, or agreed by clicking a box. 

However, there are many ways to present contract terms online, and not all are effective. Companies are often only aware once the terms are challenged in court or during due diligence for a merger or sale. The results can range from a minor inconvenience to significant legal liability.

Wrong Turn Lands Uber in Court

Even Uber has run into trouble. In the 2021 case of Kauders v. Uber Technologies, Uber sought to enforce a mandatory arbitration clause in its terms. On appeal, the court found that Uber’s terms did not bind users because the company’s online registration process was inadequate. The Uber app permitted users to click “Done” without reviewing the terms. Nothing on this page told users they should read and agree to the extensive terms and conditions. The only statement encouraging users to open and review the terms was displayed less prominently than other information. The court held that the parties had not formed a binding contract. Uber was forced into court rather than a less costly (and likely confidential) arbitration proceeding. 

The lesson from this and similar cases is that your online terms must meet the standards for a binding contract — informing users of the terms and requiring users to show that they have agreed to them.

Avoid “Browsewrap”

Many companies rely on terms in their online contracts that state that users are automatically deemed to have accepted an agreement by using the company’s product, service, or website. 

These contracts, known as “browsewrap,” do not meet the second part of the enforceability test. The user does not have to demonstrate their consent. 

Two alternatives are: 

1. Scrollwrap is a process that compels users to interact with the terms before agreeing to them, usually by making them scroll a box containing the terms before proceeding. 

2. Clickwrap requires the users to expressly click or check a box stating that they agree to the terms and includes an easy step to view them before proceeding. 

Making changes to online agreements requires a similar approach. Users must agree to the changes for them to be binding. It is not enough to present a pop-up saying that the terms have changed and inviting users to read them. Unless the user is required to view the updated terms and affirmatively agree to them, a court may find them unenforceable.

Are You Exposed?

There are as many ways to implement website terms as web designers. But a few simple sign-up or sales process steps can help ensure your contract is enforceable. These include ensuring that the terms are communicated clearly and that the language accompanying a check box is clear that the user is entering into a contract. Also, the scope of the terms and how they are communicated should be consistent with the nature and size of the transaction. 

The West Hill Team can review how you have implemented your website terms and other online contracts and advise you on updates to help enforce them.

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Louise Kennedy Speaking at the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

20 June 2023

Louise Leduc Kennedy has been invited to speak at the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation F3 Summer Conversations in Entrepreneurial Leadership series at the University of Connecticut. She is an alumna of the University of Connecticut School of Law and will address the cohort of First Year Female Founders.  

The Werth Innovator F3 Cohort pilot launched in 2020 to address the gender gap that exists in the business world when it comes to female-founded ventures. This cohort of Werth Innovators was selected at the beginning of the fall semester from a pool of first-year female-identifying students. The program focuses on building self-confidence through mentorship and peer networking at the beginning of their college career. 

The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “We’ve always done it this way.” 

Louise has been inspired by this quote from Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer science and mathematics, and it sums up her approach to creating a unique business and technology law firm.  In her conversation with the F3 cohort, Louise will share her story of stepping off the large law firm/in-house path to launch West Hill. Since its founding, West Hill has sought to retain the best parts of sophisticated legal practice, such as constant learning, deep and practical knowledge in its areas of expertise, and commitment to superior client service. But Louise and her team have also worked hard to replace many parts of the typical law firm that weren’t working. The firm’s vision, mission, and values and a commitment to supporting its team members’ commitments to family, community, and self. Louise will discuss her journey of reimagining her industry for the better and not getting bogged down in the way things have always been done.   

West Hill is a certified woman-owned business, actively redefining the concept of private law practice. Diverse hiring practices are important to West Hill and many of West Hill’s clients either because of a corporate commitment to diversity or because hiring a certified woman-owned business assists them in attaining supplier diversity goals. 

The support and empowerment of women – including young women entrepreneurs — is a critical component of the West Hill’s success.

  

https://entrepreneurship.uconn.edu/wi/

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Louise Kennedy and Kim Prior join CWE to present Legal Considerations for “Women Owned” Business Certification 

7 June 2023

Ready to get Certified as a Women-Owned business? The WBENC application can be daunting – we can help you navigate it. West Hill attorneys Louise Kennedy and Kim Prior join the Center for Woman and Enterprise (CWE) for a live webinar on Legal Considerations for “Women-Owned” Business Certification.  The webinars will live on June 8th, and on July 13th with CWE Board Member (and attorney) Deb Thomas and August 7th with CWE Certifications Manager, Meghan Cunningham,

Sign up for the Live Webinar Today

Join this webinar for an overview of the process and criteria for obtaining WBE/WOSB certification. The process is much easier when you know what materials are required before you begin. 

Certified Women Owned business logo

A common reason that applications for WBENC certification are delayed or denied, is that the owner does not have the proper documentation about their business entity. Join us for an overview of the process and criteria for obtaining WBE/WOSB certification, including an explanation of the supporting materials that must be submitted for different business types. This is a live webinar and you will be able to ask the attorneys questions. 

“As a WBENC-certified woman-owned business, we know the benefits of certification.  The networking, education, and business development opportunities are unrivaled. But we also appreciate the challenges of pulling together the right documents for your application and renewal submissions.  We look forward to demystifying this process for woman-owned businesses with CWE.” 

Sign up today at the following links:  June 8th, July 13th and August 7th.  

About CWE:

Established in 1995, the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) is a non-profit organization that  empowers women to launch and grow their business – so they in turn can drive economic growth, lift up their communities, and create a more equitable world.  CWE also operates the Veterans Business Outreach Center of New England (VBOC of NE) that equips veteran and active duty service members and their families with the resources to help them start and run their businesses.  

To learn more about CWE visit, www.CWEonline.org.  Find CWE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CenterforWomenandEnterprise , Instagram at www.Instagram.com/CWETalk , Twitter at www.twitter.com/CWETalk , and LinkedIn, Friends of Center for Women & Enterprise.  

About West Hill:

West Hill Technology Counsel is a boutique business and technology law firm. Providing pro-active, practical legal advice to help solve problems before they arise. Our clients are new and growing businesses that create or leverage technology as a core part of their business model. 

Event Sponsorship: West Hill Sponsors the BIPLA’s 3rd Annual Symposium

28 May 2023

West Hill sponsored the Boston Intellectual Property Law Association’s (BIPLA) 3rd Annual Symposium. The event took place on May 3-4, 2023 at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, One Federal Street in Boston. It was a fun, engaging and educational experience for all. Here is a link to photos from the event: https://lnkd.in/ey999VT8

About BIPLA:
The goal of the BIPLA is to provide educational programs and a forum for the interchange of ideas and information concerning intellectual property (IP) including patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright laws. Through a volunteer Board of Governors and its various committees, the BIPLA organizes and hosts educational seminars, social events, and other programs. The Association promotes public understanding and appreciation for IP through education of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government by providing amicus briefs, regulatory comments, and feedback to policymakers.

About West Hill:
West Hill Technology Counsel is a boutique business and technology law firm. Providing pro-active, practical legal advice to help solve problems before they arise. Our clients are new and growing businesses that create or leverage technology as a core part of their business model.

West Hill is proud to support the BIPLA Symposium
West Hill Proudly Supports the BIPLA Symposium

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Louise Kennedy Will Judge the 2023 Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs

22 March 2023

Our Founding Attorney and Smith College alum, Louise Kennedy, will judge the annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs on April 13-15 at Smith College in Northampton, MA. This competition has been ranked #7 in the Times of Entrepreneurship Top 20 University Competitions.

The Draper Competition is designed to hone skills that undergraduate women need to advance from idea to venture creation. Through multiple rounds of competition, students demonstrate an understanding of a problem, why the problem requires a new venture to address it, and how their idea presents the best solution to the problem.

“This is my 2nd year judging the Draper Competition, and I really look forward to seeing these teams present and answer questions about their entrepreneurial vision,” said Louise Kennedy. “As counsel to several women-led companies and an alumna of Smith College, I am inspired by these young women in STEM who are leading the way for the next generation of women founders.”

West Hill is a WBENC-certified woman-owned business, actively redefining the concept of private law practice. Diverse hiring practices are important to many of West Hill’s clients either because of a corporate commitment to diversity or because hiring a certified woman-owned business assists them in attaining supplier diversity goals.

ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Shehla Syed presents, “What You Should Know About Doing Business Online.”

28 February 2023

Shehla Syed presented a webinar for the Enterprise Center at Salem State University, on February 28, 2023, titled: What You Should Know About Doing Business Online.

Since the pandemic, the shift to more on-line business is everywhere. As beneficial as it is to conduct business online, it is also challenging to navigate the changing landscape, understanding your obligation & responsibilities and legal pitfalls.

This presentation discussed how you can protect your business, avoid the pitfalls, and answer questions such as:

  • How do I work with contractors and use third party content on my website in a way that limits my liability?
  • Can I use the names or logos of other companies on my website?
  • How can website terms of use protect my business?
  • How can I prevent others from copying me?
  • How do I protect my customers information? 

This presentation also provided an overview of intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets) and how you can use these tools to increase your competitiveness and create value in your business. Shehla Syed is an experienced attorney who counsels clients on all aspects of their intellectual property – trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets – to help them maximize the value and enforceability of their content, brands and technology.

The Enterprise Center Salem State University welcomes entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals of all ages and experience levels to come in and learn something new. As an advocate and voice for the North Shore small business community, the Enterprise Center is a leader in helping business start and grow in the region.

This informative workshop was sponsored in partnership with the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development, Salem Chamber of Commerce and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD).

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