According to her mom, Jolly Northrop always wanted to be a lawyer. Her father was in international relations, so Jolly recounts, “I was going to be an international relations lawyer, whatever that means to an eight-year-old!” Jolly never lost her interest in the law and was a political science major (pre-law) as an undergraduate at Wheaton College. Her move into IP law was more of a fluke.
After graduating from Wheaton College, Jolly took a year living in New York City. She waited tables and worked at a coffee shop in college and thought she would do the same now. However, she found the market was much more competitive in New York. Fortunately, she saw a job posting in The New York Times for a receptionist at Corsearch. After looking at her resume, they felt she was overqualified for the receptionist position and asked if she would be interested in being a trademark researcher. She started in their books department and eventually became a full trademark researcher. Jolly loved trademark and New York so much that she deferred law school at the University of Michigan for a year. With this experience under her belt, she knew going into law school that IP was what she wanted to pursue.
Following her law school graduation, Jolly still loved IP, but wasn’t sure she wanted to practice law. She took a job at L’Oréal as a contract attorney and, with her background in IP, was soon working vetting trademarks. Jolly says, “You couldn’t have any more iconic brand.” At the end of her contract, she made a list of what needed to be done and convinced them to hire her permanently. She ended up staying with L’Oréal for 15 years, leaving as Assistant Vice President.
As an associate trademark counsel, Jolly had the opportunity to work under L’Oreal USA’s Chief Trademark Counsel Lisa Gigliotti, whom Jolly describes as a wonderful mentor. According to Jolly, Gigliotti is intellectually rigorous, and she learned so much from her because they had offices next to each other, allowing her to observe how Gigliotti worked. Jolly loved that a significant part of the job was marketing and getting to see the brands grow. In fact, the company celebrated its 100th anniversary while she was there. Jolly also enjoyed working with the many other brands under the L’Oréal umbrella, such as Maybelline New York, Kiehl’s Since 1851, and Redken. Jolly is proud of her body of work at L’Oréal because she lived and breathed the brands and the beauty business. She still sees commercials on television of brands that she protected. She jokes that she misses her cosmetics allowance.
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