August 2017 Alumni Highlight | Pace Law School

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August 2017 Alumni Highlight

Mark MeekerMark Meeker (Dec. ’09) graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts, where he studied advertising, and shortly thereafter he earned a Master of Arts from Kent State University while in the media management sequence. It wasn’t until grad school that he first began to consider law school. “During one conversation with my advisor, he mentioned that I was doing well and that I should think about continuing. Continuing? What would that mean? Neither of my parents had college degrees, so I was already farther along academically than I ever expected to be. But I bought a couple of study guides, worked through them in the evenings for about a week-and-a-half, took the LSAT, and scored in the 96th percentile. That’s when I knew that law school was somewhere in my future. The question was, ‘When?’ At that point, I was still barely on the fringes of the advertising industry, and I wasn’t ready to change directions.”

Things really started to happen for Mark when he packed his bags and went chasing after his first ad agency job. In all, he spent the first eighteen years of his career in a variety of advertising and marketing roles, working primarily in account services for media companies and on the agency side of the business for brands such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Sonic, Pepsi, and Bank of America. “I loved what I was doing at the time, but after I met my wife and got engaged, suddenly chasing advertising jobs all over the country lost its appeal. That’s when we decided to make a change, and about six weeks after our wedding I entered law school.”

Mark started at Pace Law as a 1L in August 2006. “I was drawn to Pace because of its location. In my previous career, I had spent time working in Ohio, where I’m from, then D.C., Virginia Beach, Chicago, Kansas City, and Connecticut. My most recent position had been in New York City and we wanted to stay in the area. Pace also showed a lot of flexibility in their academic programs. I would be able to attend part-time and still graduate in 3-1/2 years. It was ideal.”

During Mark’s time at Pace, he excelled academically as well as in his involvement with the Pace community and student organizations. As a result of his high academic achievement, he was consistently on the Dean’s List, served as Executive Editor of the Pace International Law Review, and graduated cum laude with a certificate in International Law. To Mark, though, one of his best experiences was being involved with the Intellectual Property Student Organization. He started out as IPSO’s Treasurer and eventually became President. “It was the perfect organization for me to get involved with. It combined my past experiences in the marketing, advertising and branding world with new legal topics that I was studying such as trademarks and intellectual property. I was lucky enough to meet and work with some great people who helped me push the organization forward as we sought out alumni working in IP, compiled a list of all of the alumni that we could find in the field, and tried to connect them back with the law school.”

Recognizing the importance of getting your feet wet in a variety of areas, Mark pursued as many practical opportunities as he could. While at Pace, he was an intern for the Honorable Alan D. Scheinkman, a legal assistant with the law firm Worby Groner Edelman LLP, an intern with the World Intellectual Property Organization at the U.N., and a legal assistant with the New York State Office of the Attorney General. “I like to stay busy and continually meet new people; network. Each new opportunity for me was a step towards the next one.” During his final year-and-a-half at Pace, Mark worked at Pernod Ricard USA as a legal consultant, and this position stretched beyond his graduation.

Then, in July 2010, Mark joined a small law firm as an associate, reviewing and evaluating telecommunications real estate agreements for AT&T, editing and approving amendments, and drafting legal opinions related to landlord/tenant issues. Mark remained in this position for four years before launching a venture as a solo practitioner, focusing on his first passion, providing counsel surrounding branding, trademarks and social media. It was shortly after Mark hung out his own shingle that he was presented with an opportunity to join American Maritime Safety, Inc., based in White Plains, first as Director of Membership and Legal Services and now as Assistant General Counsel. In his current role, Mark conducts nationwide, on-site training classes for drug and alcohol testing plus sexual harassment. He also provides legal guidance to over 400 member companies regarding compliance with federal regulations impacting the maritime industry while also supervising staff. “I feel lucky to be in-house with such a large organization. Compliance is an interesting field on its own, but coupled with the maritime industry, it really keeps me on my toes. Plus I’m able to pursue a people-oriented aspect of this position with the training and public speaking that I do, which I really enjoy.”

Throughout Mark’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional life, what has remained most consistent, aside from his work ethic, is his passion for networking and connecting people. In 2011, Mark founded the Pace Law Alumni Network (P.L.A.N.). “My goal with P.L.A.N. was to connect Pace Law alumni with one another in a casual atmosphere. I’ve found that networking can lead to a great many opportunities, professionally and otherwise. So, we started holding these quarterly networking events back in 2011, alternating between White Plains and New York City. They’ve steadily grown in size, and now our attendance usually ranges between 30 and 70 people. We even have faculty attend, and Dean Yassky has become a familiar face.”

Not one for downtime, in 2013 Mark was added to the Pace Law Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and was recently elected as the incoming President. He will start his term in September 2017. “Among my goals as President will be to increase the Board’s visibility and to expand the lines of communication between the alumni population and the Board.”

Aside from the marketing, advertising, and the law, Mark has always had a passion for the outdoors. “Biking, swimming, kayaking, camping, I like to stay active and get outdoors whenever possible.” In 2014, Mark became a kayak and stand-up paddleboard instructor with L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School and recently achieved American Canoe Association certification in both disciplines. Mark lives in Mount Vernon with his wife Cathy, who works for Pace University in Pleasantville.

If Mark could give any advice to future and current law students, and alumni alike, it would be to network. “Keep making new connections and maintaining past ones. Networking is key in finding out what career will be right for you and then finding opportunities. Oh, and speaking of which, come to our next P.L.A.N. event, which is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the back garden of Tuttles Bar & Grill at 735 2nd Avenue in New York City.”

*The P.L.A.N. Facebook group can be found here.