Betsy Pearce ’91
As a legal adviser to fashion designers and luxury brands, Betsy Pearce ’91 maintains a client list that mirrors the labels found in a style maven’s closet. She represented Alexander McQueen when his company was acquired by the Gucci Group. Pearce advised designer Carolina Herrera, as well as designers for Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Balenciaga. She also worked with the management teams in the acquisitions of Bally and Jimmy Choo.
“This job requires an unusual package of skills and interests,” says the Minnesota native from her office in Paris. “Representing a designer selling his namesake company involves more than corporate, employment, and trademark issues. The relationship can also be deeply personal when the client is facing a critical life transition.”
Pearce began her legal career as a clerk at the federal district court level before becoming an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. She then moved to a boutique entertainment law firm, where she worked extensively with its client Prada on legal issues related to its global advertising campaigns. That professional experience in the world of high fashion provided a catalyst for Pearce to start her own firm in 2003.
Pearce now divides her time between New York City and Paris, where her office is located on the top floor of a 17th-century building and offers sweeping views of the city. A presence in both locations is a great asset, she says, as most transactions she works on take place in Europe, and clients are usually European or American.
Pearce adds that striking out on her own with a focus on law and fashion allowed her to create a unique professional niche. “I’m fortunate to work with top talent in an industry without layers of agents and managers,” she says. “The combination of professional challenges and the clients’ appreciation is very fulfilling. I love what I do.”