MADE: How Jared Goldstein made a career in sneaker law

PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THERE’S SUCH THING AS HAVING IT “MADE.” THIS SERIES TAKES US TO THE GRIND, PERSISTENCE, AND DEDICATION IT TAKES TO PREPARE FOR DREAM OPPORTUNITIES. 

When thinking about attending law school, you usually wouldn’t correlate sneakers with it. But Jared Goldstein always had a vision for meshing his passion and love for sneakers. He paired this alongside his interest and intellectual curiosity for the law. Jared found a way to make his dream come true with relentless passion and application. Once a sneakerhead and reseller, Jared is now a lawyer and co-author of Sneaker Law — the first textbook made to teach the sneaker business. 

Before Sneaker Law, Jared put in years towards school. He deepened his knowledge of sneakers and the law. Then, he applied himself with a viable internship at Complex before landing the right opportunity. To celebrate the launch of the newest module in Sneaker Essentials featuring contributors Jared Goldstein and Kenneth Anand, Jared speaks with Yellowbrick about the different milestones he experienced in his career and how they led to creating Sneaker Law.

To that date, nobody has ever written about the lack of legal protection for sneaker designs. So, with extreme passion, Jared wrote over 40 pages of explicit legal content around sneaker designs.

JARED GOLDSTEIN

As a novice…

Jared instantly saw himself as a sneakerhead when he heard Nelly’s 2002 hit, Air Force Ones. To explore his newfound obsession, Jared read Complex’s now-defunct print magazine, specifically articles by Joe La Puma.

He knew at eight years old that he wanted to fuse his passion for sneakers and the law but didn’t exactly know the pathway to do so. The usual track was to work in-house for a sneaker company or a law firm that represented a sneaker brand — both limited with opportunities taking years and even sometimes a lifetime to achieve. Millennials and Gen Z expect rapid progression in their careers. 

According to research by PWC, millennials hold particular characteristics such as “ambition and desire to keep learning and move quickly upwards. . . as well as their willingness to move on quickly if their expectations are not being met.” In addition, like with Gen Z today, creative achievers want to feel their work is worthwhile and that their efforts are recognized — and fast. 

During law school, Jared researched and discovered law reviews, scholarly journals, or periodicals that focus on various legal issues. One of the requirements to become a law review member is to make a note (or a thesis) that is unique and has never been written before. After submitting your note, it’s judged before a panel to determine if it will be published in the journal. 

Jared saw this as an opportunity for his career in sneaker law. To that date, nobody has ever written about the lack of legal protection for sneaker designs. So, with extreme passion, Jared wrote over 40 pages of explicit legal content around sneaker designs. Proud of his work, Jared submitted his note. However, the panel rejected it. Upset, he went back to the drawing board to figure out his next steps.

As an expert…

Just a short time after his rejection with the law review, Jared landed an internship at Complex as a legal intern. After years of reading Joe La Puma’s articles and following his career, he couldn’t believe that he was in the same office as him. Landing this dream internship was a pivotal moment. With a stroke of inspiration, he came up with an idea. He would use the opportunity at Complex as an avenue to get his law review note out to the world. Jared pinpointed the missing gap in the sneaker industry. He knew his 40-pages of legal content was valuable information for the sneaker industry. 

While fulfilling his duties as a legal intern, Jared pitched his idea to Complex Sneakers Editor, Matthew Welty. Matthew loved the idea and proposed a new challenge for Jared — turning 30,000 words of legal language into 1,000 words for sneaker aficionados alike. After a couple of all-nighters, Jared completed a 1,000-word piece, “Here’s What Happens When a Brand Gets Sued for Ripping Off a Sneaker Design.” After that, he wrote a couple of more articles for Complex about legal areas around shoe design and sneakers. 

Jared Goldstein. Sneaker Essentials conributor
Jared Goldstein joins Sneaker Essentials as a contributor to Module 7, Sneaker Law.

Sneaker Law opportunity…

Sneakerheads and industry professionals consume your work when published in a massive media platform like Complex. And Kenneth Anand (previously General Counsel for Yeezy Apparel) was one of them. At the time, Kenneth was a partner for a law firm and reached out to Jared to meet him. They met at an Au Bon Pain, where they talked for hours and hours at length about sneakers. Jared couldn’t believe that he had met someone with similar interests who also practices law. He became inspired by Kenneth and wanted a career like his — to rock sneakers to work and practice law that he’s passionate about. 

They began thinking of ways to collaborate, including writing law articles around the subject matter of sneakers and the law. Instead, they found an opportunity to write a book together about the many facets of the sneaker industry. On the side of building their law careers, they worked together for four years on what would become Sneaker Law.

But the opportunity doesn’t stop there. Adopted as an official textbook for colleges for University of Miami Law School, Georgia State, Parsons, and Rutgers, Sneaker Law inspires sneaker law courses. Kenneth Anand and Jared Goldstein have also been invited to lecture at Harvard. They continue developing their retail strategy to get Sneaker Law into the hands of sneakerheads, creatives, entrepreneurs, and law professionals. With FIT and Complex, Yellowbrick has added a new module into our Sneaker Essentials course, Sneaker Law. This module covers sneaker business, company structures, intellectual property, and understanding sneaker deals. Check out our Sneaker Essentials course to get a comprehensive overview of the sneaker industry and sneaker business.

Interested in careers like corporate sneaker lawyer and how to get started? Explore our Ultimate Sneaker Career Guide.