Ariel Nissan on growth as a member of the Formlabs legal team

Jordyn de Boer
Dec 23, 2019 · 4 min read

Ariel Nissan started at Formlabs in May 2014 and worked as our legal intern until 2016. After completing law school, she returned to work full-time on our legal team as Associate General Counsel. In this role, she manages anything legal or legal adjacent for the company, including drafting and filing applications for intellectual property, understanding and evaluating the regulatory and compliance landscape, and preparing contracts for the various collaborations between Formlabs and other parties.

Read on to learn about Ariel’s path before Formlabs, skills she’s gained, and her favorite 3D print!

How did you find Formlabs?

I found Formlabs on VentureLoop, an online job board typically used by startup companies. As a first-year law student, I was interested in finding a summer experience that would give me a unique perspective and insight. I had already had experience working at a few law firms, so I knew what to expect from a typical legal position.

What was your path before Formlabs? What led you to a career in legal?

I knew from an early age I wanted a career in law, and so always knew I would ultimately attend law school. I enjoyed reading critically and coming up with arguments, likely to an annoying degree. But, I also found I really enjoyed science and engineering and I just couldn’t see myself studying in any of the stereotypical pre-law majors. By clearly understanding my interests, I was able to find their intersection in the field of patent law. In patent law, you can dig as far into the scientific concepts and technicalities as you want, but you’re still able to work within a legal context, so it allows me to use my law degree within a scientific industry.

Has your career path changed since you first started?

My decision to go right into in-house work from law school is atypical for most individuals. Instead of returning to the law firm where I completed a summer internship, I came back to Formlabs to join our legal team full-time. This was a bit of a gamble for me because I didn’t have many years of experience working in law, but I knew the work at Formlabs would be rewarding, challenging, and most importantly would continue growing with me as my career grew.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned while at Formlabs?

In general, I have a much broader understanding of how a company operates, which is valuable for whatever field you enter. Not only do I have an understanding of how my role fits into the bigger picture, but also how everyone’s roles and departments depend on one another, and the collaboration that’s needed on a day-to-day basis to make us as successful as possible.

Have you improved upon or gained any skills in your roles?

The most important skill I’ve expanded upon is how to think practically. My education in law has taught me there’s a right and a wrong way to do things, and with this, it can feel like the rules are very rigid and everything is “black and white”. However, my experiences here have challenged this notion because I need to consider not just the rules and requirements, but also the business needs, which sometimes means working through “gray” areas. These types of tasks have sharpened my ability to think and adapt quickly to any challenge I may face.

Any advice you would give to someone interested in joining Formlabs?

For any company you’re interested in, but especially Formlabs, it’s so important to do your research and ask questions. In my opinion, no matter what position or team you’re interested in, you really stand out when you ask insightful questions not only about the position but about the company overall. If someone reaches out to me in regards to an open role, I recognize the difference between candidates who only ask about the role versus those who go the extra mile to ask about the team or company as a whole.

What is your favorite 3D print?

I printed a giant championship ring (shown below) on the day I was waiting to see if I passed the Bar exam, which now sits on the 3D print wall in the office. My intention was to use my nervous energy while waiting for results to post-process and finish the ring and stay positive. I’m also a big fan of everything our customers have printed because I love seeing what others can create with our printers, whether it’s practical or just for fun. Seeing others’ prints means I’m contributing to the company’s mission of allowing others to create something that may have not been created before, and it’s exciting to know I’m apart of someone achieving their dream.

We’re always looking for talented individuals, like Ariel, to join our team. Head over to our careers page to learn about opportunities at Formlabs, and help us build the future.

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