2012 Forty Under 40: Kenan L. Farrell

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Kenan L. Farrell
Where were you, and what were you doing in 1991?
A freshman at North Central High School in Indianapolis.

When you graduated from high school, what did you think you wanted to be as an adult?
A genetic scientist or doctor.

Was there an event in the last 20 years that had a great impact on your aspirations and/or career path?
I’m almost certainly sitting in a law office now and not a laboratory because of the stories my older brother would tell of his law school experience. The tales he told helped me decide to step away from the microscope and instead study the social, ethical and legal side of the biological sciences.

Where/what do you want to be 20 years from now?
To be a really good attorney right here in Indianapolis.


Owner, KLF Legal
Age: 33

Attorney Kenan Farrell specializes in intellectual property issues, especially as they are tested and stretched by the Internet and social media.

“I define it more by the types of people I work with: artists, musicians, startup companies—what I like to call creative entrepreneurs,” said Farrell, an Indianapolis native who acknowledges he has always been drawn to the arts.

He became interested in intellectual property matters at his previous job as an associate at Indianapolis law firm Bingham McHale LLP, working on patent cases, trademark law and Internet law. He is now in private practice.

This year, Farrell is enjoying teaching art and museum law as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law. The new course covers the law, people and institutions that constitute the world of the visual arts, including artists, museums, collectors and dealers. He chose and prepared the materials based in part on his experience working with students in the Fashion, Art and Design Law Society.

Farrell’s former teachers at North Central High School, Indiana University-Bloomington and McKinney School will surely appreciate his next comments:

“I now appreciate how much time teachers put in outside the classroom,” he said.

In addition to teaching and running his law practice, KLF Legal, Farrell is firmly tapped into the local arts scene. He is incoming president of the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association, the people who invite you to the gallery open houses on First Friday. He’s also involved with the revival of the Creative Arts Legal League, which provides free legal and accounting assistance to struggling artists and arts organizations.

He also founded the Mass Ave Neighborhood Association and is on the board of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

His attraction to the legal profession may be hereditary. His older brother is an international tax attorney for Nike.•

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