How can one juggle a passion for media and culture with a desire to learn about law? Naturally, by working at SoulCycle! Now hold on, let’s go back and clarify for a moment. Melissa Schoffer Farber, an attorney who is 34 years old, has a degree in journalism and media studies from college, but she has always known she wants to go to law school. Melissa kept her ear to the ground when looking for jobs after earning her law degree, Listing out for a position that would allow her to utilize all of her skills—leading her to 92nd Street Y. Then what? As the Head of Legal Affairs at SoulCycle, she discovered her calling.
As an in-house attorney at SoulCycle, Melissa now spends much of her time dealing with intellectual property issues. When she began attending courses at the gym’s original Upper West Side facility, where she also happened to meet her husband (sweet! ), she fell in love with the fitness utopia. She fell in love with their motivational workout and now gets to assist them each day in putting their best “cycling shoe” forward.
Despite having a busy schedule, Melissa constantly makes time for her spouse and to appreciate the New York art scene (along with a regular SoulCycle class, of course). Melissa is always motivated by her coworkers and genuinely appreciates working with others that share her passion for their profession. What else is there to say?
Where She Began
You began your professional life in journalism and media studies. What exactly about these fields interested you?
I’ve always been a magazine nut! My favourite Jane Magazine issues may still be in one of my possessions. I also enjoy writing. I therefore wanted to develop a solid foundation in the craft of storytelling and the broader field of journalism at a time when technology was developing swiftly.
You did internships at Ralph Lauren and Self Magazine in the beginning. Which of these two internships, in your opinion, helped your current career the most, and why?
My career benefited from each internship in a different way.
My very first internship was with Ralph Lauren; during that summer, I got a taste of what it was like to live and work in New York City, something I had always hoped I would have the chance to accomplish. I worked in the Men’s Public Relations Department with a small group of individuals who taught me the value of solid collaboration.
Condé Nast’s summer internship programme included an internship with Self Magazine, which gave me the opportunity to learn about the media industry from renowned editors like Anna Wintour.
Combined, these experiences over the crucial summers leading up to my junior and senior years of college helped me to make more significant professional decisions.
Why did you choose to transfer from journalism to law school? Who or what motivated you to pursue a legal career?
I’ve always wanted to go law school. I was inspired by the way my father, an attorney, used his J.D. to further his interest in real estate. In order to combine my interests in law and media with my desire to do something comparable, I decided to pursue a J.D.
You have a legal degree from the George Washington University Law School, as well as a journalism and law degree. What compelled you to go above and beyond? How did having this degree finally help your career?
I was seeking for a combination of law, media, and culture, and I wanted to become an expert in intellectual property. It was a great experience for me to be able to complete this degree in Washington, D.C.; it gave me access to the Patent and Trademark Office and the Copyright Office. I found a niche thanks to my LL.M. that helped me land my first legal job at the 92nd Street Y. I stood out from the competition because they needed aid with rights clearance and I had experience in intellectual property.
I currently play a key position in SoulCycle in intellectual property. Although the job I do as an in-house attorney changes, intellectual property is a crucial constant.
You spent almost seven years working at the 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community organisation. Did you immediately feel “at home” at SoulCycle, or was the change a shock to the system? What do you like best about your job at SoulCycle?
I naturally made the transition to SoulCycle and immediately felt at home there. This is due to the fact that I have been a SoulCycle rider for a very long time before I had the honour of working here. There are so many things I love about working at SoulCycle, but my favourite by far is getting to work with individuals that genuinely like what they do and one other. The co-founders and co-CEOs of SoulCycle, Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, have created a culture that is immensely encouraging.
What are some of your methods for remaining productive and organised?
To make my tactics as successful and efficient as feasible, I frequently reevaluate them. I’ll admit that I read about it occasionally to learn new time-management tips and methods.
Planning my calendar carefully to set out time for activities in between meetings has proven to be effective. Every day, I set out an hour and a half for “uninterrupted time” so that I can concentrate on tasks that are crucial and time-sensitive. To-do lists are another thing I love, although they can often grow out of control. Therefore, in an effort to be focused with a three-item to-do list at the end of the day.
I have the chance to work on foreign intellectual property in significant amounts. The subtleties of this practise area provide difficulties everywhere. I have the advantage of collaborating with foreign legal counsel to help us present ourselves in the best possible light (bicycle shoe!).
The foundation of SoulCycle is a novel and forward-thinking concept that encourages total fitness and good health. Does the fact that so many individuals want to develop services, goods, or businesses that resemble SoulCycle make your job as an intellectual property attorney harder?
In no way. With its distinct approach to training and growth into a lifestyle brand, SoulCycle is at the forefront of the fitness revolution.
What other activities and pastimes do you enjoy besides SoulCycle classes? What do you do to unwind after a long day at work?
After a busy day, my favourite way to decompress is to have dinner with my husband. We eat dinner together at home at least two nights a week thanks to his amazing cooking. I like taking my husband and our dog for walks around our neighbourhood when the weather is nice. I also enjoy watching reality TV to unwind, as well as participating in the arts in New York City, especially theatre.
Your roles at the 92nd Street Y and SoulCycle suggest that you are interested in law that focuses on health, fitness, and culture. What about these topics piques your interest? How
I adore all forms of culture, from periodicals to theatre and television. As a child, I treasured every trip to New York City and each Broadway production our family attended. In reality, this still plays a significant role in our family’s daily routine.
It wasn’t until my third year of law school that I took my first course on intellectual property, but I immediately felt it was the right field for me. It was the field of law that was most entwined with media, the arts, and culture. I was certain that I wanted an internal role, which is difficult to find right out of college. Many advised me to begin at a law firm, but I was adamant on locating an in-house attorney.
I didn’t find my enthusiasm for fitness until I attended my first SoulCycle class. I discovered a workout with amazing music and inspirational instructors at SoulCycle; it felt like performance meets fitness. I took a position with SoulCycle that allowed me to further develop my enthusiasm for intellectual property and utilise my legal knowledge in other practise areas in a fresh and really exciting environment, drawing on the in-house experience I gained at the 92nd Street Y.
Does working at SoulCycle become even more special because you met your husband there? Please share that tale with us!
Absolutely. My “home away from home” is SoulCycle. I often go back to my very first SoulCycle class; I would not have believed it if someone had told me back then that I would find the love of my life and the career of my dreams at SoulCycle!
In terms of our love story, my husband and I first connected at the Upper West Side studio. We shared a lot of the same classes, so we frequently found ourselves standing next to one other while we waited for lockers to become available from classes before ours. I fell in love with him right away! As we waited, we got to talking, getting to know one another more with each passing class. We happened to cross paths on an unlucky night on We soon went on our first date after a SoulCycle session in the Upper East Side! In November, we commemorated our one-year wedding anniversary.
My husband and I continue to ride together whenever we can, and I adore that he shares my love and dedication for SoulCycle!
And finally, what do you look forward to when you wake up? What is coming up for your career?
The significance of waking up each day passionate about what you do was something that my granddad always emphasised. I’m happy to be able to say that. I adore using my legal talents and personal hobbies in my work at SoulCycle. What’s coming up for me is continuing to grow at SoulCycle and advance both personally and professionally in my position while continually inspiring my coworkers.