Long-Distance Mentorship Offers a Global Experience By AMY CARLSON GUSTAFSON
When 3L Erin Herdeman was contemplating asking Laura Gisler ‘14 J.D. to be her mentor last year, she knew it would be a unique pairing considering the more than 4,000 miles separating them. But with a global pandemic forcing more people online to connect, distance became less of an issue than it might have been pre-COVID-19. Herdeman, who is based in the Twin Cities, and Gisler, who lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, made such a strong connection they’ll continue meeting through Herdeman’s final year of law school.
Third-year law student Erin Herdeman (left) and Laura Gisler ‘14 J.D. (right) pose in front of the Polestar headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“COVID-19 tested the boundaries of how easily we could make relationships and networking happen,” Herdeman said. “It taught us that many connections could happen virtually and still produce meaningful and valuable relationships. I really wanted to have this opportunity with Laura – she’s someone I thought would be a good mentor fit for me. It was also an opportunity to work with someone who could open up my network to people around the world.” Since her 1L year, Herdeman has clerked for Patterson Thuente IP, a full-service, intellectual
property boutique firm based in Minneapolis. Tom Dickson, the firm’s managing partner, was her 1L mentor. While Herdeman is pulled into a variety of projects at Patterson Thuente, she mostly focuses on patent prosecution work. Amy Salmela, a shareholder with the firm, helped connect Herdeman last summer with Gisler, who is the global head of intellectual property at Polestar, a premium electric car maker headquartered in Sweden, and a Patterson Thuente client. Earlier this summer, a group from Patterson Thuente traveled to Sweden to collaborate on a
project with Polestar. Herdeman, who has become a valued member of the firm, was asked to join a small group of attorneys and support staff on the business trip. It was an incredible opportunity for Herdeman, who was able to work side-by-side with Gisler for two weeks. “Just seeing how large the scale of Laura’s job is and how many responsibilities fall under her umbrella was so interesting,” Herdeman said. “She’s someone who is unapologetically herself, which I admire. She’s always extremely professional but is always herself and leading with
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