Left to right: Luke Toft ’13, Lea Westman ‘15, Lee Bennin ‘19, Anne Rondoni Tavernier ’16
W I N N I N G W I T H IP MOOT COURT COACHES
By SHEREE R. CURRY
Moot court competitions are propelling St. Thomas Law toward a legacy of excellence in intellectual property. In 2020, St. Thomas Law took first place at the USPTO National Patent Application Drafting Competition in its debut appearance at the event. The law school’s IP Moot Court teams have advanced to the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) national Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court competition each year since 2018.
St. Thomas’ winning record is due, in part, to the alumni who have engaged with the teams to offer support, and in the case of the IP Moot Court team, serve as coaches. Alumna Lea Westman ‘15 J.D. came onboard as a coach in 2017. It had only been three years prior when she was sitting in the student seat for a different moot court competition. However, “in it to win it” was not the mantra top of mind for Westman when she agreed to coach the fledgling St. Thomas team. She simply wanted to give back to St. Thomas by helping law students gain practical experience that would help shape their careers.
Ever since the team first qualified four years ago for the national AIPLA competition in Washington, D.C., some people see St. Thomas Law in a new light. “Respect for St. Thomas has grown,” said Westman, who is an associate at the law firm Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner P.A. in Minneapolis. “The first year I was coaching it was like pulling teeth to try to get people to show up and guest judge. Now, in September and October, I get calls and emails from people at a large number of IP firms in the Cities who ask ‘when is moot court starting, I’d love to come back and see your students.’ “Within the Twin Cities community there’s an understanding that there’s an excellent caliber of
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