In April 2020, St. Thomas Law took first place in the National Patent Application Drafting Competition, the very first year the school had a team compete in the event. When then law students Kiersten Idzorek ‘20 J.D. and Mark Landauer ‘20 J.D. had the idea to start a team at St. Thomas in 2019, alumna Lea Westman ’15 J.D. connected them with coaches Darnell Cage, an associate at Faegre Drinker and Jessica Gutierrez Alm, an associate at Robins Kaplan LLP. Both still coach the team today. Pictured (L to R) in 2020: Coach Darnell Cage, Kiersten Idzorek ‘20 J.D., Mark Landauer ‘20 J.D., Mary Susan Gerber ‘21 J.D. and Jessica Gutierrez Alm.
course when she was a St. Thomas Law student are ones she relayed to her mentees, but at the same time, she was driving home the point for herself, she said. An example, she mentioned, is “when a judge asks you a question and you don’t know how to respond, you pause, and take time to think and go back to your notes.
“My law firm was thrilled when they learned [I was coaching]. They all wanted to be guest judges,” she said. “Coaching is really a great opportunity for the students, and it is a fun bonding opportunity to get to know some of your own colleagues outside of the office. Toft, who became a guest coach in subsequent years, agrees. “Getting involved like this is an easy way to force yourself into networking. If that’s not something that you’re good at, this is a great opportunity for you because not only do you make a connection
with your students, not only will you make a connection with the other coaches, but you also work on getting people from your own firms involved. Ask them, ‘Hey, will you come guest coach this thing for me?’ People are willing to do it. Plus, it’s an excuse to reach out and then maybe grab a happy hour or lunch afterwards.” BOOST TO YOUR CAREER Toft was a mid-level associate when he started coaching. Being a coach, “probably did help my elevation to partnership this last spring,” he said. “Firms, especially
It is helpful from a practical development standpoint.”
Coaching also helped Tavernier, a senior associate, grow closer with her colleagues at Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.
Page 28 St. Thomas Lawyer
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