Attorney at Law Magazine Minnesota sat down with Ann Motl of Maslon LLP to discuss her career in intellectual property.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
AM: For most of my collegiate career, I was set on becoming a biomedical engineer. However, during my junior year, I learned about patent law and thought it sounded like a perfect fit. I loved engineering, but also wanted a career that allowed me to showcase my communication abilities in addition to my technical knowledge. I took an intellectual property introduction class from a local patent attorney and finalized my plan to go to law school.
AALM: Who are mentors that encouraged you along the way?
AM: My first legal position was clerking for Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer, and I learned so many lessons that will last through my career. Not only did I learn what a judge considers persuasive, but she also taught me other practical topics such as discovery, meeting and conferring, and settlement conferences. Judge Bowbeer is a major proponent of opportunities for newer lawyers, and I am happy she continues to support my career.
I am also grateful to Tara Norgard for asking me to be a member of the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association diversity and inclusion task force in 2016. This experience propelled my membership in the FBA, and my membership is one of my favorite parts about practicing law.
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about being an attorney?
AM: My most rewarding experiences as an attorney have been through my pro bono work. I have represented clients on death row, in eviction actions, and in Social Security disability appeals. It is humbling to help everyday people facing legal challenges that affect their ability to survive. I have also been fortunate to partner with experienced attorneys on these matters from the ACLU, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and Volunteer Lawyers Network. I recognize my privilege as a lawyer, and I am glad to help those who have not had legal training.
AALM: How would you describe your practice? What is your main area of law?
AM: I practice at the intersection of law and technology. More specifically, I split my time between intellectual property and products liability litigation. I have practiced before numerous federal courts and the International Trade Commission for clients in consumer goods, automotive, oil and gas, and medical device industries. In my intellectual property practice, I have extensive experience in patent pre-suit analysis (plaintiffs and defendants), discovery, and dispositive briefing. In my products liability practice, I am involved in all stages of litigation, with a focus on developing strategy related to complex medical device technology.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
AM: I graduated from law school only five years ago, and I am still figuring out my career path. In general, I hope to be a leader in my firm and in the Minnesota legal community. I am lucky to work for numerous partners who help me with my development as an attorney by providing observation experiences and speaking opportunities. I hope to emulate them and eventually lead teams of younger associates to help our clients solve their current problems and prevent future liabilities.