Taking its name from the Latin word for “wisdom,” Sapientia Law Group is a minority and woman owned law firm that provides litigation, transactional and consulting services across a wide range of practice areas. Sapientia was admitted into the prestigious National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms in 2014 and was named the organization’s 2018 MVP Law Firm. In 2019, Sapientia was honored with the Diversity & Inclusion Award by Minnesota Lawyer, further demonstrating that it does not merely talk about diversity and inclusion, it lives it.
Sapientia is recognized for its innovative approach to the practice of law, one that breaks with old law firm traditions and embraces new methods, allowing next generation attorneys to thrive. Propelled by a “No Egos, Just Results” ethos, Sapientia prioritizes its people, its culture, and client and team victories. Welcoming attorneys from all backgrounds, its rich diversity makes for innovative legal solutions borne of collaboration by people with varying points of view.
Attorneys Andrea Mejia and Demetria Dyer exemplify the diverse and talented professionals that Sapientia continues to attract and retain.
Andrea Mejia is a corporate and commercial attorney and litigator, licensed in Colombia and Minnesota. She began her legal career in Colombia advising national and international clients in a wide variety of business and commercial matters.
“After six years, I came to the United States to pursue a Master’s in Law. I decided to stay and pursue my Juris Doctor in U.S. law, and progressed to get my license here in Minnesota.”
Mejia was looking for a new career opportunity when she was introduced to Sapientia co-founder Sonia Miller-Van Oort by a colleague. “Sonia asked me to lunch, and I told her I felt I was not really doing the thing I’m passionate about. I wanted to be in a place that would support my ideas and growth, one that is diverse and cares about pro bono work.”
After their conversation, it was clear to Mejia that Sapientia was founded on the principles she values most. “I felt so happy, I wanted to meet more people from the law firm. We went to see the office and talk to the attorneys. For me, it was special. Sapientia is a truly diverse law firm where people care about each other. They believe people rise together, and if you want to do something, you have the support.”
At Sapientia, Mejia has a varied practice. She advises foreign and U.S. clients on corporate law and commercial transactions, provides outside general counsel services, and handles commercial litigation, shareholder disputes and breach-of-contract claims. She is also a passionate advocate for victims of human trafficking.
Mejia currently serves as the secretary of Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association.
In Mejia’s view, the diverse environment, collaborative culture and management model at Sapientia not only help attorneys excel; they contribute to a better client experience. “When you have diverse attorneys helping individuals in the community, that community will feel more engaged with the attorney. There is a cultural component to understanding some of a client’s needs. When you have that cultural competency, you develop a better understanding of why a client is asking for certain things and what is important or not important to them. It gives a lot of value to clients and opens a relationship of trust. Minneapolis, day by day, is a more diverse community, and there is a need for diverse representation, not just in divorce or immigration, but in all areas of law.”
A cum laude graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Demetria Dyer joined Sapientia in 2019 after serving as law clerk to the Honorable Thomas Fraser of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota. Dyer assists clients in resolving business and commercial litigation issues involving fraud, employment law, corporate governance, and general contract disputes. She enjoys working with and advising emerging local businesses, especially women and minority-owned businesses. Dyer is also active in numerous professional organizations. She serves on the board of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and as co-chair of MSBA’s diversity and inclusion committee.
Dyer’s path to the law demonstrates the difference attorneys can make when they take an interest in youth. “The seed for me wanting to be a lawyer was planted in high school when a black attorney came to one of our career days,” Dyer says. “When I heard him speak, it became something I thought I could do as well. I had already been searching for what I wanted to do, and being a lawyer wasn’t a real possibility until I heard this black attorney speak. I enjoyed my first year of law school so much, I knew I had made the right decision.”
As Dyer was thinking about her next career move and experiencing frustration about the lack of diversity and inclusion in private practice, Miller-Van Oort invited her to examine what Sapientia had to offer. “We had a meeting, and she told me all about the firm, and how it was founded on diversity and a non-traditional law firm model. She promised it would be a place where I would receive the mentorship I was looking for. I did some research on the attorneys and found that they all had great reputations. I knew I’d be learning from the best in the industry.”
Two-and-a-half years later, Dyer is delighted with her choice. During the nine months before the pandemic occurred and throughout the pandemic, Dyer has had many opportunities for meaningful, hands-on legal work. “The firm has been supportive of me from day one and set me up to succeed by giving me the experience and resources I need. I’m three years out of law school and have taken depositions and argued substantive motions — opportunities my law school peers have not received yet. And there has always been someone from the firm helping me prepare for those big milestones.”
At Sapientia, the individual matters, whether that person is the attorney or the client. “It’s great to work for a place that values me not just as an attorney but as a person,” Dyer says. “I’m not just a machine here to work as much as I can; I feel like I’m important — my entire self. It’s really exciting that nothing seems off limits in terms of what I can do with my career at Sapientia. You matter, and the thing you want to do, the dreams you have, they matter.”