When Emily M. Wessels enrolled at the University of Minnesota Law School in 2011, she envisioned a career in regulatory law. But the summer after her first year, an internship at Merchant & Gould in Minneapolis changed her mind.
“Very quickly, when you have a science background as a law student, you get exposed to areas of intellectual property,” says Wessels, who had earned a Ph.D. in pharmacy from Drake University that spring. “When I summered at Merchant & Gould that first year, I found out it was a passion that I never knew I had.”
She is speaking of intellectual property litigation, a passion she has continued to pursue.
Since joining Merchant & Gould after law school in 2014, Wessels has been a member of several trial teams, including one on which she took a central role in achieving a six-figure recovery for a major consumer-brand client against counterfeiters.
Her work brings her into contact with a variety of industries — chemical, pharmaceutical, software — and the mix is what she likes best about her work.
She also has been active outside the firm, handling immigration asylum cases. Recently, she was successful in obtaining asylum for an El Salvadoran woman and her two children.
“That was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done,” Wessels says. “Having heard their story, I think it may have saved their lives.”