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Peter Carlson
Peter Carlson

In-House Counsel 2021: Peter Carlson

At the beginning of his legal career, Peter Carlson was a litigator, handling corporate disputes, employment matters and other cases. But he would come to operate at the cutting edge of technology and law.

Carlson is general counsel and corporate secretary for Nerdery, which creates custom applications for clients who need digital solutions and strategy to solve business challenges. “We might create a mobile application that connects medical device hardware to end users like physicians, or use experience design or data science to better connect retailers to their customers,” Carlson explains.

Given the innovative nature of technology, it has required Carlson to undertake a dynamic (and ever-learning) approach to advising Nerdery across its different customer engagements.

Carlson also values the human side of his business. As a 10-year board member for nonprofit Cancer Legal Care (CLC), which provides free legal help for Minnesotans with cancer, Carlson has helped to shape and expand the organization. His own father died of cancer when Carlson was just 18, and he explains his motivation simply: “I wanted to figure out how to make cancer less unfair.”

CLC executive director and founder Lindy Yokanovich explains that CLC, which has provided $13.2 million worth of free legal services to more than 11,000 cancer survivors, owes much of its success to Carlson. “Cancer Legal Care would not be the organization we are today without Peter’s tenacious and dedicated leadership over the last decade,” she said.

Carlson also co-created Nerdery Gives Back, a program through Nerdery that provided clients free business consulting during the pandemic. The program provided more than $200,000 worth of consulting time. “We’ve got talented nerds who care deeply about our community, so how can we connect them with businesses that need help?” Carlson said.

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