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Leah D. Leyendecker
Leah D. Leyendecker

2021 Up & Coming Attorneys: Leah D. Leyendecker

As an undergraduate at the University of St. Thomas, Leah Leyendecker worked as a communications intern for the Advocates for Human Rights, where she met many attorneys doing pro bono work on asylum cases.

“That was what piqued my interest,” Leyendecker said. “I hadn’t thought about law before then. I don’t have attorneys in my family or my close network, so it just never occurred to me as a natural fit.”

But she discovered the opposite: It was a fit for someone who enjoyed verbal and written communication. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School, Leyendecker worked at Gray Plant Mooty for more than four years before joining Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP.

The corporate/intellectual property attorney has since worked on many deals, including assisting in the sales of a progressive food company to a private equity concern and a financial tech company to a financial institution. She also serves as outside general counsel to Version1, a local esports enterprise owned by the Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, and Gary Vaynerchuk.

“Esports law is novel in the sense that it is such a new industry,” Leyendecker said. “It’s been really rewarding to take the experiences and expertise we have in representing organizations in traditional sports industries and other industries and now apply it to this young, fun, energized sector.”

The daughter of a Cameroon immigrant father, she feels strongly about giving back by volunteering for the Advocates for Human Rights and working with associations promoting women and Black attorneys and women- and minority-owned businesses. Internally, she serves on several firm committees, including one for staff balancing parental and professional responsibilities. Leyendecker, who has two small children, has balanced working at home in their presence. “I think people have found the most benefit in just realizing that they’re not alone,” she said.

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