Merchant & Gould, a national intellectual property law firm, was honored by the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota (CLC) with the Distinguished Service Award at its 26th Anniversary Virtual Benefit on Oct. 7.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to one law firm or corporation whose work on behalf of CLC’s clients exemplifies the commitment and dedication to pro bono representation that is the foundation of CLC’s mission. Merchant & Gould was especially recognized for its “dedication and commitment to representing children and youth in foster care,” as well as the firm’s “immense impact on Minnesota children in need,” according to Amanda Finman-Palmer, CLC development director, and the CLC team.
Over the years, Merchant & Gould attorneys and staff have engaged with CLC in many ways, including CLC board and committee leadership; philanthropy by employees and volunteers; sponsorship support for CLC’s Annual benefit; in-kind donations for CLC clients and operation; and hundreds of pro bono hours representing children and youth in foster care.
Minneapolis partner Tony Zeuli, a CLC board member, accepted the Distinguished Service Award on behalf of Merchant & Gould in a video, while applauding the firm’s robust team of pro bono volunteers, including Karen Beckman, Eric Chad, Julie Daulton, Lindsay Hartman, Rachel Hughey, Bradley Kuxhausen, Anneliese Mayer, Elisabeth “Bette” Muirhead, Tracey Skjeveland, Ryan Smith and Rachel Zimmerman Scobie.
CLC provides free legal advocacy for foster care youth in Minnesota. The organization advocates for foster children through systemic reform and provides free legal representation services to foster children. CLC also trains volunteer attorneys to represent foster children in court. Currently, CLC represents over 800 children per year.
Merchant & Gould P.C. is a national intellectual property law firm with about 90 attorneys in offices in Minneapolis; New York; Denver; Washington, D.C., area.; Atlanta; Knoxville, Tenn.; and most recently, Los Angeles. Founded in Minneapolis in 1900, the firm has grown to become one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, representing the worldwide intellectual property interests of clients in diverse industries and technologies.
Ariel Lierz has joined Spencer Fane LLP’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group as an associate in the firm’s Minneapolis office.
Lierz provides legal counsel to clients across a broad array of industries including health care, insurance, and tribal law. Lierz has a background in handling anti-fraud litigation including health care provider fraud, arson, and property loss. Lierz is often at the forefront in investigating and finding instances of fraud, abuse, and misrepresentations to assist clients in seeking the appropriate remedies. Lierz is also well-versed in complex commercial litigation and contract disputes.
“As our office continues to strengthen our litigation practice, Ariel will be a great resource to reach the litigation needs of our current and prospective clients,” said Don Heeman, office managing partner for Spencer Fane in Minneapolis.
Before entering private practice, Lierz worked as a certified student attorney in Menominee Tribal Court providing tribal members with public defender services. She gained significant experience researching and drafting motions based upon a series of complex federal, state, and tribal laws. Lierz also worked for a document management business, allowing her the opportunity to develop and hone research and document drafting skills applicable to important e-discovery and data management in the law firm setting.
Additionally, Lierz worked as a research assistant with the Public Health Law Center under the ClearWay Minnesota grant on the WorkSHIFTS research project, which is a collaborative labor outreach program that works with labor unions to bring awareness among workers of the risks associated with tobacco products, with a goal of increasing access to tobacco cessation products among blue-collar union members and their families. In this role, she interpreted and analyzed insurance policies while maintaining a comprehensive database of findings.
Lierz completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas and later earned her Juris Doctor summa cum laude from the William Mitchell College of Law in 2015.
Spencer Fane is a full-service business law firm. The firm has offices in Phoenix, Arizona; Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado; Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Florida; Overland Park, Kansas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Springfield, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Las Vegas, Nevada; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Dakota Dunes, South Dakota; Hendersonville and Nashville, Tennessee; and Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Plano, Texas.
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