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Ashley Bennett Ewald
Ashley Bennett Ewald

Breaking the Ice: IP work a better fit for born advocate

Ashley Bennett Ewald is happier as an intellectual property partner at Lathrop GPM than she would have been practicing medicine.

Her IP work involves “real products that people use in their daily life” and work with marketing teams with “off-the-wall ideas and need sometimes to sort of expand the boundaries of the law.”

Ewald recalls voicing opinions at an early age and has a young daughter who takes after her, to her parents’ delight.

“I’ve always had a deep sense of what’s fair and have been willing to speak my mind about those things,” she said.

Ewald recently received recognition from the World Trademark Review as Global Leader in Private Practice for 2022, one of 13 Minnesota IP lawyers in private practice so recognized. “We have a huge team of people that make this happen,” Ewald said.

Ewald co-chairs the firm’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), a collaborative effort of women attorneys and firm leadership.

“It has reminded me of the value of supporting women, women in the law in particular, and it’s something I’m really passionate about,” Ewald said.

Name: Ashley Bennett Ewald

Title: Partner, Lathrop GPM

Education: B.A., international studies and Spanish, Hamline University; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Accidentally email me and include some jokes. I swear under oath that is how I met my now-husband.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: Advocacy comes naturally to me. Being a lawyer seemed like a good fit for my personality and an interesting challenge.

Q: What books are you reading?

A: In between “Llama Llama Red Pajama” and “Dinosaurs Love Tacos” — I have three kids ages 7, 4, and 1 — I’m trying to make time for a few questions a day from “How Am I Doing? 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself” by Dr. Corey Yeager, a former Minneapolis Public Schools therapist and now a sports psychologist. Next is “Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of WWII.”

Q: Pet peeve?

A: Poorly designed PowerPoint slides.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: The people. I’m lucky to work with terrific clients who have interesting branding, marketing and IP challenges and are also great people. My co-workers are outstanding, and many have become dear friends. I also work with trademark lawyers around the world, which is fascinating. Usually at least once a year, I spend several days meeting with people from 40-plus countries, and have the opportunity to work with them throughout the year. We have different backgrounds, cultures and languages, but trademark law brings us together and gives us a common experience, which is a real gift. For my pro bono work, I volunteer with Children’s Law Center, representing young adults in the foster care system, to help them have their voices heard. The youth we represent inspire me, and CLC’s attorneys are so knowledgeable and helpful.

Q: Most challenging? 

A: Lately, trying not to talk over people in video calls.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: Family time and travel.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: Straight to the airport to visit a more exciting destination. Sorry, Watertown, South Dakota, but I swore to tell the truth!

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: Justice Sotomayor.

Q: Misconception about your work as an attorney?

A: Lawyers have a branding problem, as all the lawyer jokes prove. But the truth is, we are problem solvers, helpers, advisers and even defenders of justice. We just need better marketers. I work with a few who could help us out.

Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?

A: A Lifetime comedy from the early 2010s called “Drop Dead Diva.” I watched it as a relatively new lawyer, and it was easy to spot legal errors in the show, which made me feel smart. But I admired the main character’s confidence as a lawyer. The main message I took away was that confident, empowered women lawyers empower others.

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