She has wide experience in product liability, complex business, and intellectual property cases, including consolidated and multi-district litigation. Sugisaka won for clients in federal and state courts nationwide involving product liability defense; patent, trademark, and copyright infringement, among other areas.
But beyond that, she was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2016 and Gov. Tim Walz in 2019 to serve as an at-large member of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection, recommending potential judges who are not only highly qualified but who more fully reflect Minnesota’s demographic makeup.
“Both the judicial selection and ethics committee work highlighted the importance of integrity, professionalism and the high standards to which we should be held in practicing law,” she said. “Conversely, that work also highlighted the pitfalls of sharp practices, overzealous advocacy and inattentiveness. Law is a service profession, and it is a tremendous privilege to be entrusted with handling others’ legal problems, so do it well.”
Sugisaka has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the legal field, including serving as Maslon’s representative in both Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
“(It’s important to have) not just commitment and initiatives by firms to advance DEI in the legal profession, but more results from that commitment and action, particularly at the equity partner level,” she said.
A pivotal pro bono case came Sugisaka’s way early in her career, when she took an asylum case for a Liberian woman who had fled Liberia’s civil war. It took a long time, but the woman finally became a U.S. citizen last year.
“It ended up being a 25-year pro bono engagement, but will be an even longer friendship with my client and her family,” she said.
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2022 here.