2013 Mentor Appreciation

Each year the University of St. Thomas School of Law Mentor Externship Program holds a reception honoring the legal professionals who serve as mentors to our students.  Each year, more than 500 attorney mentors put in an average of 6,000 hours and have 3,000 experiences with UST Law students, engaging every student in one to one mentoring relationships.  For the 2012-2013 academic year we recognize the broad reach of our mentor relationships across generations, practice areas, and locations.

2012-2013 Mentor Appreciation Reception Insert

Mariam Elrashidi

"I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. I always enjoy spending time with Shayne. She has made my mentor experience memorable and enjoyable. I have learned a tremendous amount from her and I am appreciative of everything that she has made available to me.   Shayne has my best interest at heart. She makes me feel welcome, and offers me great advice about work, school, and outside relations. She always makes it her priority to ensure that everyone meets me and know that I am her mentee. She is an outstanding mentor." 

Shayne Hamann

“The mentor experience has been extremely insightful and beneficial, because Mariam has been very proactive and prepared for our meetings and interactions.  She is also so engaging and wants to learn about what I do on a daily basis.  We have forged a life-long friendship!”

Kellen T. Fish 10'

“St. Thomas Law did a great job teaching me the law; but Joel and the mentor program taught me what it was like to be a lawyer.   So, while I came out of UST able to draft a fantastic appellate brief, but working with Joel helped shape my idea of what a lawyer should do in a situation when he's going to miss a deadline and needs to talk to a senior partner about it; or how to communicate the commitment and hours the law may demand to family members who may be concerned at the amount of time you’re spending at work.  I am thankful for the program.”

Sarah Becker 08'

“Judge Shumaker and I had a ‘wrap-up’ meeting.  I had given him my first two law school papers and he wrote me feedback about each one.  We are definitely going to keep in touch.  Judge Shumaker has provided me with excellent insight about the life of a lawyer and the realities of living that life.  He has a great perspective that truly reflects St. Thomas Law’s mission.  He has warned me about relying too much on grades as a mark of achievement, as well as the atmosphere of high stress created in the law school environment.  Overall, he is an excellent mentor in that he firmly believes and behaves as if the mentoring "experience" is a two way street from which both mentor and mentee can learn from one another (in contrast to an approach that a mentor is doing a "favor" for the mentee).  I simply could not have gotten a better mentor.  Although we both agreed it would be beneficial for me to have a different mentor next year to give me diversified experiences and perspectives, we will definitely be staying in contact as he is an invaluable resource for me.  We both agree that the mentor experience offered by St. Thomas is incredibly beneficial to mentor and mentee, and provides each with a refreshing outlook on the life of a lawyer and a new law student.” (From Sarah's last mentor log entry)


Kerri Kovalesky 13'

 “I had to send an email to tell you how much the Mentor Externship Program has given me.  It is the first week in October and I have already completed 45 hours with my mentor!  I was randomly paired (based on my survey) with an attorney at the City of Minneapolis in the criminal division. I have been clerking with the City since January.  
When my mentor and I had lunch to discuss the PPDP, she asked if I would be interested in second chairing a jury trial in a criminal case.  (I am already student certified and supervised by the City.)   Of course I was thrilled with this idea. 

I cannot even put into words how much I was able to learn at this experience this week!   It ended up taking much more time than had initially been predicted (which is apparently pretty common) but it was worth it.   Having this opportunity gave me a chance to learn from not only my mentor, but opposing counsel, the judge and his clerk.  I was able to apply skills and things I had learned in class to the courtroom.  I know that the experience I had this week is exactly the kind the Mentor Externship Program strives to create. 

I have already been asked to do more trials with my mentor.  I am very thankful for this experience.  Thank you for working so hard to make a program that provides these opportunities to students.”

Geoff Salzstein 09'

“Sarah was my mentor in my 3L year.  We formed a solid relationship and I still see her in practice.  She gave me the opportunity to go with her to court, to the jail when she met with clients and to experience generally the practical aspects of criminal defense. Those are the experiences that prepared me for my career in criminal defense.” 

Kristin Abbott 14'

“I chose the University of St. Thomas School of Law largely because of the Mentor Externship program. I knew that I would not be a “normal” law student. I knew this because rarely am I a “normal” anything. I was hoping to be able to create and define unique opportunities befitting of my unique goals and I was hopeful that the mentor program would assist me in this journey.

I came to law school set on pursuing health law. I’ve since been working in the real estate law field. However, not willing to give up my health law aspirations, I requested a health law attorney for my 2L year mentor. I was matched with Barb Blumer who, to my surprise and delight, specializes in health and real estate transactional law. Barb is outgoing, brilliant, and approachable. We have enjoyed several enlightening conversations and each time I am left in awe of her true expertise in her field. I could not have hoped for a better mentor, and I know that she will be an invaluable part of my network, now and for years to come. Some of my favorite conversations with Barb are the ones where we linger on what it means to be a "true" professional. We talk about client development and client retention. We talk about balancing work life and personal life. We talk about family. We share a love of ethnic foods, a desire to promote the rights of those who cannot advocate for themselves, and a preference for email over phone calls. And sometimes we'll talk about real estate closings, senior citizen rights, and how hard it is to plan a wedding all in the same breath.  It is this ease and familiarity that make Barb a true asset to my legal education. For Barb reminds me that it is possible to be a successful practitioner, and at the same time a well-balanced, hilarious, community-oriented, and morally upright and active member of society.

My thanks and kudos to the Mentor Externship Program for this perfect match. “