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FY20-21 MWL Board of Directors

As per MWL's bylaws, the Board of Directors "shall conduct the business and affairs of the corporation." With some exceptions, the Board meets typically the 4th Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m.  Contact Executive Director Debra Pexa for further information.   




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Breia Schleuss
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Breia Schleuss assumed the office President as of July 1, 2020. Breia is a partner at Faegre Drinker LLP, where she is a member of the Finance & Restructuring Practice Group and a co-chair of the firm’s Food & Agribusiness Industry Team. Breia has been recognized as a Top Woman in Finance by Finance & Commerce, a Rising Star in banking by Super Lawyers, and 40 Under 40 by Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business Journal. Breia has served on the Board of Directors of Minnesota Women Lawyers since 2011. Among other board service, Breia previously served on the Business Finance Advisory Committee of WomenVenture, a small business lender, and on the Board of Directors for the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.



hover textPresident-Elect 
Kristin Haugen

Morneau Shepell


Kristin Haugen currently serves as MWL President-Elect. Kristin is Vice President, Legal for Morneau Shepell, a global provider of technology-enabled human resources services. Previously, Kristin founded her own consulting business providing workshops and one-on-one coaching focused on business development, leadership, and diversity and inclusion.  Kristin also practiced as a solo attorney and as a partner with one of Minnesota’s largest law firms. 

hover textSecretary
Jennifer Robbins


Jennifer ("Jenny") Robbins currently serves as MWL Secretary. Jenny is the Managing Partner at MADEL PA, where she represents Fortune 500 companies and individuals in plaintiff- and defense-side business litigation (e.g., antitrust, trade secret, complex class actions, regulatory matters) and white-collar criminal defense, government investigations, and matters alleging misconduct against professionals. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Jenny serves as Co-Chair of the Governance Committee.


hover textTreasurer
Poonam Kumar

Poonam Kumar currently serves as MWL Treasurer.  Poonam is an attorney with DLA Piper LLP. Poonam has extensive experience working on a wide variety of cross-border transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and corporate restructurings, as well as general corporate, securities and commercial law matters. Poonam is a representative for DLA Piper’s Leadership Alliance for Women and serves as a co-chair of Mosaic, DLA’s affinity group for diverse partners and counsel. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Poonam is one of the founding co-chairs of the MWL’s Corporate Counsel Affinity Group and has previously served as a co-chair of the Governance Committee and the Development Committee. She has also served as a MWL Foundation Board Director in the past.  



Amy Taber
Prime Therapeutics

Amy Taber assumed the office Past-President as of July 1, 2020. Amy is Prime Therapeutics’ Employment and Litigation Senior Legal Counsel where she provides legal advice and support to Prime's human resources and facilities teams and assists with oversight of Prime's employment and general business litigation activities. Amy began practicing law in 2004 and was a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP before joining Prime. Prior to becoming a lawyer, she was a human resources professional for 10 years. Since joining the MWL Board as a Director in 2012, Amy has served in the role of Secretary and President-Elect. Amy is also a two-time recipient of the Service to MWL Award. 



hover textEllen Ahrens

Ellen Ahrens is an attorney at MADEL PA, where she represents clients in a variety of matters, ranging from minority shareholder disputes to employment law issues. Previously Ellen was a career law clerk for the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. Before clerking, Ellen worked for a Minneapolis law firm representing plaintiffs in antitrust class action litigation. In addition to serving on MWL’s Board of Directors, Ellen serves as MWL’s Board liaison to the Governance Committee.




Deborah Autrey
Attorney at Law

Deborah Autrey is a general practice solo attorney with a background in the areas of business and civil litigation. She enjoys working in service of her community and giving back at every available opportunity. Deborah was licensed in the state of Minnesota in 2018, and spent 1 year working in Walmart's Legislative Services department. Deborah also served as a Pro Bono attorney for the Walmart Foundation. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Deborah serves as a Co-Chair of the Publications Committee.



hover textDionne Blake
Target Corporation

Dionne Blake is an Assistant General Counsel/Senior Director at Target where she leads a multidisciplinary team supporting employee related issues. Licensed in both Minnesota and Florida, Dionne has been a Legal Affairs leader in retail organizations for the past 15 years.  Prior to that, she practiced Labor and Employment defense litigation for a national employment firm. In addition to serving on MWL’s Board of Directors, she also is a Co-Chair of the Networking Committee and serves on the Diversity and Inclusion committee.




hover textA. Elizabeth Burnett
Robins Kaplan LLP

Liz Burnett is an experienced litigator who represents clients nationwide in products liability, commercial, and disaster litigation, including toxic tort and class action cases. Many of these high-stakes matters stem from fires and explosions involving combustible dust or natural gas. Representing plaintiffs and defendants, Liz’s clients range from product manufacturers to plant owners to subrogated property insurers. Liz is recognized as a Minnesota Rising Star by Super Lawyers and was previously named an Up & Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer


Emerald Gratz
Minnesota Supreme Court

Emerald Gratz is an Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Prior to joining the Commissioner’s Office in 2018, Emerald was a staff attorney at the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, Assistant Attorney General at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, and law clerk in federal district court in Minnesota. In 2011, she received the public service award from the Minnesota County Attorney’s Association. Emerald spent five years teaching appellate advocacy as an adjunct instructor at the University of Minnesota Law School and providing pro bono representation to children in foster care through the Children’s Law Center. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Emerald serves as Co-Chair of the CLE Committee and the Leadership Development Committee. 



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Molly Hough
Bassford Remele

Molly Hough is a passionate and strategic litigator who focuses her practice in the areas of commercial litigation, general liability, employment litigation/advice, consumer, and real estate litigation. In addition, Ms. Hough represents clients in third party tort litigation. Molly is also passionate about serving the community around her through serving on two non-profit boards, volunteering, and pro-bono work such as helping LGBTQ+ individuals apply for asylum.



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Theresa Johnson
Theresa Johnson Law, PLLC/Elder Law Services

Theresa Johnson is the owner of Theresa Johnson Law, PLLC and Elder Law Services.  Theresa is a solo attorney practicing in the areas of business transactions, estate planning and elder law.  Theresa serves as Co-Chair of the Leadership Development Committee and Co-Chair of the Solo/Small Firm Practitioner Affinity Group.




hover textKelsey Kelley
Anoka County Attorney's Office

Kelsey Kelley is an Assistant County Attorney with the Anoka County Attorney's Office. Prior to working in Anoka, Kelsey was a law clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals. She also teaches the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition course as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.  In 2017, Kelsey was named an Up & Coming Attorney by Minnesota Lawyer. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Kelsey serves as Co-Chair to the Community Action & Advocacy Committee. 




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Karen Opp
Korn Ferry

Karen Opp is the Deputy General Counsel for Korn Ferry. Karen has primary responsibility for supporting the advisory and products businesses and also manages the company’s IP portfolio. Karen has extensive experience in intellectual property, e-commerce, software licensing, joint venture, strategic alliance, distribution and corporate partnering transactions. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Karen serves as Co-Chair of the Programming Committee and Co-Chair of the Corporate Counsel Lawyers Affinity Group. 



hover textMary Szondy
Attorney at Law

Mary Szondy owns her own solo practice, focusing on guardianships and conservatorships, wills and trusts. As a former social worker at the Courage Center and on an Alzheimer unit at the Minnesota Masonic Home, Mary has over 20 years' experience working with people with disabilities or impairments due to aging. Mary serves on the Hennepin County and Ramsey County Court Appointed Attorney panels for Guardianship/Conservatorship cases. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Mary serves as Co-Chair of the Solo/Small Firm Practitioner Affinity Group, Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee and serves on the Governance Committee.



Chapter Representatives

hover textCentral Chapter 

Michelle Draewell
Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A.

Michelle Draewell practices in the areas of commercial litigation, criminal prosecution and defense, contractual business, and liability defense matters. at Quinlivan & Hughes in St. Cloud Minnesota. Previously Michelle served in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota as an extern for the Honorable Richard H. Kyle and represented low income clients on housing matters at the U of M's Housing Clinic. Michelle earned her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.


hover textNortheastern Chapter

Kay Biga
Spott Law Office

Kay Biga is a partner at the Spott Law Office in Duluth, Minnesota. She advises small business clients in the areas of business formation, employment law and estate planning. Kay worked as a guardian ad litem in St. Louis County for seventeen years and is on the Rule 114 qualified neutral roster as a mediator. She is the Board liaison for the MWL Northeastern Chapter.




hover textSouth Central Chapter
To Be Appointed


Bio coming soon.




hover textSt. Croix Valley Chapter
Anne Brown
Sjoberg & Tebelius, P.A.

Anne Greenwood Brown practices Employment and Personal Injury law with Sjoberg & Tebelius, P.A. in Woodbury, Minnesota. Anne has experience as an appellate court law clerk, adjunct law professor, juvenile public defender, as well as an extensive and varied history as a private practitioner. Anne earned her Juris Doctorate (cum laude) from William Mitchell College of Law. In addition to serving on the MWL Board of Directors, Anne is actively involved with the MWL Publications Committee.


Law Student Liaisons

The women's law student organizations at all three Minnesota law schools elects a member to serve as non-voting liaison to the MWL Board of Directors.

hover textMitchell Hamline School of Law
Kathryn Fredrickson

Kate Fredrickson is a 2L at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. She is the secretary and MWL liaison for Legal Association of Women Students (LAWS) and treasurer for Out!Law. As a 1L she was an active volunteer for the Mitchell Hamline Family Law Self-Help Clinic and Street Law. Kate also enjoys coaching girls youth hockey in the winter and fastpitch softball in the summer.




hover textUniversity of Minnesota Law School
Alexandria Yakes

Alexandria Yakes is 2L at the University of Minnesota Law School studying to become a civil rights attorney. As a 1L, she was active in the National Lawyers Guild, the Asylum Law Project, and Street Law. She enjoys attending concerts, spending time at the lakes, and cooking in her free time.





hover textUniversity of St. Thomas School of Law
Megan Hsiang

Megan Hsiang is a 3L student at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. She is active in Womens Law Student Association (WLSA) as the MWL Liaison, Asian Pacific American Law Student Alliance (APALSA) as Secretary, National Lawyers Guild (NLG) as a board member, and the University of St. Thomas Law Journal as an Associate Editor.






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