Page 14 - Minnesota Vol 8 No 6
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Schmidt described how Dorsey’s breadth and depth of collaborative lawyers also enhances the value she brings when solving complex problems. We have excellent di- verse lawyers working across multiple areas of practice, and because everyone is so willing to come together to help solve problems, we are able to bring all of those per- spectives to address a client’s issue. If I send out an email asking for help, there is always an immediate response from multiple people with di erent suggestions.”
was no place for a woman.
In the middle of earning her legal education, with hon-
ors, from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, Schmidt journeyed to the U.S. at age 19 as part of a student ex- change program and worked as a kid’s camp counselor at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge in Minnesota. As fate would have it, she fell in love with a boat boy there, who, a er three years of long distance romance — mostly kept alive via airmail — became her husband.
As a result of Dorsey’s continual commitment
to me, I feel very loyal to this organization and would do anything to help them succeed. It’s so important to feel like you’re part of something rather than a replacement cog.”
“A er we married, we decided the only way to make it fair for both of us was to live in each oth- er’s countries before we picked our home. I came here  rst.”
At the University of Minnesota, Schmidt was in the  rst class of the LL.M. program and, there, she revisited her legal thesis from the Univer- sity of Aberdeen, this time looking at the issues through an American lens. “My thesis was about breaking the cycle of child sexual abuse by giving more help to victims, while recognizing that the abusers are o en themselves victims. I was really
Dorsey’s management committee is currently made up of an equal number of men and women. Schmidt said, “I think that’s a real advancement for an AmLaw 100  rm. Diversity is hugely important to our managing partner. We measure the impact of our selection, distribution of workload and client facing opportunities, compensation, and promotion processes on diversity, and make changes when needed. Many of our clients demand a diverse team, and we can provide it. I feel honored to be on a committee with these amazing people who are committed to making a di erence in this profession.”
“How do you do it all?”
 is question is o en asked of Schmidt, who in addi- tion to being a partner at Dorsey is also a wife and mother of four. Schmidt was raised by a single mother who cared for three children while successfully running her own business in Kirkcaldy, Fife, just a few miles north of Edin- burgh, Scotland. She learned early on that a woman could juggle anything thrown at her.
So, how does she do it all? “You have to tackle one day at a time,” she said. “You can handle anything if you break it o  in small chunks. A lot of people say you can’t have it all. I don’t think you can have it all at the same time, but you can de nitely do this. And you have to have a good sup- port system, which I’m grateful to have with my husband.”
 en, she added, “And retain your sense of humor.”
Schmidt decided at an early age that she wanted to be rich when she grew up. As a precocious 6-year-old, she asked her grandfather, an accountant, whether she could become rich working in his profession. He advised her, in- stead, to practice medicine or law, and opined that since she asked so many questions, she should probably choose the latter.
Schmidt did choose the law, almost on a dare, a er her high school counselor — whose son was a lawyer — ad- vised her that she should go into medicine, since the law
interested in criminal and family law, but a er completing two theses on such a traumatizing subject, I realized it was not something I could do for living.”
She continued, “A er that, we went back to Scotland so I could complete my traineeship to be a fully quali ed solic- itor, and I practiced in the corporate group at a  rm called McGrigor Donald in Glasgow.  en we made the deci- sion about where to live. Ultimately, we knew we wanted to have a big family, and we knew our children would be tall since we are both tall.  at was important, since my husband hates soccer, the predominant sport in Scotland, and he wanted them to play basketball and football. We also wanted our kids to have the American dream. So, we decided to come back to Minnesota to start our lives for real. We emigrated on April 26, 1998 with four suitcases, four hockey bags and $10,000 we had saved.  at, and each other, was all we started with here.”
A er returning to Minnesota, Schmidt took up the challenge of earning her legal credentials a third time at William Mitchell College of Law.
Schmidt describes her immigration experience as one characterized by frequent bouts of homesickness. “I came from a country I loved. I missed my home and family a lot. I decided the only way I was going to survive was to make our own family right way. I was  ve months preg- nant when I came to Dorsey as a summer associate in ’99.  at was the start of me thinking what a great place Dors- ey is. At  rst, I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know if it would a ect my opportunities. It didn’t, of course. I had my  rst son in October, took the bar in February, the eth- ics exam in March, and started at Dorsey in April ´00 — all with a brand new baby. Right from the beginning, this  rm was there for me and helped me balance my family and practice.  at’s one of the reasons I love being here.”
 roughout her 19-year tenure at Dorsey, Schmidt has been continually a rmed by the support she has received from the  rm and her colleagues.  rough the birth of

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