Suneel Arora ’99 is a registered patent attorney and a principal at Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner in Minneapolis. When asked what he enjoys about patent law, Arora said, “I love the creativity, optimism, artistry, and entrepreneurship of my inventors and clients, and the constant exposure to new technologies and inventions. I can’t think of a more uplifting field of law.”
Arora left a small town in Wisconsin to earn his electrical engineering degree at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Afterwards, he worked for five years designing integrated circuits for implantable medical devices.
Arora enjoyed his engineering career so much, that he chose Mitchell Hamline’s evening enrollment option so that he could keep his position, but still dip his toe into the field of law. However, after his first semester of law school, he left his engineering position to draft and prosecute patent applications at the Schwegman firm.
“During my first semester of law school, Visiting Professor Janice Mueller let me sit in on her Intellectual Property (IP) survey course. I wanted to get a quick indication of whether this whole law school thing, and IP law, was really something that I wanted to leave my engineering career for,” said Arora. “In addition to teaching a great class, she advised me to talk to Steve Lundberg, who recently founded the Schwegman, Lundberg, & Woessner law firm, which, at the time, constituted about 10 patent attorneys. That stepping stone shaped the whole rest of my life.”
Notably, the evening program allowed Arora to graduate with three full years of practical legal experience—working during the day and attending law school at night. While he was a student, Arora worked full time at Schwegman and then served as a judicial law clerk in U.S. District Court in St. Paul. “That brought real value to my firm and to its clients, and accelerated my career progression considerably. My Mitchell education landed me a job and a career that turned out to be a really good fit for my personality and ambitions,” said Arora.
“I made such good friends at law school, and it has been fun for me to watch my classmates rise to such prominent positions,” said Arora, who was his law school class valedictorian. “I often joke that I have had less career progression than any of my classmates, because I ended up staying at the Schwegman firm for 25 years. Both my practice and firm has grown considerably over the years. I now sit on the firm board, and I am grateful to have landed so many years ago in such a collegial and supportive work environment.”
Arora shared a piece of advice for prospective law students, “Mitchell provides a solid and practical education, and a gateway to an uplifting career that can provide autonomy, learning, advancement, and fulfillment. A Mitchell education will give you choices, and it is important to understand different career pathways, different firm cultures, and what to be thinking about to choose what’s right for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to and talk to Mitchell alumni to get practical academic or career advice!”