In just a little more than a decade, Mary Rosen ’06 J.D. has become a sought-after expert in international law, presenting on letters of credit across the globe. Her profile was elevated last year when she was named to the International Chamber of Commerce Banking Commission Legal Committee, an honor recognizing her as one of the foremost practitioners in trade finance law worldwide. The ICC’s reach is massive: Its global network spans more than 6 million members in more than 100 countries.
“The ICC develops the international standard banking practice rules that virtually all banks doing this kind of business use globally,” Rosen (nee Beckey) said. “Because legal systems vary country to country, the applicable rule set – there are several of these rule sets depending on the product – informs the way the banks conduct their international banking business.”
She said she is honored to be at the ICC. “Most of the people on the committee have been in this practice area for decades. A lot of them are deputy general counsels at major international banks. I’m fortunate to be able to join because of my long-term interest and expertise in international banking.”
The ICC publishes the rules for letters of credit that are followed globally, including the UCP600, the ISP98 and the International Standard Banking Practices. The organization also is involved in dispute resolution. The Banking Commission is charged with identifying and addressing legal issues in connection with the Banking Commission’s scope of activities, as well as addressing legal issues arising in the course of activity of the commissions, its task forces or working groups.
Rosen credits taking advantage of great opportunities and learning from mentors for helping her arrive at this point in her career.
One of those mentors, Bruce Engler, said Rosen’s career has flourished since her days at Faegre Baker Daniels. He said being on the ICC is a “very significant and important position” that recognizes her accomplishments in international banking.
An Impressive Resume
When Rosen interviewed for a position at Faegre Baker Daniels after earning her law degree, she applied for the newly created job of due diligence coordinator.
Engler, a partner and leader of the firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice, said they were looking for someone with substantial experience, but Rosen’s resume was impressive. The firm brought her in for an interview and Rosen beat out a group of seasoned candidates for the job.
“We thought she had the vision and enthusiasm to try that experiment with us,” Engler said. “She really impressed us in the interview as somebody who would be able to make a go of it and help us figure out exactly how to do it. While we weren’t looking for somebody with her profile, we were really impressed with her and hired her.
“We were even more impressed with her as the position developed,” he continued. “It was clear Mary was going to be an exceptional talent.” Engler said Rosen’s many friends and supporters at Faegre Baker Daniels are proud of what Mary has achieved since those formative years at the firm.
“We knew she was destined to accomplish great things,” he said. “And she has.”
After nearly three years at Faegre Baker Daniels, Rosen went on to follow her passion of working in international banking as a vice president and senior corporate counsel for U.S. Bank. In winter 2014, she was recruited for a senior capital markets counsel position at Wells Fargo where she specializes in international trade finance law.
‘Doing the Right Thing’
Rosen’s pull to St. Thomas started with her family. Former University of St. Thomas President Father Dennis Dease is her cousin. He baptized her, presented her with an undergraduate and law degree, and officiated her wedding.
“I’ve been very blessed he’s been a part of my life,” said Rosen, who majored in international studies and minored in economics as an undergraduate.
While family ties were strong, there was another reason she chose to enter St. Thomas Law.
“It was also the mission,” Rosen said. “It’s one thing to understand how to be a lawyer, but really what you want is the rest of it. It’s about doing the right thing, giving legal advice beyond just the legal analysis. It’s seeing the whole picture including the values of your company and your own values.
“I liked that we had a class of people who had a very specific draw to the mission and, in their own way, wanted to carry it out,” she added. “Which is exactly the way it should happen. It doesn’t mean we all come out and do ‘x’ as lawyers. It means we all come out with a certain way and a certain value system that goes along with how we practice.”
When it comes to some of her most memorable St. Thomas Law experiences, she noted her International Law and Negotiation classes, participating in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, and a study abroad opportunity in Europe between her second and third years.
“We studied international treaties, international business transactions and international banking law,” she said. “A lot of what I used later, I actually did in the study abroad session. What I learned there was really helpful. We even had meetings at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.”
At St. Thomas Law, along with a rigorous academic schedule, Rosen appreciated the bond she had with her fellow students.
“It’s exciting to see how each one of my classmates has found their place in the world,” she said.
Rhonda Skoby ’06 J.D. said Rosen stood out from the start because of her certainty in what kind of law she wanted to practice. The two have remained friends since their days at the School of Law.
“She’s very supportive,” said Skoby, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney law firm. “She’s been a very important person in my life in that way. She’s funny and kind. When we go out for lunch, everyone in the skyway knows her and wants to talk to her.
“It makes for a long walk to and from lunch,” Skoby laughed.
Neil Hamilton, Holloran Professor of Law and co-director of the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions, remembered Rosen as determined and driven.
“She had good judgment – a very strong team person,” he said. “When you’re in her physical presence, she’s a very positive, energized person. Her energy is infectious.
“I knew Mary was going to do great, simply because she has the skills business wants,” he continued. “What we’re currently finding out is that in the long run if a person has a strong work ethic and strong relational skills, they’re going to do extremely well in the workplace. That’s the strength of the school. Mary was a great fit for us because she’s so strong in relational skills and that’s what we try to help students develop.”
Gaining a Global View
Even before she decided to attend law school, Rosen was interested in the world of international banking. After earning her undergraduate degree, she worked in U.S. Bank’s international banking operations.
“I thought about what I really enjoyed,” she said. “I knew I wanted to be in international. Then I had to figure out what form it would take. I knew the international business part for a long time, but then it took time refining what that meant for me, talking to people to find out what the needs were. I would ask people, ‘What are some of the greatest needs for the bank? Where is there a void?’ I had that foresight.”
She learned that to advance in banking and negotiate globally, a law degree was essential. After graduating from St. Thomas Law and supporting mergers and acquisitions at Faegre Baker Daniels, she returned to U.S. Bank until she was recruited by Wells Fargo for her role in international trade finance law.
“It’s multi-dimensional, meaning there are so many other factors you have to consider when you’re working with people outside of the United States,” Rosen explained. “It goes to diversity and inclusion. You have to be thinking about factors that they’re not looking at through the same lens you’re looking through. Or their legal system is nothing like yours. There are some countries that wouldn’t recognize punitive damages; that’s a big legal concept in the United States.
“The the way you come across is the way you’re going to be treated,” Rosen said.
Even though she faces a heavy workload and is doing business in multiple time zones, Rosen loves the international aspects of the job and the constant change it brings.
“There’s always something new that comes up when multiple parties, multiple countries and multiple laws are involved,” she said. “New product needs, new issues, there’s something novel that comes up regularly and that keeps it interesting. We learn a lot because we’re supporting so much globally.”
Thanks to Rosen’s dedication and expertise in her field, it’s no wonder the highly regarded School of Law alumna was asked to join the invitation-only International Chamber of Commerce Banking Commission Legal Committee.
“I was very focused when I went to law school,” she said. “I wanted to do what I’m doing now, and I’m doing it. It’s all about finding your niche.”