Nathaniel Gier

Nathaniel Gier is an in-house attorney with Land O’Lakes, Inc. where he is a member of its Community Impact Council, an employee group that researches nonprofits and manages a full grant-making cycle. Additionally, he achieved North Star Lawyer status recently for his pro bono work in 2021. Prior to his work with Land O’Lakes, he provided pro bono legal services with his previous firm representing non-citizens in immigration matters, small business owners, and nonprofits.

So, why pro bono work? Gier makes the answer very simple.

‘Lawyers are uniquely positioned to help their communities in meaningful ways because we have a specific tool – a license to practice law – that not everyone has. Doing something with that tool to better our communities is imperative to improve our society. If we neglect that duty, we run the risk of perpetuating certain inequities that exist not only in the law but in society at large. Doing pro bono work is therefore critical to ensure that lawyers are part of the solution towards a more equitable and just society.’

Gier stays diligent about making time for pro bono work by seeking out CLEs that discuss topics related to pro bono representation and staying on top of his emails that provide volunteering opportunities, but not only for himself, but to spread the knowledge to others as well.

‘I communicate about its importance to my colleagues so that they understand it as a priority of mine as well.’

Uniquely positioned as an in-house attorney, Gier focuses his pro bono work on his charitable endeavors on the Community Impact Council, not only in the grant-making process, but also volunteering with a program with which it collaborates to assist low-income job seekers by providing mock interviews and feedback.

‘This area is one where lawyers have a strong track record of success, and I am looking forward to sharing the skills that I’ve gained in my own career with others.’

Skill building is an effective summation of what Gier has learned from his pro bono practice. In addition to a variety of critical legal skills, he also cites ‘clear communication, sensible and efficient problem solving, and zealous advocacy’ as things he’s gained in the process.

‘I’ve learned the importance of compassion and understanding as important professional qualities. Without an openness to understanding, listening can become very difficult, and listening is perhaps one of the most important things that lawyers do.’

Gier’s work inspires us to remain steadfast in the things that are important to us. From beginning his volunteering journey as a young person to his active commitment and involvement as an attorney, he believes that pro bono work is essential to being a well-rounded lawyer and a contributing member of society. When asked the quintessential question ‘What would you like the legal community to know about pro bono?’ he leaves us with this:

‘Right now, our community needs help across a wide variety of legal issues, so if finding the right thing to do is what’s holding you back, I would encourage all to reach out to the myriad local organizations that are tackling these legal issues and need help doing so. I firmly believe that there’s something out there for all attorneys and that it’s our obligation discover our passion and help to the best of our abilities.’