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Meet Jessica Klander: 2022-23 HCBA Secretary


Headshot of woman with text Meet Jessica Klander

The HCBA welcomes Jessica Klander to membership on its executive commitee for the 2022-23 bar year. Klander joins the officer ranks as secretary, beginning a five-year leadership track that will have her serve as president for the 25-26 bar year. Klander is a shareholder at Bassford Remele, and is a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law. 

Why did you become a lawyer?

I grew up in a family of farmers, teachers, and small business owners. I didn’t know any lawyers. My parents owned an insurance agency in Becker, Minnesota. After graduating from college, I planned to purchase the agency and run it. After spending two years working in an office (just me and my parents), I learned that my favorite part of the job was explaining the insurance contracts to customers. I also learned that while I loved working with my parents, they were retiring soon and I wasn’t looking forward to running a small insurance agency by myself in rural Minnesota. I decided to pursue a legal degree instead of buying my parents’ agency. It was a “leap of faith” and one of the best (and hardest) decisions I’ve ever made. I immediately fell in love with the law and learned quickly I wanted to be a litigator.

What is your favorite part about your job?

I enjoy the academic and intellectual rigor of the job. I learn something new every day. As a litigator, every case and every day is different. I have also been really fortunate to practice at a firm with exceptional attorneys, staff, and clients. The people at my firm are more like family than colleagues and some of my closest friends are also my business partners. We celebrate the wins (both personal and professional) and we commiserate in the losses (both personal and professional). It’s a really wonderful place to practice.

How did you get involved with the bar association?

I have been involved in the HCBA since I became a lawyer. My firm has always encouraged attorneys to get involved in the local bar associations, including the HCBA. In 2018, I decided to get more involved and applied for a seat on the Finance and Planning committee. I took on the role of the vice chair of Finance and Planning and have served on the HCBA Board of Directors ever since.

What are you most excited about with joining the HCBA leadership track?

Once I became involved on the HCBA’s Board of Directors, I was struck with the leadership’s engagement in the organization. I was also genuinely welcomed from the outset. It can be difficult to work your way into a new organization, but I didn’t find that to be the case at the HCBA. I was immediately encouraged to speak up and provide my ideas and thoughts. I was also impressed, and continue to be impressed, with the diversity of the HCBA’s leadership and the HCBA’s explicit commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization. I wanted to be part of an organization that not only talks about diversity and inclusion but also successfully models it. I also want to help to ensure that the HCBA continues to be a strong and meaningful organization well into the future. I felt it was important to volunteer my time—like so many others have and continue to do—and give back to the HCBA because I have benefited from it.  I want others to have that opportunity in the future.

 

What’s a way you decompress outside of work?

I am a mom to two girls, ages 7 and 5.They keep me very busy during my “non-working” hours. We spend a lot of time at our cabin, swimming, fishing, and wildflower picking. When we aren’t outside, we like to have dance parties in our basement—complete with a disco ball and string lights. When I do have time to myself, I like to read fantasy/sci-fi novels and go running.

What’s one piece of advice you’d have for new attorneys?

Find your support system early. Private practice is a marathon, not a race, and it can be exhausting, challenging, and difficult. I was fortunate to have a really strong support system both at home and at my firm, and still do. Find your people and support each other. At some point in your life (if it hasn’t already), “life will happen” and you will need those people to support you through it. When “life happened” to me, the people at firm stepped up and supported me through it – no questions asked. I know how meaningful that was to me and I plan to pay that gift forward to others.

We’ve heard your family runs a cheese curd stand, what’s your favorite memory of working at the stand?

My family has run the Prom’s Cheese Curd stand at the Benton County Fair in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota since I was five years old. I have more memories serving cheese curds in the summers than almost anything else! In fact, I went back and worked one day at the cheese curd stand this summer. We have siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, and friends who work in the stand each year. My favorite memories in the cheese curd stand are the impromptu dance parties, basketing competitions, and being part of the “curd crew.”

Managing Editor
Nick Hansen

Executive Editor
Joseph Satter