MN Wild



Spring 2016, Volume XVIII, No. 3


Note from the Editors

By Joe Bourne, Jeff Mulder, Blair Harrington, and Kyle Willems

Welcome to the Spring 2016 edition of Hearsay, a quarterly newsletter dedicated to publishing the work of Minnesota’s new lawyers.  We are pleased to be able to bring you articles several interesting topics and recent developments in the law.  If you are interested in submitting to a future edition of Hearsay, please contact Joe Bourne, Jeff Mulder, Blair Harrington, or Kyle Willems.

Lawyerly Transitions: From Student to Lawyer to Adult

Brandon M. Zumwalt, Esq.

Johnson, Moody, Schmidt & Kleinhuizen P.A.


According to several law school statistical studies, the average age of law school graduates in the United States is 27 years old.  The average age of marriage in the United States currently sits at 27 years of age for women and 29 years of age for men.  Further, over the last 43 years, the average age of a first-time mother has increased from 21.4 years to 26 and the current average age of a first time father is 27.4 years old.  Finally, the average age of a first time home buyer in the United States is 31 years, a trend that is increasingly being pushed back with longer schooling and higher student loan payments.

These statistics, while varying across location, occupation, and many other factors, shed light on the current transition that a new lawyer faces upon graduation from law school.  Not only is a new lawyer tasked with passing the BAR, finding a job and then building a client base, but new lawyers are often simultaneously thrust into new marriages, new parenthood and new adult responsibilities.

In an age where law students have often been in school for two straight decades, it is routinely the case where a law student transitions to becoming a lawyer before actually transitioning into adulthood.

I often joke with my colleagues about my “life checklist” and my rush to check every box.  In July 2012, as I was studying for the BAR exam, I was a bachelor, living with a fellow classmate in St. Paul.  Fast forward to January 2016, and I’m now married, with a beautiful 18-month old daughter, and I own a home with my wife.  My life has been a crash-course of transitions throughout this period and by no means am I done learning.  In the constant triage that is being a new lawyer, being a new parent, being a new husband and being a new homeowner, I’ve learned several lessons to help manage many of these short and long-term transitions.

Making a Change: Switching Careers Within the First Five Years of Practice.

Kelsey Karls, Esq.

Hitesman & Wold, P.A.

When I was a 2L, I decided that I wanted to practice family law. I enjoyed the idea of litigating, negotiating, and helping clients navigate a potentially scary and foreign legal process. 

Cue the typical law student overachievement mode and sprinkle in the delightful panic of getting a job in a terrible legal market. I interned, I externed, I volunteered, I clerked, and I networked.  I did everything that I could to gain experience in the field of family law and build my resume so that I could (hopefully) find a job after I passed the bar.

I got a job. And not just a job, but the job I wanted. I was practicing family law at a boutique law firm in Minneapolis. The other attorneys I worked with were awesome and the head of the family law department was an excellent attorney and mentor. I was gaining good experience, becoming an expert in my field, was appearing in court on a regular basis. I was also  rewarded with the satisfaction that I was furthering my clients’ goals. Everything was perfect and I was confident that at the ripe age of 25, I would never, ever, leave my firm. Three years into my practice, I made partner. That was probably one of the most exciting days of my life.

One year and nine months later, I quit. Family law burnt me out.


Remote Employees, Remote Jurisdictions?

By: R. Henry Pfutzenreuter


Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly common practice with advancements in mobile computing technology, faster internet speeds, and a growing desire among employees for flexible work arrangements. More and more employers are offering their employees the option to work from home or on the road, which can place those employees across state lines. Telecommuting raises new legal questions, such as: What happens when a remote employee alleges discrimination, either while dividing time between home and office, or maybe even through online harassment? What about if there is a breach of the employment agreement? Or a whistleblower, retaliation, or defamation claim?

The trend in telecommuting, and the variety of employment claims that might arise while employees engage in it, requires employers to ask themselves: If there is a dispute, does the mere fact that the employee was working in another state or country subject the employer to personal jurisdiction there? Several courts have addressed the issue, and while the results have been generally consistent with established principals of due process, there are some important takeaways for employers with remote employees to consider about their potential exposure to lawsuits in remote jurisdictions. 

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