Colleague Corner: Meet Kojo Addo

‘A direct and positive effect on people’s lives’

Kojo-Addo-300KOJO ADDO is a personal injury trial lawyer at Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben PA. He started at the firm as a law clerk in 2015 and became an attorney there in October 2017. Kojo has always had a heart for people and takes pride in helping injured people and their families navigate complicated legal and insurance processes. Kojo also serves on the Mitchell Hamline Alumni Board and MSBA New Lawyers Section Committee.


Why did you go to law school? 

From a young age I knew I wanted to pursue a vocation in which I had a direct and positive effect on people’s lives. Being a lawyer, though, was not the original plan. My plan was to be a doctor. However, that pursuit changed after realizing that chemistry was not my strong suit. As I progressed through undergrad as a communication studies major and management minor (categorically the opposite of chemistry), I recognized that my skills were geared toward advocacy and consensus building. So getting into law school to become a lawyer was my opportunity to bridge my purpose with a set of skills that seemed to come natural to me.

What’s the best professional advice you ever received? 

The best professional advice I have received came from a good friend a few years ago and it had to do with life in general; it was that “you are human after all.” This short reminder has allowed me take chances, make mistakes, and grow as a person and a lawyer with the understanding that being a lawyer is just a part of my life and not life itself.

Why did you choose to pursue a personal injury practice?

I chose to practice personal injury law because the work is fulfilling and it is an area of law where I know I can be effective. After my first year of law school, I had the opportunity to clerk at Schwebel Goetz & Sieben, the firm I practice at now. As a summer clerk, I provided support on variety of personal injuries case—from large catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases to soft-tissue cases. I recognized that no matter the severity of the case, our clients contact our firm because they need our help and know that we can be an advocate for them; and no matter the severity of the case, the attorneys and staff at the firm put forth their best effort to ensure reasonable and fair compensation for the loss the clients have suffered. At the end of that summer, I knew very clearly what area of law I wanted to practice, the clients I wanted to help, and the people I wanted to work with.

You’re the networking and engagement committee co-chair for the New Lawyers Section. Kind of a tough year to take that on, isn’t it? Why did you choose that committee?

I agreed to serve as chair of the networking and engagement committee of the New Lawyers Section of the MSBA because I recognize the importance of creating a space where we as lawyers can come together, unwind, and talk candidly about the practice and the effects it has on our lives—while having some fun too. Being the chair of this committee has proven to be a bit of a challenge during a pandemic. However, the committee will not allow a pandemic to prevent the Section from meeting, even if it means connecting via Zoom, having a few cocktails, and carving pumpkins virtually (we are actually doing this, by the way)! This year has taught us the importance of interpersonal connection. It has forced the committee members and myself to think outside the box of conventional networking events and to create meaningful interactions with our members in new ways. 

If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what do you think you would have done for a living?

If I hadn’t become a lawyer, I would probably do something in the restaurant industry. I think it would be awesome to set menus for restaurants or critique food for a living. The other option would be to move to one of the Carolinas and learn to become a barbecue pit master. Food is life; never forget that. I don’t plan on leaving private practice anytime soon, so for now it’s pizza Fridays, pre-cooked ribs, and hotdogs for me! 

What do you like to do in your off-work time?

When I’m not working, you can find me catching up on a Netflix or Amazon series, trying a new recipe, playing a round of golf, or wondering why I’m still a Minnesota Vikings fan. 


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