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Colleague Corner: Meet Samuel Edmunds

‘We are blessed to be members of this honorable profession’

 

Samuel-J.-EdmundsSAMUEL EDMUNDS is a criminal defense lawyer. He represents clients in criminal cases ranging from misdemeanor to homicide throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, and he is a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist. Samuel is a former chair of the MSBA New Lawyers Section, chair of the MSBA’s Practice Management and Marketing Section, and chair of the Elections and Appointments Committee, and he is a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates. Outside the organized bar, Samuel has been inducted into the membership of both the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice and the Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers of Minnesota, and he is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 

Why did you go to law school? 

Politics. In college I was a student leader. I wanted to give back and to help my fellow classmates with the challenges that they were facing. I was elected as student body president and then chair of the statewide nonprofit student association. I lobbied frequently at the state legislature and in Washington D.C. I quickly learned that many of the most successful politicians were lawyers. So law school became the natural next step. I didn’t know at the time that I’d soon fall in love with being a criminal defense attorney, and with helping people with the challenges that they are facing. 

What’s the best advice you ever got? 

Ever since grade school, my father would frequently tell me to “show up.” He tried to instill in me the idea that those who show up will end up being the most successful. I took those words to heart throughout school, college, and law school, and now to this day as a practicing attorney. His words have always proven to be true. I’ve brought that same advice into my professional work as a lawyer and I have found success through showing up to bar association meetings and events, other professional activities, Supreme Court board meetings, etc. 

How has the pandemic changed your practice? 

We are private practice attorneys at Sieben Edmunds Miller PLLC. Our practice areas include criminal defense and personal injury litigation. The early months of the pandemic brought a significant slowdown. Lucky for us, however, during the latter part of 2020 we have seen our practice thrive once again. More importantly, the pandemic has forced us to get creative. We aren’t meeting clients in person. We are not going to the courthouses. We cannot meet other lawyers at the bar association. Instead, we’ve found ways to use technology to continue all of the important parts of our work, including video conferencing, online scheduling, virtual court appearances, and remote lunches or happy hours. 

You’ve been involved in volunteer work for the bar for many years and in numerous capacities. Why? What do you get out of it? 

There are three answers to this. First, I feel that all of us lawyers have a professional obligation to give back. We are blessed to be members of this honorable profession. Membership in the bar is coveted by many but achieved by few. As lawyers, we should all contribute to making sure that our honorable profession remains honorable. And we can do that through the various bar associations, lawyer organizations, and boards and committees, and through outreach outside the legal community. 

Second, the bar association is fun. I met many of my best friends during my early days in the New Lawyers Section of the MSBA. Bar association work gives me the chance to leave my day-to-day law practice for a short time and to engage with other lawyers who are facing the same challenges that I face. 

Last, and no less important, the bar associations have been key to my success as a small firm lawyer. At every meeting or event, I’m in a room with a group of lawyers who don’t do what I do. Cultivating those relationships has turned out to be my number one source of business as a criminal defense lawyer. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working?  

I’m lucky to have the best wife and five kids that I could ever hope for. They are the reason that I do all the rest of this. I’m also a golfer, a scuba diver, and downhill skier, when I find the time. In earlier times, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to scuba dive in places like Honduras, Vietnam, St. Thomas, and many others. Now, I try to start my kids off early in skiing or golfing, hoping that they’ll find the same enjoyment that I do as they get older.