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Jennifer Williams
President, Young Lawyers Section

September 2014, President's Message

The past two months I have shared with you the programs and events the Young Lawyers Section intends to accomplish this year. I have also challenged you to get involved and to reach out to your YL Circuit Representatives. But how can you do that if you do not know who they are? Sure, you can read the list of names in the Bar Newsletter. Really, though, aren’t pictures and questions a better way to get to know them!? To help you learn why YOU should take the time to reach out to them, to get involved in what they are doing, and to help us make this a stellar year of participation in the Young Lawyers Section, I asked Kylie Riggins (7th Circuit), Jason Krause (2nd Circuit), and Josh Finer (5th Circuit) to answer the following questions. (p.s. See you at the Nuts & Bolts CLE and the Swearing-In Ceremony on October 10, in Pierre.)

Kylie Riggins
Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board? I initially ran for the Young Lawyers Board at the request of another young lawyer. I was honored that a fellow member of the Bar had the faith in my abilities to think of me. I have continued on the Young Lawyers Board because it is a lot of fun to work with members when working to achieve the goals established.

What do you want to do for the young lawyers in your Circuit? My goal as the Young Lawyer Representative for the 7th Circuit is to serve as a liaison and a resource to all lawyers “young” and “seasoned.” I strive to serve the younger lawyers by matching them with mentors, either giving or directing them to advice/assistance and resources, whether the request is professional or personal in nature, and being available as a sounding board when needed. I hope to meet the needs of the more “seasoned” lawyers by serving as a liaison to the young lawyers that they observe and strive to support in their areas of practice.

What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share? I am the mother of the two most amazing little boys who currently want nothing more than to compete on the television show American Ninja Warriors! So much fun!

Jason K. W. Krause
Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board? As a third year law student, I had the privilege of serving on the Board, albeit in a limited capacity, as the Law School Representative. In fairness, the Board was stuck with me because I was the school’s SBA President. Seeing young professionals interact in such a positive fashion was very enlightening. As adversarial as the profession can be, it was refreshing to see young lawyers promoting, and exhibiting, a heightened sense of civility. When I heard there was an opening on the Board, running for the seat was an absolute no-brainer.

What do you want to do for the young lawyers in your Circuit? I want to share the Young Lawyers Board’s general sense of professionalism while attempting to communicate the Board’s business and goals effectively. In particular, making sure that the young lawyers of the 2nd Circuit are able, should they desire, to utilize me as a conduit to present their thoughts and concerns to both the Board and the State Bar as a whole.

What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share? I’m just about as boring as they come, but I do truly believe that Robbie Rohl may be one of the most exciting human beings of all time. If you’re looking to have fun, you need to talk to Robbie Rohl.

Josh Finer
Why did you decide to be part of the Young Lawyers Board? When the position became available in the 5th Circuit, one of the partners in my firm approached me about it due to her past experiences on the Board. At first, I was a little hesitant because I didn’t want to commit to too much outside of my practice as a first year associate. However, after I spoke with her about what it entailed, I decided to run for the position. Once I found out the great things the Young Lawyers Section does for the State Bar, it was a no-brainer. I think it is important for young lawyers, not just in the 5th Circuit, but in all circuits to take advantage of the great opportunities the Young Lawyers Section provides. Everything from the Mentorship Mixers to the databases we are creating for Project Rural Practice; it’s all geared towards helping young attorneys in South Dakota. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

What do you want to do for the young lawyers in your Circuit? One of the things I want to really focus on in the 5th Circuit is helping young lawyers feel comfortable being an attorney. As I transition into my second year of practice, I am by no means an expert in anything, but I think it’s important to let young lawyers know that it’s a job they’re capable of doing. I truly believe that hosting things like Mentorship Mixers gives young lawyers the opportunity to see just how normal most attorneys are outside of the office. It also creates opportunities to connect with each other on a different level away from a courtroom. If a young lawyer, or even a veteran lawyer, has questions about anything the Young Lawyers Section is doing, please don’t hesitate to contact me. That’s why I’m here.

What is one random fact about you that you have been dying to share? I absolutely hate running unless it involves a lot of mud and obstacles. I find it absolutely impossible to go pound pavement for mile after mile. However, when you add in the aspects of mud, obstacles, and team camaraderie, one seems to go beyond their limits. I’ve had the opportunity to run multiple Tough Mudders, an Urbanathlon, etc., and feel it’s a great way for people to let loose. Getting exercise is important for everyone, especially attorneys, due to our elevated stress levels. If you hate running like I do, train for something that is different from everything else. Once you do one of these styles of races, you’ll have to do another. It’s almost an addiction.

Cheers until next mont!

Jennifer Williams


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Practice Pointer for all Attorneys: Never Stop Learning, the Law is Not Static and Neither Should We Be
Written by: Jennifer Goldammer

Having started my legal career as a law clerk, I assumed, wrongly, that I would always remember the first murder trial I sat through, or some of the high profile cases that I was able to witness and see from the judges’ perspectives. Imagine my surprise when four years later one of the moments that has had the biggest impact on my career was a routine motion hearing within the first two weeks of my clerkship. The moving party made a fairly strong (sounding) argument and continuously referred to a statute to support their position. Opposing counsel made an argument that to me sounded as though the parties were talking about two different cases. At the end of opposing counsel’s argument, he ended with one simple comment to the moving party; “check the pocket part.”

The reason that was so impactful is because it goes to the heart of every attorney’s practice. Know the law. Opposing counsel prevailed because the statute had changed in such a minor way that the moving party failed to realize that their position was no longer in line with statutory authority. For the rest of my clerkship, on a monthly basis, a judge that I highly respect told me “Know your authority, read the statutes and cases that relate to your practice and never stop learning.” I’ve taken that advice to heart and have discovered that it isn’t enough to read the statutes once or twice and assume that I know what they say. The simplest practice pointer I may have ever received has proven to be one of the most invaluable. Know the law. Read the statutes that are applicable to your cases. Make time to read new cases that relate to your chosen practice areas. Never stop learning, you never know when the pocket part can make or break your case.

About Jennifer:  After completing her one year clerkship for the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Jennifer moved to Brookings and is an attorney at Ribstein & Hogan Law Firm, Brookings, SD. She primarily practices in the areas of family law, criminal law, civil litigation and estate planning. 


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