GREG BUCHER is a native of southwest Minnesota. After graduating from Southwest State University (now Southwest Minnesota State University) he worked several years in agricultural equipment finance. He obtained his J.D. from William Mitchell in 1999, and eventually escaped the Twin Cities metro area to join Stoneberg, Giles & Stroup, P.A. in 2005. Greg, his wife Lisa, and their three daughters live in Marshall, Minnesota.
Tell us about your work before beginning the practice of law and what led you to change your career path.
I graduated with a degree in agribusiness during the height of the farm crisis in the 1980s. I was fortunate to remain involved with the agriculture industry by working at Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation. In college I became interested in the practice of law. This interest continued after working in various credit and distressed-credit positions at FCL. After obtaining my law degree, I continued to work in a corporate environment for several years but became increasingly interested in private practice. The move to SGS provided that opportunity while also allowing us to relocate our family closer to Lisa’s parents and my parents.
What aspects of your work are particularly satisfying?
I really enjoy the diversity of a rural practice. I have what I believe to be a typical general practice, which frequently includes issues involving agricultural and agribusiness law, business formation and organization, debtor-creditor and work-outs for financial institutions, real estate and land use, secured transactions, estate planning and probate, and even public drainage. I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of my practice and I enjoy the collegiality among rural attorneys. SGS has a strong regional presence that provides opportunities to be involved in many interesting and significant projects and to also appear in the district courts in many of the surrounding counties.
How do you address challenges in your practice?
My challenges are typical to a small firm generalist practice: prioritizing projects, managing interruptions, and providing a competent and timely work product. Flexibility and strong time management are critical. That said, there is little substitute for hard work. I am fortunate to work with five other attorneys. We have a very collegial working environment that provides the opportunity, when necessary, to get other perspectives on an issue.
You serve as chair of the MSBA Agricultural and Rural Law Section. What issues are important to the section?
I have been involved with the Agricultural and Rural Law Section for many years. I am honored to have served as chair of the section for the past two years. Current issues important to the section include: environmental issues involving water quality, implementation of buffer strip legislation, and the development and use of GMO crops and attendant pesticides; producer finance quality issues due to ongoing low commodity prices; the ongoing debate over immigration policy and its effects on various ag production and ag processing entities; and the difficulty of attracting or recruiting new attorneys to join rural firms.
What would you like to tell a young attorney who is considering practicing law in greater Minnesota?
A rural practice can be extremely rewarding. You will have opportunities to be involved in a wider variety of projects (i.e. types of legal issues and financial scope) much earlier in your career. The same goes for direct client interaction and courtroom work. You will be quickly helping real people resolve legal problems. If you develop a reputation for competent and efficient results, there will be no shortage of work. In addition there are many opportunities for community involvement and leadership. Currently there are many rural practice opportunities, particularly in the southwest area of the state, as attorneys who are nearing retirement look to transition their practice to the next generation.