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Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Meet Lisa Kallemeyn: ‘Tech has made all the difference’

LISA KALLEMEYN has been exclusively practicing family law and ADR for more than 23 years. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and the American Bar Foundation. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis and Judicare of Anoka County and is the Anoka County delegate to the MSBA. She has had a law practice with her husband, Charles Kallemeyn, a real estate and probate attorney, since 1996. They have two children, Sarah, 26, and Garret, 21.

 

What do you value in your practice?

Practicing on my own has given me flexibility to change my schedule to meet parenting needs when the kids were younger and now to meet various professional and volunteer obligations.

Tell us about your work as an early neutral evaluator and qualified neutral under Rule 114.

I’ve been able to leverage my litigation experience into helping people resolve their family-related cases in an ADR format. I came to the mediation practice as a member of Anoka County’s ENE steering committee—we trained as mediators and as early neutral evaluators, so my mediation practice does tend towards evaluative. About half my practice is ADR, whether mediations, ENEs, or parenting consulting/expediting.

What aspects of your practice are particularly challenging and what resources help you meet those challenges?

I am essentially a sole practitioner because my partner’s and my practice are so different, but I do use him for probate and real estate questions. I find my biggest resources are the colleague relationships I’ve developed over the years. My schedule would not sustain a practice group, but I still rely on a small group of colleagues with whom I can share questions and voice concerns.

You are a member of the MSBA Legislative Committee and the Anoka County Bar Association, and you are an Anoka County representative to the MSBA Assembly. What value
do you find in those activities?

I like being part of organizations that influence law and legislation. As a family law attorney, I have represented both sides of all major issues, so it is helpful to see legislation as it is presented and have a voice in what the bar association says about it. I also enjoy meeting colleagues in a professional environment.

Do you have any advice for a new lawyer who is interested in practicing family law?

Join the Family Law Section of the MSBA and attend the Saturday meetings. Read the listserv. Join other professional organizations and use them to find mentors. Expect to make mistakes and learn from them.

Where do you see the practice of law heading in the future, particularly for the small firm practitioner?

Technology has made all the difference. In law school, we were told that it would cost $30,000 (in 1984 dollars) for the first year of a law practice because of staff, office rent, and library requirements. Now, membership in the MSBA provides access to forms, colleagues, and legal research resources for the price of membership, and virtual offices and/or receptionists are available for a small monthly fee. On the flip side, technology has allowed clients access to their own forms and legal resources, which means we will be viewed more as a luxury than a necessity, and we will have to be nimble enough to assure that our clients are aware of our value. This may mean more face-to-face interactions, more frequent case updates, and more availability above and beyond the typical 9-5 workday.

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