The law firm of Rosengren Kohlmeyer, based in Mankato, has opened an office in St. James, and the four attorneys in the firm deal with criminal cases, family law, and workers' compensation.
Jason Kohlmeyer, who has been practicing since 2000 and specializes in family law and serious criminal defense, said he and Chris Rosengren started the Mankato firm in 2008. They landed here because they were looking to rent space in another location, and they were already spending multiple days each week in St. James.
“We had clearly identified St. James, and we wanted to establish a foothold in southern Minnesota,” Rosengren said. For now, office hours are by appointment, but the plan is to soon have a staff member and one attorney in St. James each day.
“(St. James) is a neat town,” Kohlmeyer said. “My favorite part is the smell of bacon.”
He actually interviewed for a job in St. James 13 years ago, but ultimately elected to remain in Mankato.
“This place seems to have grown,” he said. He and the other lawyers said their favorite spots so far have been the town's coffee shops and bakery.
Kohlmeyer attended Concordia College in his hometown of Moorhead before moving on to law school at Hamline University in St. Paul. He has three children, and his wife teaches special education in Mankato.
Of the four attorneys at the firm, Rosengren took the most circuitous route to becoming a lawyer. After graduating high school in Little Falls, he went into the U.S. Army, where he was airborne infantry. He also studied Russian and spent time stationed in Germany.
Following his tenure in the military, he received his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1998 and began on the prosecutorial side. He said he “wouldn't be an attorney if I wasn't in the Army.”
“I went into the Army because I was undecided, and I wanted to get life experience,” he explained. “I used the GI Bill to pay for law school.”
Because of that, he emerged from law school unburdened with the high debt typical of most students--a good thing, too, because he's a father of six. He estimated his workload is roughly a 60/40 split between workers' compensation cases and criminal law.
Tom Hagen--yes, he's heard hundreds of times he has the same name as the Corleone's lawyer played by Robert Duvall in “The Godfather” films--graduated Janesville High School in 2001, went to Mankato State University as an undergrad, and received his law degree from Ohio Northern. He became an attorney in 2007, and he deals primarily with criminal law.
“For lots of people, that's the only time they're in the legal system, and I like helping them through that,” said Hagen, who is married with one child. He's been with the firm since 2011.
Page 2 of 2 - The firm's newest addition is Roxanne Beranek, who has been with the group for only three months. Originally from New Ulm, she attended Minnesota State University, and then went to law school at Creighton University.
She wanted to be an attorney ever since junior high school, when she shadowed an attorney. Her main focus is family law, because she loves “helping people,” and she's been practicing since 2009.
While they take their work seriously, Kohlmeyer and Rosengren said they also like to have fun, and they try to promote a loose atmosphere in their practice that is less stodgy, buttoned-up, and gravely serious than many high-powered firms. For example, the three men at the firm ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, this summer.
The lawyers were officially welcomed to St. James December 4 by the town's salutators.
People can contact the firm, and connect with them via Twitter and Facebook, through their website: notguiltyminnesota.com