Interview with Kimberly Brzezinski
Date: April 13, 2012
Name: Kimberly (Dunbar) Brzezinski
Major, minor, and graduation year: Mass Communications with Spanish and Sports Management Minors, graduated in December of 2004.
Job Title: Associate Attorney.
Organization/ Place of work: Andresen & Butterworth, P.A.
You're an Associate Attorney, what does that entail? What are your duties or responsibilities?
-Helping clients solve legal problems as efficiently and creatively as possible.I represent clients in transactional work as well as litigation, primarily in the area of real estate.
What are the highlights of your job that you enjoy most?
-Helping clients solve problems so they are able to have peace of mind.Many of my clients are involved in dispute with neighbors over access or boundary lines, which can make every day life quite difficult.Assisting those clients as efficiently as possible helps my clients get back to a sense of normalcy.
What are the challenges that you face with your job that are not enjoyable?
-Dealing with opposing counsel (and unfortunately sometimes clients) that are difficult and are not approaching the situation with compromise and coming to an amicable resolution in mind.
How do you spend your work days? Do you spend a lot of time office/lab/meetings/outside/___?
-My work days are largely spent in the office drafting documents and/or meeting with clients.I am in Court one or two times a week.
How did this type of job/field interest you and how did you get started?
-I wanted a field that would provide financial security but also be challenging and provide an opportunity to help people during their time of need.I clerked for a law firm in Duluth while I was attending UW-Superior, which provided me an opportunity to see what the practice of law was all about.
What qualifications did you need to obtain this job?
-Because this position involves litigation, it is necessary to have excellent communication skills (both oral and written), as well as the confidence to know that you are properly prepared to perform the necessary tasks.
What personal qualities or abilities do you believe contribute most to success in this job/field?
-I am outgoing and have been described as a leader.I was a member and captain of the UW-Superior Volleyball team, which provided me an opportunity to learn leadership skills and responsibility.
What organizations were you involved in College that helped you towards your career?
- I was involved in volleyball.
What degree/s is appropriate for this line of work?
-Communication is critical to this position.Most people think that legal studies or criminal justice degrees are necessary to be an attorney, but I believe that having formal training in communications gave me a critical advantage over others in my field.
Where and/or what do you hope to be in 2-5 years? 5-10 years? What are the keys to this career advancement?
-ability to communicate effectively with clients, co-workers, and others in the legal field are necessary to career advancement I would like to be a partner practicing real estate law.Good networking skills and the.
What was the best piece of advice you received and from who that helped you towards your career?
-The best piece of advice that I received was from one of the partners at my current firm.I was told to get involved in everything I could and to establish myself as an expert in my field.I recently passed an exam offered by the Minnesota State Bar Association that will allow me to be considered a Real Property Law Specialist, which is a designation earned by very few attorneys.
Do you have any advice or "words from experience" for a college student interested in this job/field?
-You have to be willing to dedicate yourself and work hard.Any practical legal experience you can gain during college is priceless.
If you knew all this back in college, what would you say were the most important classes? Is there anything you would have paid more attention to? Any additional classes you would have taken?
-I would have enrolled in more public speaking and negotiation-related courses.
In college, people claim that a bachelor's degree isn't enough anymore and that you need a master's or doctorate degree to get your foot in the door. What's your opinion?
-To be an attorney, any 4-year degree will provide the basis for enrollment into law school.To practice law in the State of Minnesota, a Juris doctorate is required.If you intend to open your own firm (or even if you plan to be a partner someday which is the goal of most private-sector attorneys), I would suggest looking into a dual Juris doctorate/MBA program to learn the "business side" of running a law practice.