Minneapolis, MN family law attorney Ruta Johnsen talks about her background as a lawyer including immigrating to the U.S..
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Well, I was born and grew up in Lithuania and spent up to about my 17th birthday in Lithuania growing up. Then, moved to the U.S. by way of Alaska, where I spent quite a lot of time there, too. Being born in Lithuania and going through the immigration process coming to the U.S. and then later, about a couple years ago, going through the naturalization process has really helped me understand some of the clients that I work with, especially those who have maybe an uncertain immigration status or are not sure how their immigration status might affect their case.
Prior to going to law school, I was a juvenile probation officer in Alaska. I find my experience doing juvenile probation work very helpful to what I do now, most specifically because it taught me how to work within a team, look at different options for what is happening with a particular problem. So, just like when I worked with juveniles who were experiencing issues, now I can apply my past experience understanding family dynamics, understanding personality issues, understanding of mental health and substance abuse issues to family dynamics and family systems.
As a lawyer, I try to look at every situation as an opportunity to solve a problem. When I meet with a client, I want to be very clear that both of us understand what our goals are. What does this person want to accomplish? How would they like to see their future? What kind of a relationship would they like to have with their children? And from that starting point, we will develop a plan to move forward through their case.