Minneapolis, MN appeals lawyer Kay Nord Hunt answers a series of questions in this raw interview about her background and experience in her section of law.
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Interviewer: It must be a really fun area of practice. Were you ever a trial lawyer?
Kay Nord Hunt: It is. No. I second chaired one trial with John Lommen way back, but other than that, no. So – but you know, I’ve found over the years I probably know the rules of civil procedure and evidence as well as any trial lawyer because you’re always dealing with them on a different level. Yeah, so. I mean the part I like is the diversity. So like right now I’m dealing with a personal injury case. Next week I’ll argue in the Minnesota Supreme Court a tax case. And then the following week it’s a divorce –. I mean, you know, it just keeps switching on me, so. Yeah, so.
Interviewer: Where do you teach, by the way?
Kay Nord Hunt: St. Thomas, it’s called Lawyering Skills 3, it’s appellate advocacy, so.
Interviewer: You’re right down the street then.
Kay Nord Hunt: Yeah, otherwise I couldn’t do it, you know. But it’s kinda fun – it’s a lot of work but it’s kinda fun just getting away from lawyers to law students, and you see the distinction sometimes, you know.
Interviewer: Did you go to law school in Wisconsin?
Kay Nord Hunt: I went to Marquette.
Interviewer: Okay. And you clerked, you said, for the appellate court.
Kay Nord Hunt: Yeah, I clerked for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. My judge actually lost the election, that was right after I left, and then he got appointed to the federal district court bench, so he really won.
Interviewer: How did you end up in Minnesota?
Kay Nord Hunt: I’m from Minnesota, so I wanted to come back and I’d also clerked for – in law school I clerked for the Defense Research Institute, DRI, the insurance defense group, and so through there I had a lot of connections to insurance defense firms, and this firm was an insurance defense firm at that time. So I came back and they were looking for someone who could do a – they wanted – Phil Cole, actually, wanted a good written product and I guess I fit the bill. But what happened was the court of appeals did come into existence and it was just like, you know, the timing was great.
Interviewer: Yeah. One last question, of the appellate practice, which do you enjoy more, the writing or the actual presentation?
Kay Nord Hunt: I like the argument.
Interviewer: The argument _____ _____.
Kay Nord Hunt: Yeah, because there’s just something about trying to persuade the court. I’ve done a lot where I’ve judged arguments and I’ve judged with – you know, for students and you’ll have – sit with members of Minnesota Supreme Court A Circuit, and I’ve found that, you know, I actually like being on the other side better. It’s kinda like let me tell you.
Interviewer: Yeah, okay, I lied, I have one more question. How often do you get surprised with a question from the appellate judges?
Kay Nord Hunt: More often than I like, I guess. Not too often. I mean there’s times where I may have anticipated the question but I didn’t think we were gonna spend all our time over there, you know, where their focus is different than where I thought the focus should be. And part of it is – Paula Anderson used to complain that I’m always dragging ’em back, you know, to where I want to be, but, you know, that’s my job. Where I think they’re over here and, you know, don’t go over there, we want to be here.