Who am I?
My name is Chris and I love what I do. I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small business. Many families have a small business that is vital to their personal and financial well being and I want to ensure that the business is protected and can run smoothly.
I have the experience to help you both as an attorney and as the mother of a young daughter. And as someone who has navigated the legal system both as an advocate for families and as a client going through the second-parent adoption process after my partner gave birth to our beautiful baby girl.
I am an attorney …
As an attorney I have represented clients in a variety of matters from small civil disputes to multi-million dollar litigation and from estate planning for both traditional and nontraditional couples to assisting suriviving heirs with the probate process. I volunteer my time drafting estate plans for firefighters and law enforcement officers through the Wills for Heroes clinics. I also work on The Collaboration Project, a group of representatives from the diversity bar associations across Minnesota that plans and coordinates events for youth to learn about the legal system.
I am uniquely qualified to handle the complex legal issues facing non-traditional families. Whether protecting your assets from a break-up, incapacity or death, I can assist you in making sure that you have the final say in who gets your property. If you are interested in my legal services, please contact me to set up an initial consultation.
I am more than just an attorney
I understand how stressful it can be to carefully plan a family and then worry about how to protect them if the unspeakable happens. I have been the nervous new parent testifying under oath during the hearing to adopt my daughter. Even though the day is a blur of emotions now, I do recall the Judge asking me to promise to provide for her “health, welfare and education.” Education? Who knew that was part of the deal? And how far do I need to take that? College? Medical School?
I am called “Mor” – pronounced more – by my daughter. My family is Danish and I grew up calling my grandmother Bedstemoder so it seemed a natural progression. Though it does cause some confusion when others call me Mom and my daughter says “I call her Mor.” Insert “more what” joke here. This may backfire when she’s a teenager.
I am a runner thanks to the couch to 5k program. I began by struggling to run 1 minute so I could reach the part where I got to walk for 1 1/2 minutes. But, nine weeks later I could run for 45 minutes with NO walking. Of course, the program assumes that I can complete a 5k in 30 minutes but I am a really slow runner and spend most of the time thinking to myself “don’t sit down.” So, if you lap a runner who looks like me, please offer encouragement or, better yet, shout “don’t sit down!”
Update: After a lot of hard work I've managed to reduce my pace from a 14 minute mile (barely running I know) to an 11:30 minute mile. I still haven't run a complete 5k yet. Soon!
Update #2: I did it! I completed my first 5k on August 11, 2012! I ran it in 38:38. I know that's slow for most but fast for me and I didn't come in last (122 out of 129). I have now registered for my second 5k at the end of September! I completed the second 5k with my best time ever but am now slogging through the LOOONG winter on a treadmill - it's just not the same.
Update #3: I receive a lot of feedback on the running part of my website so decided to keep updating it. On May 6, 2013 I ran the longest distance of my life - 6 miles - still at my slow pace but who cares. I'm actually striving for a 10k run now. Hopefully, in another few months I'll have an Update #4 that I completed a 10k.
I have done everything possible to protect my partner and daughter in the face of the worst case scenario of my incapacity or death. I know these issues both as an attorney and as a client.
I am here to help you
I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it. I understand the stress of relying on another to handle your most important matters, which is why I promise to respond to communications from clients within 48 hours. Not sure what estate planning is or what it's like to work with an estate planning law firm? If you are interested in my estate planning services, please read through the page entitled "The Planning Process" on this website to get a step-by-step explanation of what it's like to work with Unique Estate Law. You can also visit the "Testimonials" page to hear what clients have to say about working with me.
William Mitchell College of Law, J.D.
University of California, Santa Barbara, B.A. (Go ahead and ask..Why did I move to MN? - everyone does)
A Procedural Quagmire: How to Proceed with an Action in Minnesota When a Client Dies En Pendente Lite, 33 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 1175 (2007)
Choice Moms, LLC: Monthly columnist providing legal analysis on topics affecting single moms.
The Gay Estate: Writer and editor of award-winning blog addressing estate planning issues for the LGBT community.
Publications and Press
WestLegal CLE, 2013 Presenter, Same-Sex Marriage and Inheritance Rights: Moving toward Equality
Minnesota Lawyer 2012, interviewed and quoted on issue of same sex marriage and inheritance rights
Family Equality Council, 2012 Midwest (aka Rainbow Families) Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Money Matters, Protecting Your Legal and Financial Future
William Mitchell Alumni 2012 CLE Series: The Intersection of Estate Planning and Family Law
2012 Justice Esther M. Tomljanovich Tea for Women in Law Panel: Diverse Voices: Representing and Working with People from Different Cultures
2011 Family Equality Council, Midwest (aka Rainbow Families) Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Money Matters, Protecting Your Legal and Financial Future
Ramsey County Bar Association, 2010 St. Paul, Minnesota: Homophobia/Heterosexism/Sexual Stigma: An Exploration Through Experience, Listening and Talking
University of St. Thomas School of Law, 2010, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Does Size Matter? Understanding the Impact of Firm Size on Practice
As seen in The Women's Press
As heard on am950 radio
William Mitchell Alumni Board of Directors, Board Member
Med-Diet Laboratories, Inc., Board of Directors, Board Member
Burger Inns of Court, Member
The Woman's Club of Minneapolis, Member
Quorum, Vice President, Former Board Member
Rainbow Rumpus, Former Board Member
Federal Bar Association Diversity Committee
Minnesota State Bar Association Diversity Committee
Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, Former Board Member
Contact me now to protect your legal and financial future