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HCBA Past-President's Kim Lowe's Blog 2015-16
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Kim Lowe served as the 2015-2016 HCBA President. Views expressed here are her own.


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Law Schools and Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Posted By HCBA President Kimberly A. Lowe, Monday, August 10, 2015

Is there anything more to say than “Zombies?”

By way of full disclosure, I am an avid reader outside of my job as a lawyer.  And I LOVE dystopian or apocalyptic fiction.  While I’ve read everything from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road  to Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, my favorite apocalyptic instigators are either zombies or vampires (a zompire).  I am eagerly awaiting Justin Cronin’s City of Mirrors (the 3rd book in The Passage series).  Can there be a more powerful symbol than an insatiable monster that either sucks your blood or eats your brains and in the process creates another monster that sucks blood or eats brains?  In zombie or vampire fiction there are clear good guys and bad guys and the moral frame of “blame” is removed from the discussion.  While my taste in fiction must be fascinating, zompire apocalyptic fiction is really just an allegory framework to examine social order and survival after a devastating event.

Law schools (as well as the legal profession) are arguably in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse.  A force as insatiable as a zombie horde has decimated the legal hiring machine, leaving a multitude of law grads economically strapped with mighty debt loads [] at the same time killing many would-be law students or turning would-be law students into a completely different species (law students who are demanding a different outcome for their tuition dollars) [].  Well, this might be taking the metaphor too far.

Regardless, law schools across the country are faced with a new "world order" and our law schools have not been immune from this apocalypse. And those of us "established" in the legal profession do not have the luxury of ignoring this apocalypse. The legal profession is multidimensional and layered, so none of us can just look at our own practice or firm or personal balance sheet and say "Thank goodness the Zombie Apocalypse missed my house."

Even if you have not been directly impacted by this apocalypse, we are all to be witnesses as to how law schools are creatively surviving and rebuilding with the combined Mitchell Hamline School of Law.  If you are a graduate of either of these constituent schools, I can appreciate your grief at the loss of Your Law School.  You, too, have been a partial victim of a Zombie Apocalypse. But truly, the members of our legal community who need our consideration are the current and incoming classes of the two schools. Since the ABA was not able to approve the combination in time for fall classes, the first year classes will start separately while upper level students will shuttle between the two schools until the ABA approves the combination.  Regardless of preparation, there is no way this year is going to be easy for any professor, administrator or student involved.

No matter your role in our legal community, it is incumbent on all of us to do our part to support the combined school and its students. Let’s help them survive and prosper after a Zombie Apocalypse.

Tags:  Law Schools  President  Zombie 

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Take that bag (or lampshade) off your head!

Posted By HCBA President Kimberly A. Lowe, Monday, August 3, 2015
I'm talking to YOU this week (and YOU have a bag or lampshade on your social media head) if:

   YOU don't have a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (or some other newly trending social media account (a "Social Media Account"));

   YOU have a Social Media Account but you do not have a headshot on your account.  FYI: when you network in person you don't walk around with a bag on your head;

   YOU have a Social Media Account but you do not have a professional brand appropriate headshot.  FYI: the world needs to know what you look like NOW and in your professional capacity.  This is not online dating where you are hiding a bad comb-over or 25 extra pounds -- this is your professional image and brand.  Confession: I'm guilty of using a "skinnier" headshot for some Social Media Accounts;

   YOU use your personal Facebook account for your professional networking or professional branding activity but your Facebook account includes personal pictures, images, posts or information that may negatively reflect on your professional brand (you are so drunk you have a lampshade or the modern equivalent on your head).  Confession: I'm a YOU since my cats, dogs and nephew show up once in a while on Facebook);

   YOU use your real name and email address on your account (or some other online dating account) along with the same picture you use for your professional Social Media Account.  Hint: This is joke; or

   YOU think social media is for kids. 


Yes.  This blog is about social media. Or more importantly, why social media coaching is important to every lawyer's (or law student's) professional and practice development (if you are a law student -- getting a job!) regardless of where you are in your professional life cycle and regardless of whether or not you actively engage with social media for professional development.


A few facts: 

   Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 20 years, you have some sort of online presence -- personal or professional. 

   That online presence, whether you like it or not, is "public" and people with whom you interact or want to interact with professionally will seek out your online presence to figure out what you are all about, regardless of whether or not you are active in social media. 


Let's put this in context.  I Google every person (even if that person is part of a group -- Google is free so I search everyone in the group) or business owner and/or business who contacts me for legal assistance AND every lawyer with whom I interact with professionally.  A word about lawyers.  Without fail, unless a lawyer works for a governmental agency, there is some sort of website (with a picture) or other online presence or resource that provides me with at least minimal details about who this person is and what I can expect while dealing with this person. 


Here comes the blatant promotion. Your online presence really matters and social media exists whether you like it or not. Look to your bar association for some practical resources that can help you get that social media bag or lampshade off your head. Welcome to the modern age of the practice of law. 

Tags:  Networking  President  Social Media 

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You Can't Handle the Truth

Posted By HCBA President Kimberly A. Lowe, Monday, July 27, 2015

For many, this famous line from Aaron Sorkin's A Few Good Men forcefully spat out by Jack Nicholson while being examined by Navy lawyer Tom Cruise embodies the dynamic and powerful role of the lawyer in the adversarial system -- the warrior seeking and forcing the villain to blurt out the truth so that justice can be served.  Watch and appreciate both the acting and the great script:


While fantastic and impactful, this line was uttered not by a real witness responding to questioning by a real lawyer but by an actor who was playing a role.  We have all seen Jack and Tom in other roles.  Some good, some bad.  Ironically, I saw the play A Few Good Men performed on Broadway several years before the movie came out.  Timothy Busfield played the Tom Cruise role while Ron Perlmen played the Jack Nicholson role (I cannot even recall the names of the characters, just the actors who played the roles).  I thought the line and the scene immortalized by Jack and Tom was just as great the first time I saw it, but then I also liked Ron Perlman as Hellboy (in both movies and hopefully a third) and I just saw Timothy Busfield kissing Melissa Gilbert (yes, Laura Ingalls Wilder!) in the Austin, Texas airport in May. 


Movies (or plays) are just movies (or plays) and actors are just people performing roles.  Actors, no matter how iconic a single performance may be, play roles. Many different roles.   And guess what, so do lawyers.  While many (I might even guess most) of us went to law school because we aspired to be the truth seeking warrior who wrangles the evil bad guy into admitting the truth with our wit and verbal dexterity, most of us as lawyers play very different roles within the legal and economic system.  


I can handle the truth.  I'm not a legal warrior.  I'm a transactional lawyer.  There is no "T" emblazoned on a spandex super-suit that I hide under my dress and cardigan.  While I’m not a super hero (or even a Super Lawyer) I do rush to the call for "Help!" from my clients.  I just don’t do so in a court room and most of what I do does not involve dramatic scenes enacted in a courtroom.  Instead I'm just a steady-as-you-go specialized lawyer who assists my clients through the ever more complicated tangle of legal and tax regulations imposed on businesses of all kinds.  That is the role I play in our legal system. 


The truth is that while most of us went to law school planning to be the fictional lawyers who populate books and films, we became the lawyers who make up the complex but beautiful quilt that is the Hennepin County bar.  All of us play an equally important role within the legal and economic justice system even if we cannot make Jack Nicholson admit the truth.


What role do you play in the legal system? 


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Tags:  Movies  President  Transactional Lawyer 

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"Off with Their Heads!"

Posted By HCBA President Kimberly A. Lowe, Monday, July 20, 2015
Updated: Monday, July 20, 2015

Okay, so now that I have your attention, let’s talk about golf and how it fits (or does not fit) within the profession, the practice and/or the business of law.  And before you read any further, yes, you can ask how does the Queen of Hearts famous utterance from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland relate to golf?  Well, it doesn’t except that this is the refrain I utter to myself during my pre-shot routine.  I take two practice swings at the right tempo -- just sweeping across the top of the grass without hitting into the grass or failing to make contact with the grass –- before I hit the ball.  OFF-WITH-THEIR-HEADS allows me to keep my tempo while I visualize just taking the heads off of the grass soldiers with whom I am battling.  If you want to see for yourself, watch this clip:

How does the game of golf connect to the legal profession?  Georgia State Bar President Robin Frazer Clark penned a wonderful article about the rules of golf and the profession entitled All I Really Know About Professionalism I Learned in Golf (

How does the game of golf connect to the practice of law?  Well, if you practice law in the Twin Cities long enough, you will be asked to participate in a golf event.  For example, the Hennepin County Bar Foundation is holding its annual Charity Golf Classic on August 10 (  This is one of the HCBF’s primary fundraisers.  But who really golfs at these events and why?  I will be interested in seeing the demographics (age, gender and practice area) of our attendees.  I hope to see you there.

So beyond witty discussions on how the game of golf has lessons for professionalism and fundraising, how important is golf to lawyers?  Do all lawyers need to golf to be successful in law?  Of course not!  Golf is a game, not a skill required to provide legal services to our clients.

But let’s face it.  Golf (and the ability to play it competently) is a game that comes in handy with respect to the business of law.  I did not take up golf until I was 31 years old and 3 years into my legal career.  I took up golf for one reason: so that I could participate in golf events to build the economic aspects of my career.  I was passing up (or being passed over for) many opportunities to connect with my partners and peers as well as existing and potential clients because I could not golf.  This was not acceptable to me.  Here was a barrier to business development that I could change, so I did.  Fast forward to today and now I play golf frequently with friends, family, clients and fellow service providers.  I’m not a great golfer but I am competent enough to play with players of all levels comfortably.

What do you think about golf and how it does or does not interact with the profession, practice and business of law?  I would love to hear your experiences, thoughts and ideas.

Kim Lowe
President, HCBA


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Tags:  Golf  President 

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Please Send Cookies and Clean Socks

Posted By Kim Lowe, Monday, July 13, 2015
Mom and Dad, camp is great but please send cookies and clean socks. 

Wow, this is exactly how I feel as I reflect on my first full week as President of the HCBA.  There is just a lot to do and not enough time to do it all plus practice law plus enjoy glorious summer days in Minnesota, so cookies and clean socks would be helpful since cookies are inherently good and clean socks are a must when time is limited. 

While I had a busy first two weeks as President (with or without cookies) with many different activities, the highlight was clear.  On Friday I had the pleasure of a conference call with Scholastica Baker from Bowman and Brooke and Paul Dieseth from Dorsey & Whitney, two great lawyers and active HCBA member volunteers who I had the honor of appointing as the chairs of the HCBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. 

The three of us talked about the mission and goals of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and how this Committee’s important work fits within the broader structure of the HCBA.  Listening to Paul and Scholastica talk about their personal experiences and their individual and collective goals and ambitions for this Committee made me proud to be able to work with great lawyers who are passionately working towards bettering our profession and our Hennepin County bar.  This collective engagement by lawyer leaders towards the work of the HCBA and the profession is thrilling. 

Are there other ways we can all work together to tackle a goal?  I would love to hear your ideas.

And send cookies and clean socks.

Kim Lowe
President, HCBA


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Tags:  President 

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