The most prestigious positions are not always the ones that help you most in your career. Michael Kreun, chair of the HCBA Real Property Section, learned that firsthand.
After graduating from the University of North Dakota, Kreun did not know where he wanted to focus his practice. He had some experience with civil litigation after clerking for the Grand Forks firm of Camrud, Maddock, Olson & Larson, but he did not have much luck finding a job after moving to the Twin Cities with his family.
“I probably applied to every single firm that did civil litigation down here and didn't get an interview at any of them,” he said.
Kreun decided to apply for a judicial clerkship in the 10th District Court. While it was not his first choice to continue his legal career ladder, he gained valuable career experience while working there. “I was fortunate enough to work for a judge that had been on the bench for a long time,” said Kreun.
Working for Judge Edward Bearse gave Kreun experience in a variety of areas. "When you're clerking in Anoka County you do everything basically that a judge does,” said Kreun.
He worked on a number of jury trials where he wrote jury instructions, first drafts, findings of fact, resulting orders, and other court documents. He loved being able to have a hand in different aspects of the law.
After working on a bench trial that involved a real estate issue, he thought about it as a potential career path.
“I spent a lot of time crafting the resulting order, of course, the judge made the decision and told me his general thoughts after the trial, but I had an opportunity to flesh all of that out. I thought that was a really neat experience and it got me into thinking about real estate even more,” he said.
Coincidentally, his future boss, Kevin Dunlevy, presented a CLE to the 10th Judicial District law clerks. “I didn't think I would end up working for him someday, but it got me thinking about real estate,” Kreun said.
He eventually landed at Beisel & Dunlevy, where he is now a partner. He became chair of the Real Property Section in 2014. Now leading one of the bar’s more active sections, Kreun wanted to make sure the section remained lively. He’s organized a full slate of CLE’s and organized collaboration with the Family Law Section.
Kreun’s advice is to take the opportunities that come to you, especially if they involve clerking. “You'll get exposed to almost everything. After a year of doing that, you'll have a pretty good idea of what you like and what you don't like. That would be my advice…That time clerking really helped me figure out what I wanted to do,” he said.