Landon Ascheman is one of those attorneys who always seems to be on the move. It’s not too far from the truth. He is an active member of the Hennepin County Bar Association, the Ramsey County Bar Association, and the Minnesota State Bar Association. He practices criminal defense all over the state, and he can usually be found at an open-water swim race on the weekends.
Ascheman currently co-chairs the HCBA Criminal Law Section and serves on the HCBA Board of Directors. He also participates in the association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service and serves as a volunteer attorney for the Misdemeanor Defense Project.
Ascheman dove right into volunteering with the HCBA. He views it as a chance to give back to the legal community. “I take the extra time I’ve got in between clients and come and do whatever they need me to do,” he said.
As co-chair of the Criminal Law Section, Ascheman likes promoting discussion between practitioners. “It tends to be a lot of talking back and forth about what's working in courts, what's not working in courts, what are some of the problems we're running into,” said Ascheman. “You get a lot of communication back and forth between the courtroom and the bar associations.”
Ascheman hung his shingle in 2009. He had been clerking at the Hennepin County Attorney’s office and was in the running for an assistant county attorney position, but after the 2009 recession, the prospects turned dim. He, along with a law partner, started their own firm. Ascheman stated that, “we decided that we were not going to sit around and just send out applications for jobs when we could actually do work.”
Practicing as a criminal defense attorney gives Ascheman a perspective that the public usually doesn’t get to see, “That’s the kind of thing you don’t get in a Law & Order type show...You don’t get the background, what people are going through, what led them up to that.”
Ascheman also enjoys helping a client who genuinely wants to change. “I get to work with them to try and improve their life,” he said.
Ascheman takes a holistic view of his job. “My job is not just to make sure that they’re taken care of in court, that their rights are protected, but also to make sure that they get on the right track.”
Outside of his professional life, Ascheman literally likes to just keep swimming. He competes in numerous open water races every year with the Minnesota Masters swimming program. He recently competed in the Point to LaPointe swim in Lake Superior. “It’s just a lot of fun. I just got hooked on it,” he said.
He is also the only Minnesotan who has completed an International Ice Swimming Association-certified Ice Mile. Ascheman endured through single-digit temperatures at Square Lake in Washington County. He credits his hobby for helping him stay motivated with his job. “Just about every fantastic attorney that I know has a crazy passion about something,” he said. “I think for my sanity’s sake, I need to have something crazy in addition to the law.”