Paul Dieseth can quickly recall the event that inspired him pursue a career in law: Watergate. The Dorsey & Whitney attorney remembers the important role that lawyers played in the hearings.
“It was a fascinating time for lawyers and what they did for the country,” Dieseth recalls while sipping a cup of coffee in the Parks meeting room at the HCBA office. After closely following the proceedings, the Fergus Falls native went on to earn a law degree from the University of Minnesota.
Dieseth became a trial attorney because he loved the adversarial nature of the field. “I love debate,” he said. His practice focuses on helping clients obtain cost-effective and successful resolution of commercial disputes.
It was in 2012 that he became active with the Hennepin County Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee. And it was another high-profile event that inspired him: the Minnesota Same-Sex marriage amendment.
Dieseth was opposed to the amendment and noticed that the committee was raising awareness about it. “The Diversity Committee was putting on events, both CLE’s and more informal after-hours sessions. I became interested in what they were doing. I started to become more active,” he said.
He remained involved with the committee and was appointed co-chair in summer of 2014. “I’ve always been interested in ensuring fairness and equal opportunities for members of all communities,” he said.
Dieseth has helped the committee lead a study with the U of M Humphrey Institute regarding how the “pipeline” of the legal career affects minority involvement in the profession. He was also involved with the HCBA minority clerkship program.
While Dieseth was inspired by social activism, he worries that idealistic young lawyers may not be as driven to pursue the profession due to the high stress and financial burden that comes with the job.
“The current path to become a lawyer has been more difficult than it has my entire career,” he said.
As a vintage lawyer who can see retirement on the (distant) horizon, Dieseth wants to make sure young lawyers are still inspired to work in the profession like he was.
“The legal profession is a great profession. It always has been and always will be. It’s one where you can make a difference if you are motivated,” he said.
Paul Dieseth is the current co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee