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Kinser opens private practice

Aaron Kinser stands next to his new sign. (Leah Ward/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Attorney Aaron Kinser opened his own law practice Jan. 2 in Worthington. It’s a venture that follows five years of experience at Ahlquist & Wiltrout, and three years of clerking for a judge in Marshall before that.

“People used to tell me I was going to be a lawyer when I was in high school,” Kinser said. “I like to argue.”

This attribute allows him to examine issues from multiple sides and arrive at a workable solution.

“I like finding people who disagree with me,” he added.

Kinser wasn’t always set on becoming a lawyer. While completing his undergraduate studies, he was considering going on to law school but hadn’t decided for sure. Then, a conversation with a professor solidified Kinser’s career trajectory.

“You are somebody who likes to state an opinion,” the professor told Kinser, and cited times when Kinser had convinced his classmates to support his argument. The professor encouraged Kinser to apply for law school.

Kinser made the decision together with his wife Jennie (née Tibbitts), a native of Sioux Falls.

Born and raised in California, Kinser didn’t want to attend law school there, but he and Jennie wanted to be close to family. They decided to consider schools in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.

Kinser ultimately decided to attend the University of Minnesota, a Top 20 law school and four and a half hours from Jennie’s parents.

During law school, Kinser’s first two children were born. To balance studying and family time, he adopted a “don’t come home till I’m done” policy.

He keeps that same discipline in his work today. When he needs to, Kinser will come home for dinner and return to the office after the kids are in bed.

“I’m not going to miss out on that time with my kids,” he said.

One advantage to this system is that at night, the phone doesn’t ring and people don’t stop by the office. Kinser spends 85 to 90% of his work time on cases that are moving through the court process, so desk time is hard to find.

Kinser splits his time between public defense and his private practice, and also takes on some cases with drug court and child protective services.

He says his favorite cases are “criminal cases with good legal issues,” meaning the argument is not about the facts but about whether or not what happened meets the legal definition of the charged crime.

“The lines aren’t as clear as people think they are,” Kinser said.

Another responsibility Kinser fulfills is his seat on the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce board, for which he also serves on the business education committee.

All of Kinser’s work is informed by his multilingualism. He speaks both Korean and Spanish, an asset Kinser admitted he “never would have guessed would be so helpful in rural Minnesota.”

Spanish is particularly helpful in the Worthington community.

“There’s a lot of need for Spanish-speaking legal help,” Kinser said.

By law, interpretation is provided in court, but so much of the legal process happens outside the courtroom, like phone calls, consultation and preparation.

Worthington is so diverse that interpretation presents a unique challenge.

Kinser named eight languages he had never even heard of before coming to Worthington — and he’s had clients who speak each of them.

Nobles County requires more interpreters per capita than all of the other counties in the district, Kinser said, and has among the highest interpretation needs in the state.

Because he speaks Spanish, Kinser is in high demand.

Kinser Law Office operates from 1321 Smith Ave. The ribbon cutting for the new business will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday.