WORTHINGTON — Three weeks into his new post, Travis Visser-Armbrust says working as the newest Assistant Nobles County Attorney is going smoothly so far.
Visser-Armbrust has joined Nobles County Attorney Joseph Sanow, who began his appointment in October 2019, and Assistant County Attorney Braden Hoefert, who also served under former Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz. His employment is a step toward fully staffing the Nobles County Attorney's Office, which has struggled to maintain a complete team. Law clerk Roland Henry took his bar exam last week and, if he passes, will also join Hoefert and Visser-Armbrust as an assistant county attorney, bringing the department up to full staffing.
Visser-Armbrust started his post July 20, coming from a position in Mason City, Iowa. A 2012 graduate of Drake University Law School, Visser-Armbrust has a number of years of law practice already under his belt, including experience in criminal defense.
"I found that what I like best is actually trying cases," he explained.
While Visser-Armbrust is a native of St. Cloud, his wife hails from Sioux City, Iowa. They wanted to move a little closer to his family, so they began looking for jobs in the northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota area, just in time for the assistant county attorney position to become available.
Visser-Armbrust's wife — who he describes as "the most beautiful wife in the world" — is a social worker and will join him in Worthington with her 2-year-old daughter (Visser-Armbrust's stepdaughter) as soon as she's able to transition out of her current position.
Because Visser-Armbrust took the bar exam in Iowa, he has to become licensed to practice law in the state of Minnesota. Rather than re-taking the bar, he's eligible for a process called admission on motion, which requires a certain number of hours worked as a lawyer and an examination of his character and fitness. It was simple to show the hours he has previously documented, but it can take three to six months for the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners to complete the character and fitness examination.
Until that paperwork is finished, Visser-Armbrust can't practice law, but he's plenty busy otherwise. Right now, he is focused on getting to know the local workflow in terms of how judges and court administrators like to move through cases.
"Joe (Sanow) has been very helpful, and so has Braden (Hoefert)," Visser-Armbrust said.
Practicing law was always the plan for Visser-Armbrust. Aptitude tests he took in school consistently told him he would make a good lawyer, and he admired those he saw on TV.
"I always thought I would (go into law)," he reflected, adding that he can't wait to be licensed and participate in a jury trial.
In addition to transitioning professionally, Visser-Armbrust said he is excited to get to know the community. He came to Worthington two or three times for hockey games growing up, and visited the city when considering his new job, but he looks forward to making connections and building relationships with fellow Nobles County residents.