The UND School of Law Student Bar Association hosted a lecture featuring law school alumnus Jacob Geiermann, who spoke about his experiences working as a trust and estates attorney. He also provided advice for students to help prepare them for a future law career.
Geiermann received his law degree from UND School of Law in 2013. In 2018, he was recognized as a super lawyer’s rising star and was named as a fellow in the ABA’s Real Property Trust and Estates (RPTE) Section fellowship program. Part of his role in the section is reaching out to local communities and law schools as a speaker in trust and estate topics. He serves on the board of directors of the Red River Valley Estate Planning Council and the development committee of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Community Foundation. He actively serves on the legislation committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association Probate and Trust Law Section. Geiermann has experience as a lobbyist, has drafted legislation and advocates for improvements in trust and estate law in both North Dakota and Minnesota.
As an associate attorney at Ohnstad Twitchell, Geiermann does tax planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. The type of work he does is much needed in estate planning. “The thing that I really enjoy about my area of law is you have to have a core focus on wills, trusts, estates, and tax, but you also must have at least a working knowledge in real estate, family law, business law, and a range of other laws, because when you’re doing an estate plan it’s, comprehensive,” said Geiermann.
He encouraged students to consider the benefits of looking for employment in North Dakota. “One thing that I’ve really enjoyed about working at a more mid-size firm is that you can actually meet clients and have face to face contact,” said Geiermann. “A lot of larger size firms in the cities, where you can make more money and work on some interesting files, you’ll be tied to your desk researching, writing, and having very little contact with people.”
He told students the opportunity they have in law school is unique and advised them to enjoy their time in school since it goes by fast. Geiermann suggested students find a balance between school and life, and encouraged students to enhance their research skills using technology, because what they learn now is going to be above and beyond other attorneys. He said the most important thing for law students to understand and memorize is different concepts in law school and the purpose the concepts serve, compared to focusing on different cases and names. In law school, he was involved in moot court, and recommended students get involved in the North Dakota Law Review to enhance their writing skills.
Geiermann discussed the importance of ethics in law. “One thing that I’ve learned as an attorney is that different attorneys have different opinions on the importance of ethics,” he said. I think that ethics are extremely important, and once you graduate and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, you have to be cognizant and constantly aware of the ethical implications.”
To conclude, Geiermann told students to discover their passions and find a career in something that they really enjoy. He said, “find an area of law to practice that you are really excited about, and find a purpose more than just making money.”
by: Andrew Truckenmiller