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When Kass was 21 years old, she went to a career counselor. She spent the day filling out questionnaires, answering essays and interviewing with a professional. Two weeks later, she received a long report that started with the following sentence: "Kass is obsessed with justice." Based on that one theme, the career counselor determined that she should pursue a career either as a lawyer or as a police officer. Considering that she has some trouble holding her tongue when challenged by authority figures, Kass chose the law.
It isn't surprising that she chose a career in law. Kass was born and raised in the great state of Minnesota by her father, who was an attorney, and her mother, who ran her father's boutique law firm. By the age of five or six, Kass was signing contracts (sometimes in crayon) if she wanted to borrow money from her parents to buy Christmas or birthday presents. The contracts stated how much money she wanted to borrow (usually around $5), when she would pay it back and in what increments (i.e., 50 cents per week for 10 weeks) and how she was going to earn the money to do so (taking out the trash). Similarly, by eight or nine, Kass was reading depositions her dad brought home and was strongly encouraged to discuss her view of the case. Kass still wonders what view an eight-year old could have about "takings" and eminent domain cases, but she appreciates that her parents taught her how to think.
Kass's "obsession with justice" also began at a young age. After high school, Kass spent a year living in South Africa. While there, she went to school and volunteered in the townships, where she saw the disparity between others' lives and hers. She also got into something of an altercation with some Navy recruits the day that Mandela was released, because she was pleased with his release and they were not (see problem with authority referenced above). In 1990, Kass began Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, a wonderful liberal enclave (and great school). She graduated in 1994 and then tried her hand in federal and state government work for a year. In 1995, she left for a great adventure traveling through Mexico and Central America, and ended up spending two years living in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she taught English and volunteered for Jalisco State Commission for Human Rights.
Upon her return from Mexico, Kass started law school at the University of Minnesota. During law school, she worked with migrant laborers and immigrants both in Minnesota and Michigan. Kass graduated from law school in 2000, and went to work at the large law firm of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. Kass practiced general litigation, and spent most of her time defending nation-wide class actions, doing white-collar criminal defense, and litigating other complex cases such as Multi-District Litigation. While at Sonnenschein, Kass also participated in a human rights fact-finding mission in Peru, where she and nine other attorneys from the Midwest monitored and wrote a report about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission there.
Although Kass enjoyed her job at Sonnenschein and had a beautiful office on the 81st floor of the Sears Tower overlooking Lake Michigan, living and working in Chicago just didn't do it for her in the long run. After meeting a native of Salt Lake City in 2004 (her future husband), Kass moved to Utah in April, 2005. She clerked for the Utah Court of Appeals for a year and a half, and started as an associate at Scholnick Birch Hallam Harstad Thorne (formerly Strindberg & Scholnick) in October, 2006. She became a member of the firm in 2010, and has been here ever since. She loves practicing law and considers it the best job in the world. As she puts it, “It’s incredible - we get paid to think!”
University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN
Juris Doctor, May 2000, Cum Laude
Honors: Top Quartile; Dean's List with A average; Miner Scholarship; Jessup International Moot Court Managing Director and Third-Place Oralist Award.
Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH
Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies, May 1994
Scholnick Birch Hallam Harstad Thorne
Salt Lake City, Utah
Associate, October 2006 - 2009
Member, 2010 - present
Judge James Z. Davis, Utah Court of Appeals
Salt Lake City, Utah
Law Clerk, May 2005 - October 2006
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal
Associate, October 2000 - April 2005
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
Monitor, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, September 2002 - December 2003
Minnesota State Public Defender
St. Paul, Minnesota
Law Clerk, May - December 1999
St. Paul, Minnesota
Law Clerk, September 1997 - August 1999
Farmworker Legal Services
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Law Clerk, June - August 1998
Jalisco State Commission for Human Rights
Legal Assistant, April 1996 - February 1997
Minnesota State Senate Education Committee
Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul, Minnesota
Education Committee Assistant, January - May 1995
Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, U.S. State Department
Intern, September - December 1994
ACLU of Utah Board
2018 – present
Utah Legal Services Board of Trustees
2018 - present