For Kelsey Kelley, there was never much doubt that she was going to practice law in the public sector. After clerking at the Minnesota Court of Appeals for now-Justice Margaret Chutich, Kelley went straight to the Anoka County Attorney’s office and has never looked back.
“I knew even going into law school that I wanted to do public service,” Kelley said. “I liked the idea of serving the community and being in the position of not serving a specific client, but keeping a broad perspective.”
Kelley understands that she could probably earn more with a private-sector practice, but she would much rather devote her energy to protecting the interest of the county and state and its citizens.
Colleagues describe Kelley as “scary smart” and point to her writing skill as a key part of her arsenal. Kelley says it’s gratifying to bring her skills to bear in a criminal appellate case. It can also be gratifying to help the family of a murder victim gain some peace via an affirmed conviction, as she did in State v. Lilienthal.
“I like going through a record and putting the puzzle pieces together,” she said. “I love researching and writing, and it’s rewarding to make a novel argument in the appellate court.”