Associate attorney; Randall, Goodrich and Haag
Joe Van Thomme has only been a lawyer for four years, but his colleagues already praise him for his work with the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Criminal Law section, his record of success in contested hearings and his prosecutorial acumen. On top of all that, even opposing counsel say he’s hard not to like.
By the time Van Thomme graduated from Hamline University School of Law in 2009, he had already been volunteering with the public defender’s office in the 10th District for a couple of years.
“It was the first place I thought of [to volunteer],” he said. “I felt like a shepherd, and like I could connect with people and help them see: ‘This is your best choice, but maybe this isn’t.’”
He had also been involved in the Criminal Law section as a student, and between the two, Van Thomme has garnered a reputation for hard work and strong involvement in the effort to improve legal practice in the state.
He’s currently vice chair of the Criminal Law section after having been secretary and then treasurer in previous years, and he has been nominated for chair this fall. He sees his volunteer and MSBA work as crucial to his success, because they have enriched his experience and given him opportunities to get advice or ask questions.
In 2010, Van Thomme went to work for Randall, Goodrich and Haag, where he took on criminal defense work. He handles trials, bail hearings, sentencing and probation violations. He’s also a court-appointed attorney for child protection cases in Anoka County and the city prosecutor for Ramsey, Nowthen and Bethel.
Van Thomme has weeks where he’s in court four out of five days, although three days a week is more typical. “I’m thankful to have a position in a smaller firm where I’m getting a lot of experience,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”