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Attorneys of the Year: Kenneth Udoibok

circle of excellenceKenneth Udoibok has won this award twice, but he’ll probably never be named “richest lawyer in the Twin Cities.”

Udoibok, in solo and small practices for 23 years, represents underdogs, often in cases alleging they’ve been treated unfairly by the government, employers or insurance companies. In 2016, he won a lighter-than-expected sentence for a young Twin Cities man who had been radicalized to join ISIS. In 2017, he sued the federal government and Washington County, claiming that probation officers sexually abused or assaulted parolees. Those claims remain unresolved.

The Minneapolis lawyer also represents the family of a 22-year-old man who died in 2012 in the Stearns County Jail, where he had reported for failure to pay a $300 traffic fine. Video shows Jerome Harrell banging his head against the cell door and screaming all night long, but jail officers did not call a nurse to check on him. The wrongful-death case has been settled.

Udoibok’s origins and faith in Jesus and in the American justice system propel him. Growing up in Nigeria, he was recruited as a child soldier/translator. In high school and junior college, he protested for democracy and witnessed government violence against friends.

“I have to protect the rights of people that are not sympathetic-looking,” Udoibok said. “It’s the only system we have — and I believe this wholeheartedly — that this is what separates us from every other country in the world.”

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