A well-prepared trial is an organized effort based on a master list with plenty of entries checked off, done. Witnesses and evidence appear exactly when they are needed.
That is what legal assistant Laura Frickson contributes to the misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor trial practice at the city attorney’s office in St. Paul, where she has worked for 30 years. In 1990 she formed the city’s first domestic abuse prosecution team and now works with three attorneys on different types of crimes. She has a caseload of about 220 files.
“The biggest change is technology,” Frickson said. With the videos, photographs and recordings that are now a regular part of police work, there are a lot of pieces involved, and they have to move fast. In Ramsey County, there is a short turnaround of three weeks from a first appearance to a pretrial, and after that trials are scheduled in blocks, and can start at any time. They have only a four-hour window between the time the judge calls the case and when their witnesses need to be in the courtroom, but Frickson likes the pace.
“I thrive on the details and I thrive on justice,” she said. “I really, really, really, really like my job.”