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Kate Jaycox represents people injured by pharmaceutical products and medical devices. (Submitted photo)
Kate Jaycox represents people injured by pharmaceutical products and medical devices. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Following father into law but on different path

Name: Kate Jaycox

Title: Partner, Robins Kaplan

Education: B.A., history and political science, Northwestern University; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Robins Kaplan partner Kate Jaycox decided to become a lawyer “to continue to fight for the underdog.”

That effort began as Jaycox worked in politics and on political campaigns for five years after college.

Another influence was growing up around the law with a father, Jack Jaycox, who was a well-known family law attorney.

“My father passed away a couple of days after I graduated from college, and at his funeral a number of prominent attorneys and Supreme Court justices spoke,” Jaycox recalled. “It was my first time being exposed to the impact that he had as a lawyer on people’s lives and on the law. Though it took me another five years to get to law school that was a moment that made me think someday I wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

Jaycox, however, represents people injured by pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

“This is about representing individual people against the biggest companies in the world,” Jaycox said. “It sounds corny but it’s about justice and leveling the playing field.

Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Tell me a joke. I’m very outgoing so I’m usually the one who starts conversations with some inane story like I just got my first-ever psychic reading. I like to talk about real-life things that have nothing to do with the law. I also appreciate a sense of humor.

Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A: “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes, the creator and producer of “Grey’s Anatomy.” It’s a memoir about saying yes to things in life that scare you and the growth opportunities that come with that. “Launch,” about getting your kids through college and into jobs they love. I’m about to read, “On Tyranny,” about mistakes made with tyrannical leaders and lessons we can learn from history in light of our current political moment.

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: People who don’t have a sense of humor.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A: Fighting for justice. I like representing the underdog. I like putting together the complicated liability puzzle through all the pretrial work that we do.

Q: Least favorite?

A: Billing. Recording my time.

Q: What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A: I love to travel with my kids. I have 12- and 15-year-old daughters. We love to go to Disney World. As they get older and closer to being adults I cherish the time to open their eyes to life outside of Minnesota.

Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A: I grew up in Edina but have lived in Minneapolis since I’ve been an adult. My No. 1 recommendation is the State Fair. I would take people to see Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. I’d also take people to Paisley Park, which is fantastic.

Q: Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most?

A: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Next to my phone I have an action figure of her. The level of success she has achieved as a woman during the time she was raised is unmatchable. I have admiration for her spending her career fighting for the voiceless, the marginalized and the courage that that took.

Q: What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney?

A: That justice is obvious and fast. Righting my clients’ wrongs usually is messy and it always involves a hard-fought fight.

Q: What is your favorite depiction of the legal profession in popular culture?

A: My favorite law movie is “Legally Blonde,” I love the message of not underestimating a young woman who maybe doesn’t look the part and the message of having passion for your client’s cause and being authentic to who you are ends up serving your client and ends up serving justice.

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