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Kyle Kroll
Kyle Kroll

Breaking the Ice: Purpose drives ‘Outstanding New Lawyer’

Name: Kyle Kroll

Title: Associate, Winthrop & Weinstine

Education: B.S.B., entrepreneurial management and philosophy, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Kyle Kroll’s sense of purpose keeps the Winthrop & Weinstine associate busy, earning him the Outstanding New Lawyer of the Year Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association’s New Lawyers Section.

Among other activities, Kroll co-chaired the New Lawyers Section’s social committee in 2019-20, serving on several practice sections and co-chaired the Federal Bar Association’s Newer Lawyers committee.

That’s in addition to his complex commercial litigation work, heavy pro bono involvement and serving as an adjunct legal research and writing professor — and fundraiser — for the University of Minnesota Law School.

“When I’m part of something that I believe in, that gives me purpose; and that’s the motivation that keeps me coming back for more and trying out new things,” Kroll said.

Kroll’s two majors — business and philosophy — are a good fit for the law. “I bring a combination of the practical and the theoretical,” he said.

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

A: Tell me something that you’re passionate about. In part, it’s because I enjoy learning about new things.

Q: What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A: I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to be happy. I tell people that, and they usually laugh and think that I’m joking. The people who laugh are the lawyers. I genuinely thought about the activities I enjoy — research, writing, presenting, critical thinking, advocacy — and the professions in which I might pursue them. Law ended up being a great fit.

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

A: The eighth edition of “The Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail.” When possible, I’m looking at National Geographic’s list of the top hikes around the world for travel, and I want to complete all of them. My most recent travel hike was in Peru on the Inca Trail.

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: The occasional night when I don’t have something planned with family, friends, colleagues, peers. I’m a social person, I love being around other people.

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

A: Being an advocate. I enjoy representing others and fighting for them. To achieve for others really motivates me to forge ahead.

Q: Least favorite?

A: When you do the very best you can for a client, but the result isn’t exactly what the client hoped to achieve.

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

A: Golf. I’m a relatively new golfer. I picked it up after my brother started playing. It’s a great pastime for us. I’m also lucky to have a great group of friends who enjoy golfing as well.

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

A: Pillager [Minnesota] has a population of around 500, so there aren’t as many things to do there. The things that I fortunately have experienced by working remotely up there in this pandemic are the peacefulness of the north woods, the nature and the friendliness. I’d want to share that friendliness with them, and the clear night sky and the stars. You almost forget that the stars are there when you live in the city. Gazing up at them gives you perspective.

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

A: Justice Antonin Scalia. Say what you will about his politics and his leanings, but what I admire about him as a jurist was his direct writing style. He had a powerful way of making his point, including humor, and doing it in brief.

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

A: John Grisham’s “The Rainmaker.” The character never gives up. The story gives me hope that hard work and determination in the end will pay off, so as a new lawyer it’s inspiring.

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