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Zuri Balmakund Santiago
Zuri Balmakund Santiago

2020 Up & Coming Attorneys: Zuri Balmakund Santiago

Zuri Balmakund Santiago’s career has a consistent theme: service to community.

She’s been an assistant attorney general at the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, where she advises and litigates on behalf of the Department of Human Services, since July 2019. She also has prosecutorial experience from her three years as an assistant county attorney for Hennepin County.

“The best part of my job is serving my community in a meaningful way,” Balmakund Santiago says. “But I also have opportunities to take on criminal and appellate matters. The AGO allows attorneys to work in practice areas they know and grow into practice areas in which they have an interest. It’s a great office.”

Balmakund Santiago also devotes time to the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, of which she is currently president. “I want Latinx attorneys to know they have a support network and familia in the MHBA,” she says. “The hours of volunteering and commitment to mentorship are worth it if it leads to more Latinx attorneys in the profession.”

How and when did you know you wanted to study law and pursue it as a career?

In fourth grade, I told [my parents], “I’m going to become an attorney, I’m going to own a motorcycle, and I’m never getting married.” Life surprises you and I ended up getting married to my wonderful husband. I reached my goal of practicing law. The motorcycle is still on the way.

What do you find the most rewarding or love best about working in the legal profession?

I’m originally from Spanish Harlem. It’s not something I share openly, but it’s so important to why I chose the law. The best part of my job is being able to serve and give back to my community, which is why I chose government service.

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