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Stephanie Ball
Stephanie Ball won one of the largest verdicts in a personal injury case in the state. (File photo)

Breaking the Ice: Helping her clients ‘get to a better place in life’

Name: Stephanie Ball

Title: Shareholder, Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick

Education: B.A., mathematics and economics, St. Olaf College; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Early experience in personal injury cases set Duluth attorney Stephanie Ball on a course that has directed her practice.

“I thrive on those cases in which I can genuinely help someone get to a better place in life,” said Ball, a shareholder at Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick.

That was the case when Ball won a $28.6 million jury verdict for Paige Anderson, who was rendered a quadriplegic when a school bus hit the car in which she was a passenger in 2009 in Itasca County. The verdict was one of the largest in a personal injury case in the state.

“I would want the legacy to be more about the client and the result of the process, that she deserved being heard and having a jury recognize the enormity of her loss,” Ball said.

Helping clients get medical expenses paid and solve other problems before a case goes to trial also is satisfying, said Ball, who also handles wrongful death and product liability cases.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to obtain a result that is life-changing and life-changing in a lot of different ways,” Ball said.

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

A: I’m really proud of my nieces and nephew so asking how me about how they are doing is a great conversation starter.

Q: Why did you study law and pursue it as a career?

A: I enjoy helping people and problem solving, so the law allowed me to do both of those. My friends have dubbed me problem solver in life in general and that’s guided me professionally.

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

A: I have on my bookstand “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, a story about justice and overcoming the odds and redemption. I also just read “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult.

Q: What’s a pet peeve of yours?

A: Lack of gratitude.

Q: What do you like best about your work?

A: Getting to know and work with my clients and listening to their stories and helping them get to a better place in life. I also enjoy being a student and researching and writing and learning about a subject specific to a given case.

Q: What do you least like about it?

A: Mean-spirited adversity and the stress that comes with that. I think there’s good adversity but I’m talking about mean-spirited adversity.

Q: What do you like doing away from work?

A: Spending time in the outdoors, running, biking, hiking or at the cabin. And adventures with my nieces and nephew.

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

A: I am a native of Duluth so I would take them hiking or biking on one of Duluth’s trails, a walk on Park Point or a drive up the North Shore.

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

A: U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank and retired District Court Judge Gary Pagliaccetti. Both are excellent trial judges, thoughtful, compassionate, respectful of the attorneys and parties that come before them and mindful that justice is often about being heard. In addition to their commitment to public service both of them are very committed to their families.

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

A: That an attorney or client may “win” based on trickery or luck when in my experience a successful resolution is usually the result of hard work and honest advocacy.

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

A: “On the Basis of Sex,” which is about the life of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — just a really inspiring story. But really any book or movie that shows the good and human side of legal profession in securing justice for someone facing barriers to obtaining justice and that can be a lot of different depictions.

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