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Jana Aune Deach
Jana Aune Deach says she went into family law because she wanted to make a difference in the lives of people going through difficult times. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Family law attorney works to ‘minimize conflict, consequences’

Name: Jana Aune Deach

Title: Attorney, Moss & Barnett

Education: B.A., history, University of North Dakota; J.D., University of North Dakota School of Law

Moss & Barnett attorney Jana Aune Deach jokes that she’s “probably one of five people who went to law school with the intention to practice family law.”

Deach did so because she wanted to feel like she was making a difference in the lives of those going through difficult times.

Her approach, which has earned Deach a national reputation, is “to minimize the conflict and minimize the consequences of a family that’s going through divorce especially for children.”

Moss & Barnett is known for taking on tough cases involving complex issues such as business valuations or high net worth assets, Deach said. But cases often settle.

“I work really hard to try to get cases settled, to find creative ways to resolve a problem,” Deach said. “My goal is that clients if possible never see the inside of a courtroom.”

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

A: I think I’m pretty easy to talk to so anybody who’d walk up and say hi we’d probably start a conversation pretty easily. If you mention Norway (in which Deach minored) or “The Lord of the Rings,” you are in danger of me talking your ear off.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: I wanted to be lawyer since I was probably 13. I have jokingly said that as a middle child I have a heightened sense of injustice and unfairness, which probably led me on a path to the law. When I got there, it was a good fit.

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

A: “X, Y & Z: The Real Story of How Enigma was Broken.” The German code during World War II was known as Enigma. The book is written by the nephew of Alan Turing, who basically developed the machine that broke the code. One my son gave me for Christmas, “Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became World War II’s Most Highly Decorated Spy.”

Q: What’s your pet peeve?

A: Lack of attention to detail and mostly my own.

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

A: The people that I work with, the clients that I have, that’s the best part of the job.

Q: Least favorite?

A: You can’t control the outcome.

Q: What do you like to do away from your job?

A: I spend as much time as I can with my family. I have a wonderful husband, two adult children and one 6-year-old grandson so he is the apple of our eye.

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

A: I grew up on the family farm outside of Underwood. The next biggest town is Fergus Falls. I’m very proud of where I came from, so a drive through my family farm. Breakfast at the Viking Cafe in Fergus Falls is not to be missed. Pancakes the size of your head and the best bacon you will ever eat.

Q: Is there an attorney or judge whom you most admire? Why?

A: Belva Lockwood, the first woman licensed to appear in front of the United States Supreme Court and the first to argue in front of the United States Supreme Court. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the United States Supreme Court.

Q: What’s a misconception that others have about your work as an attorney?

A: The view that as a family law attorney because it is litigation, that I’m in court all the time.

Q: What’s a favorite novel, movie or TV show about lawyers or the legal profession?

A: The movie “In the Name of the Father.” I love Emma Thompson’s character, Gareth Peirce, an attorney who worked tirelessly to overturn the wrongful conviction of Gerry Conlon and the Guilford Four in Northern Ireland after 15 years in prison.

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