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The POWER 30: Kristine Kubes

Minnesota Lawyer//June 28, 2021//

The POWER 30: Kristine Kubes

Minnesota Lawyer//June 28, 2021//

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Kristine Kubes’ law practice combines two passions – construction law and a mediation practice that helps people hear each other. Her father was a master carpenter, and she learned at a young age what it’s like to be a contractor by hanging around his workshop where she was instructed to “stand still, don’t talk and don’t touch anything.”

Valuable tools to someone who believes in communication, listening and the power of being heard in transactional, dispute resolution and litigation work. Kubes says they all require hearing out the client and developing a personal relationship. A former partner at Meagher Geer, she started her own shop in 2009 with 15 clients and now has approximately 300.

Kubes says she “really loves” mediating cases and hopes to expand that part of her practice. “I want to empower people to settle their own cases,” she said.

She has also developed into a national leader in construction law through the American Bar Association. Kubes is the immediate past national chair of the ABA Construction Law Forum, where she started on her leadership track in 2004. She edited “Infrastructure from the Ground Up,” published by the ABA in 2012 and was made a Fellow of the ABA in 2016.

One of her priorities when head of the construction law forum was diversity and inclusion. In the forum’s publication, The Construction Lawyer, she wrote last year, “[The] critical competency lawyers need is inclusive intelligence: the ability to understand ourselves — including our biases and how to overcome them — and how to create inclusive environments… (Emphasis in original.)

“Lawyers who do this work and adopt inclusive practices themselves will be better suited to advise their clients on how they can create an environment of inclusion in their companies and worksites. Clients today want and need that advice from their legal counsel.”

in 2019 Kubes and other past chairs of the construction law forum launched “Building for Good.” Its mission is to offer construction lawyers more pro bono opportunities and relieve the financial burden on organizations that need construction law services.

Kubes was appointed in 2006 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty to the State Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geo-science, and Interior Design, where she served as a public member and board chair until 2011. That background in licensure gave her the experience to become a leading speaker and presenter on ethics and professional practice in the construction field, which encompasses the causes of includes issues of diversity and inclusion, which are intrinsically important but also present a pathway through the shortage of skilled labor in the construction field. Kubes said. “We all do better thinking about professionalism.”

The firm has weathered the pandemic well and so have its clients, Kubes said. As other lawyers have said, the biggest challenge to clients is the cost and availability of materials. Labor is an issue. Construction is an essential business, but some workers have to stay home with children. “A project is a car on a train on a track, and the pandemic has had a ripple effect,” she said.


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