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Rachel Dahl
Rachel Dahl works with farm families, individuals and business owners on estate and succession planning. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Rural roots inform estate planning practice

Name: Rachel Dahl

Title: Partner, Maslon

Education: J.D., Hamline School of Law; B.A., biology, English, Luther College

Rachel Dahl, who recently joined Maslon as a partner, likes the personal interaction and the technical work that come with her estate planning practice.

Dahl works with farm families, individuals and business owners on estate and succession planning.

“I do work in that technical space with clients who are in need of very complex planning,” Dahl said. “But I also get that human interaction and that human side, which I really like.”

A “former farm kid,” Dahl understands clients’ emotional ties to the land.

“It’s almost like it’s in your blood,” Dahl said. “Second-, third-, fourth-generation, whether it’s a farm or a business, the odds are against people if they don’t put in the time to plan and do things that are going to increase their chances of success and turning that business or farm over.”

Dahl, most recently a successful solo practitioner and previously an attorney at a Twin Cities firm, also has experience in business formation, real estate and agriculture law.

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Give me a smile, walk up and say, “Hello.” I enjoy talking with people and learning about others and their backgrounds.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: I can remember being a small child, and it was either becoming a veterinarian or an attorney. Ultimately, I made the decision to go to law school because I wanted to help people. I loved the aspect of having a vet practice but just had too big of a heart. I didn’t want to face the fact that I would have to put animals down.

Q: What books are you reading?

A: My favorite is “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” I’ve been trying to finish “Team of Rivals.” I tend to like the Civil War, the history around that time.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: There’s something about coming to a point when you’re signing the documents and this big weight is taken off somebody’s shoulders when they sign their estate plan or we’ve got a closing on a piece of property or when I’m helping people form of business. That’s a good feeling.

Q: Least favorite?

A: When I get a phone call or an email that a client has passed.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: I have a 3½-year-old son who keeps me pretty busy. I love to just sit and play with him and to read books with him. We enjoy being in the kitchen. He’s my little helper. Away from kid stuff, I love to fish. I love hiking, camping. I like to kayak. I’m a scuba diver. I like to get out on my bike. I like to go for walks and run. Spend time with family and friends.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: My hometown is Blooming Prairie. It’s a very small town. I would take them out to the house I grew up in, to the home farm and the neighborhood. I’d probably take them to visit people and share some good stories.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: John Marshall. He did so much to reform that branch of our government. I’m a big fan of RBG, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’ll always be a hero. And Sandra Day O’Connor. They paved a path for me and for women in law.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work as an attorney?

A: The biggest misconception is, “You can just have LegalZoom do that for you.” I’ve worked with many people who said, “LegalZoom didn’t tell me that.” Having a trusted adviser who is going to be there for you and your family is really important.

Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?

A: I love “Arrested Development.” The attorneys in that show, Barry Zuckerkorn and Bob Loblaw, that’s right up my alley in terms of sense of humor.


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