Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Recent News
Home / Features / Breaking the Ice / Breaking the Ice: Attorney ‘happy every day’ in solo practice
Cresston Gackle
Cresston Gackle focuses juvenile justice and family law in his solo practice. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Attorney ‘happy every day’ in solo practice

Name: Cresston Gackle

Title: Attorney, Cresston Law

Education: B.A., political science, University of Minnesota; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

For Cresston Gackle, launching his own firm was difficult and scary but ultimately the best decision he’s made.

Gackle, who focuses juvenile justice and family law, loves having control of his schedule, deciding which cases to take and what strategy to pursue.

“I get to do exactly the work that I want to do,” Gackle said. “I’m happy with the decision every day.”

Rather than jump into practice, Gackle clerked for three years for Hennepin County District Judge Kathleen Sheehy.

The behind-the-scenes view of family, civil and juvenile court, including child protection and delinquency matters, confirmed his interest in working in juvenile law. That stemmed from his experience in the Child Advocacy and Juvenile Justice Clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Gackle worked on his business plan for a year before going out on his own. “My dad started his own business, not in law, and I give him credit for giving me something of an entrepreneurial spirit,” Gackle said.

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Tell me what makes you passionate about the work you do. Or ask me what I think about the justice system.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: I got a degree in political science but wasn’t interested in reviewing data or working on campaigns. I wanted to turn what I considered fairly soft skills into more concrete skills. To have a concrete impact in areas that I cared about at the time, education and equity around education, a law degree would give me that qualification.

Q: What books are you reading?

A: “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. I’m starting “The 1619 Project” book.

Q: What’s your pet peeve?

A: The absence of empathy and sympathy in moments that demand it, and people assuming they would not have made a bad choice in the circumstances that someone else faced.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: Working with and listening to kids. It’s a privilege to advocate for them. The absolute best part may be when they tell you or someone you know that you made them feel heard.

Q: Least favorite?

A: Because of the types of law that I practice, I see some families in the worst place that they’ve been. I’ve also seen where some of our systems fail us, which means kids and families don’t get the help they need.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: I enjoy playing modern board games with my friends. I really love playing “Sleeping Gods,” “Beyond the Sun” and “Just One.”

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: I grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa, one of the Quad Cities along the Mississippi River. I would take people to my childhood home. My mom makes the best food in town, including the best desserts. We’d enjoy a comfortable evening playing a board game and talking.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: [U.S. Supreme Court Justice] Sonia Sotomayor, because she knows how to connect abstract principles to the real world, and does so with what I consider empathy and understanding.

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

A: That being on primarily the defense side, for kids or parents, that we lawyers use some kind of deception or misdirection to help our clients. When a petition or complaint or any document is filed, we’re identifying the problem. On the defense side, we’re trying to bring that fuller picture into focus.

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

A: It counters my misconception, but my favorite because it’s absolutely riotous is “Rake.” It’s about a lawyer in Australia. He does not exactly have the highest ethics.


Like this article? Gain access to all of our great content with a month-to-month subscription. Start your subscription.

About Todd Nelson

Leave a Reply