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Katheryn Gettman
Katheryn Gettman offers legal and business advice to corporations, executives and business owners. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Outside general counsel role suits attorney

Name: Katheryn Gettman

Title: Member, Cozen O’Connor, Minneapolis office

Education: B.A., philosophy, University of Minnesota; B.B.A., organizational management and human resource management, University of Minnesota; M.B.A., Willamette University; J.D., Willamette University College of Law

Katie Gettman’s initial career goal was to be general counsel for a company. As a corporate attorney in Cozen O’Connor’s Minneapolis office, however, Gettman serves as outside general counsel for many client businesses.

In her practice, Gettman offers legal and business advice to corporations, executives and business owners. She likes the variety that comes with representing different companies.

“I like sharing my skills and experiences with a broad and diverse group of clients,” Gettman said. “I can make a bigger impact in helping others in the role that I currently have rather than working in-house with one of my clients or another business.”

Closely held companies that are working to grow especially through acquisition are a good fit, Gettman said.

“I have a soft spot for closely held, family-owned businesses,” Gettman said.

Before earning a dual MBA and law degree, Gettman gained business experience working in management for a company as an undergraduate. As part of her MBA program, she worked with other students to develop, finance and market a company that helped seniors in retirement communities connect with their families through e-mail, before smart phones became pervasive.

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: You should say, “Katie, can you help me?” I am a problem solver.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: Prior to finishing up undergrad, I had a job as a manager in a business and thought that I would get my MBA because it would be useful to have that higher-level learning. And then I thought, if I get my MBA, I should also get my law degree because if I’m going to manage a business, there are a lot of legal issues that come into play and understanding how those interplay with decision-making in business is super important. The great thing now is I get to combine those two disciplines in one with the work that I do for my clients.

Q: What books are you reading?

A: The book I’m reading right now is called “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” It’s by Og Mandino and it’s basically a set of philosophies about life.

Q: What’s your pet peeve?

A: People who don’t care.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: The opportunity to support others in solving their problems and creating business solutions, and helping them achieve their goals and dreams.

Q: Least favorite?

A: The biggest challenge in my role is effectively managing the changing priorities of my clients, but it is a joy to see them grow and prosper.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: I didn’t expect to be a cyclist, but I really enjoy riding my bike when the weather’s nice. It’s a great way to calm your mind. I also like to watch movies. Lately, I have been catching up on the Marvel universe.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A:  I would take them for a drive on Highway 95 starting in Stillwater up along to Taylors Falls in the fall because the colors are so beautiful there, plus you get to see the beauty of the St. Croix River.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: Right now, the legal figure I most admire is Ketanji Brown Jackson, because of what she endured in order to prevail in getting her confirmation.

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

A: I think that the biggest misconception people have is that most of the advice I give is legal advice. Much of my advice is business-related.

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

A: I’m a big fan of “A Few Good Men.” But I actually think my favorite one is “The Pelican Brief,” because it really demonstrates how one person with a single-minded focus and the right partners can make a big change.

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