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Breaking the Ice: Move to NJL extends employment law practice

Todd Nelson//July 13, 2023

Portrait of the head and shoulders of Judith Bevis Langevin

Judith Bevis Langevin began her career in public service with the St. Paul and state human rights departments. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Move to NJL extends employment law practice

Todd Nelson//July 13, 2023

Judy Langevin has brought her extensive employment law practice to Nilan Johnson Lewis as senior counsel.

Langevin collaborated with NJL in co-counsel roles for several years while running her own firm. She moved to NJL in June after former Langevin Lentz LLC partner Chuck Lentz retired.

NJL’s practice areas and other resources complement what she offers employment law clients, Langevin said. She also appreciates that it’s one of the largest women-owned firms in the country.

In addition to deepening her collaboration with NJL members, Langevin looks forward to mentoring less-senior lawyers.

Langevin began her career in public service with the St. Paul and state human rights departments. She since has had her own firm or been partner in larger firms.

Name: Judith Bevis Langevin

Title: Attorney/senior counsel, Nilan Johnson Lewis

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

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Those of us born and raised in the South are by nature chatty and by training, polite and chatty. Say anything and I’ll probably engage with you in a conversation.

Q: Why law school?

A: I am a child of Berkeley in the ’60s. It was our obligation and our destiny to save the world. I’m chuckling because we were insufferably self-involved. It was going to be teaching or law school for me. It felt like law school would give me the best tools for world-saving. I never intended to practice law in the sense that I do today. It was a tool that was going to allow me to work on saving the world.

Q: What are you reading?

A: For the most part I’m reading a police procedural or a mystery set in the United Kingdom.

Q: Pet peeve?

A: Hypocrisy, pretty much in any form. Poor grammar and punctuation.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: The relationships with my clients. When things go as I hope that they go, that means I develop a really close working relationship with the client.

Q: Most challenging?

A: Employment law can be pretty emotional. I’m a defense-side lawyer, a management-side lawyer. I work with them when they have been accused of harassment or other behavior that they don’t like being accused of. It’s also emotional for the employees on the other side. I may not believe their claims are strong enough to survive, but I feel for them.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. I have not lived there since I was 17 but have spent much time there as an adult. I’d take them to see Bayshore Boulevard, a lovely 8-mile-long drive around Hillsborough Bay, and then to a Cuban restaurant. Tampa is famous for its Cuban restaurants that have been there 100 years or more.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: The late Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Wahl. She was a lovely, warm, family-focused person who was extraordinarily generous with her time and her care towards, I’m sure everyone but certainly towards the women lawyers who were coming along at that time. She was also a wonderful justice. My mother-in-law was her legal administrative assistant for a long time while Rosalie was on the Supreme Court. When my husband and I married in ’82, we were privileged to have Rosalie perform the wedding ceremony.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work?

A: I don’t think people understand the how much goes into preventing employment law issues and how important that preventive work is. Employment lawyers are at their best when they are keeping people out of trouble. It’s important for us to be good advocates, put together our defense and fight like crazy if that’s what we need to do. But that means all the earlier stuff didn’t get done.

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

A: I’m a big fan of the show “Stranger.” It’s a Korean drama, starring the lovely and talented Cho Seung-woo as a prosecutor who basically saves the world from corruption.

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