Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Breaking the Ice: HCBA leader giving back, paying forward

Todd Nelson//August 17, 2023

Nicole Kettwick

Nicole Kettwick, a partner at Brandt Kettwick Defense, is president of the Hennepin County Bar Association. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: HCBA leader giving back, paying forward

Todd Nelson//August 17, 2023

Nicole Kettwick, the new president of the Hennepin County Bar Association, said a sense of obligation and gratitude has motivated her to pursue leadership roles with the group.

“The Hennepin County Bar Association has played a pivotal role in shaping my professional growth and development,” Kettwick said, through its support, resources, camaraderie and mentorship.

“I’ve gained so much from HCBA that I feel a desire to give back in any way that I can and pay it forward,” Kettwick said.

Kettwick, a partner at Brandt Kettwick Defense, said priorities in her term include maintaining the association’s continuity, growth and financial stability; empowering members through development, networking and mentorship opportunities; promoting access to justice; and strengthening connections with the judiciary, all legal professionals and community leaders.

She also wants to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession and engage the next generation of lawyers and law students.

Name: Nicole Kettwick

Title: Partner, Brandt Kettwick Defense; president, Hennepin County Bar Association

Education: B.A., philosophy and sociology, University of St. Thomas; J.D., University of St. Thomas School of Law

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: I love to talk about my three kids. I also love talking about my job. It’s interesting, it’s meaningful and it’s a big part of my identity. I love traveling, and I love food.

Q: Why law school?

A: Growing up in a household where my dad was a lawyer and both my mom and my dad instilled in me the importance of standing up for what is right, I developed a deep appreciation for the law and its capacity to bring about justice and positive change. Witnessing my dad’s commitment to his clients, to do what’s right and uphold the principles of fairness, left a profound impact on me. It inspired a desire to follow in his footsteps and contribute to society and leave the world in a better place than I found it.

Q: What are you reading?

A: “King of Spies.” It’s nonfiction about the Korean War. My great uncle is the main subject of the book, and my father was named after him, Don Nichols.

Q: Pet peeve?

A: I don’t like people leaving seconds on the microwave instead of hitting cancel or closing it and it’s flashing. Or putting dishes in the dishwasher haphazardly, that drives me nuts too.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: After a case, getting a hug or a card from a client and connecting with somebody about how far they’ve come since they first met with me. It is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Q: Most challenging?

A: Feeling like I didn’t do enough for my clients. Sometimes, they’re in a position where things could get a lot worse, and you resolve their case in a manner that I don’t want to see, but it’s the best option for them.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: I love sports. I’m into pickleball but also like tennis, softball, basketball, or even board games, anything competitive.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: I’d probably bring somebody to First Avenue for a concert.

Q: Legal figure you admire?

A: RBG. [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] is such an influence. I would include any woman that went to law school over 30 years ago. There are still challenges that many of us face but a lot of women paved the way for the rest of us to have it a lot easier.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work?

A: A lot of people, especially outside of the legal community believe that criminal defense lawyers are just “trying to get somebody off.” That’s not exactly what we do. The other one that always makes me laugh is when people ask me if I agree with the crime. I don’t, by the way, most of the time. I don’t necessarily agree with my clients’ behavior all the time, but I think they deserve a defense.

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

A: “My Cousin Vinny.” I could watch that over and over again and I’ll laugh every time.

Top News

See All Top News

Legal calendar

Click here to see upcoming Minnesota events

Expert Testimony

See All Expert Testimony