Lynette Carrington 2014-01-06 11:22:42
Groshek Law is a law firm specializing in criminal defense. While there are many law firms that work in this same arena, Groshek law has differentiated itself. Founder Christa Groshek has immersed her team in a synergistic environment that works to serve her clients at both a legal and personal level. By developing a caring and experienced team, the attorneys at Groshek Law provide the finest representation when serious and sensitive legal matters arise. Originally, Groshek worked as an advertising account executive. She grew to think of the work as “vacuous” and decided to move onto law school. “I wanted to work for indigent defendants and I was very committed to working in nonprofits in criminal defense, which I did for all my years of law school and then for five years following graduation,” she explained. Initially, Groshek took a position with the Legal Rights Center in Minneapolis. She practiced criminal defense in the juvenile court and after a year, shifted gears and joined the Hennepin County public defender’s office in downtown Minneapolis. Continuing to work in juvenile court, she worked on delinquencies and represented families in child protection cases. “I practiced there for five years, but it was a great, great training ground for me. There, I was able to get on the felony adult trial team where I tried cases,” said Groshek. “I got onto the felony adult trial team handling everything from DWI to murder and I was able to try more cases than most people that go into private practice because that was the purpose of my assignment-to litigate.” In 2005, Groshek founded Groshek Law and has brought in an exceptional staff. A Legal Skill Set Focused on Juvenile Defense With a solid grasp on legal matters as they relate to juveniles, Groshek kept the focus of the firm primarily on younger clients. “Necessity is the mother of invention. I had this experience in juvenile court and there was a real gap in the field of criminal defense for that kind of work. So, when I first hung out my shingle, I was getting a lot of calls for it. It was a natural fit. It brought me back to the days where I wanted to help those who didn’t have a voice and that would be kids,” she explained. “It’s really important work. We get paid by the parents, but you have to respect the autonomy and the confidentially of the child. We have to work with the family, but the focus is on the child who is the client.” Groshek Law has established healthy connections across the legal field and elsewhere to assist their clients in every possible way. “We have relationships with people in those juvenile communities because we practice there frequently. We also have a team approach where we have at least two attorneys working on a given case at any time,” Groshek explained. There are a lot of attorneys who practice in criminal defense who think that they can just make a jump from representing adults to representing juveniles. “It’s a really different court and to do a good job there, we have to be really familiar with the programming options and differences in the law,” said Groshek. There are glaring differences between defending an adult and a juvenile. “Disposition is one. For adults, the focus is punishment. With juveniles, it’s all about rehabilitation. The county, especially in better economic times, had a plethora of programming. Not all programming is one size fits all. Working with your client and making sure they get the right program could make a huge difference,” said Groshek. She knows that for some children, especially those under 13 with no experience outside of their home life, a harsh program could be devastating. “There are also a lot of procedural rules and a lot of different ways that someone can be charged in juvenile court,” Groshek explained. “There is straight juvenile or there is extended jurisdiction juvenile. Additionally, prosecutors could elect to try and certify a child into adult court. There is a hearing that goes with that before the main trial and you have to know how to litigate that.” In cases where a psychologist is involved, Groshek and her team need to make sure the doctor is a good fit for their client. This is especially important in cases where the state is moving for E.J.J. or adult certification. In those cases, a psychologist and probation agent makes recommendations to the court about the punishment options if the child is found guilty. They will also recommend where the case is heard-in adult or juvenile court. With so many components to the juvenile defense puzzle, the team at Groshek Law has grown to meet every facet of their young clients’ needs and having that trained experience makes a difference. Cases That Require Special Attention The attorneys at Groshek are also keenly in tune with familial relationships and how they relate to their young clients and their legal case. “It’s all about the kids, but working with a 12-year-old, it’s natural for the parents to want to be involved. We have to be able do that dance. It’s pretty delicate keeping the family involved, but not letting them drive the train,” Groshek said. There are also the occasions where Groshek and her team encounter parents who aren’t or don’t want to be very involved in their child’s case. In her days as a public defender, Groshek would encounter parents dealing with poverty, mental illness, chemical dependence or housing problems. These parents couldn’t deal with another issue, so oftentimes the child got the short end of the stick. “Now that I’m in private practice, we get well-meaning parents and for the most part, they’re very good. Sometimes, however, we get wealthy parents, who, like the poor parents, struggle with chemical dependency problems and mental health issues. Sometimes they don’t have the time or the emotional energy to deal with it. We work with the parents to keep them engaged,” she stated. A Firm With a Unique Makeup With the exception of a male paralegal, Groshek Law rocks an all-female staff of attorneys, including Jordan Krogstad and Kelly Moore. “I think that there are subtle messages that are sent when the client is charged with domestic assault or criminal sexual misconduct and they’re sitting next to a woman and the complaining witness happens to be female,” explained Groshek. “I think it’s a pretty good PR move and it can buy some goodwill from the jury. For example, if they see my client interacting well with me and being respectful, it is more information they get about my client.” The trio of women often work on cases together. “We have a team approach, in part, because my staff is made up of younger lawyers. My job as a managing attorney is to make sure I’m not just supervising them, but I’m also mentoring and teaching them. Whenever there is a jury trial to be had, we always have two lawyers on the case,” Groshek explained. “I do this, so that they can get more experience and because I always think that two heads are better than one. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I know how to approach a case. When I spend time with a younger lawyer who has fresh ideas and bright new thoughts, then it can make me rethink things for the benefit of the client.” Groshek manages the litigation, which consumes much of her time. She relies on Krogstad and Moore to take care of matters in preliminary hearings, date settings and conferences. This gives the client a unique chance to work with each member of the firm and become comfortable with them. Those appearances also give Krogstad and Moore additional and valuable experience. “Krogstad has been with me since she was a ‘baby lawyer.’ Before she was even a lawyer, she was a law clerk. She’s been with me almost five years and Moore has been with the firm for a year now,” Groshek said. Challenging Cases and Going Above and Beyond “We have clients right now who are involved in family court, in the department of human services administrative hearings, and in child protection and criminal court. We’re able to represent them on all fronts, keeping the message consistent and protecting them all the way around,” Groshek explained. We have successfully defended cases in all of these areas and cleared names across the board. Groshek Law is head and shoulders above other firms that practice in similar areas. “Most criminal defense firms are one man or one woman shops. There aren’t a lot of people that go out and get associates and have more than one lawyer working on any particular case,” stated Groshek. “What’s great about us is that we have four lawyers (our paralegal is also an attorney). We do group work where we’re all aware of all the cases that come into the firm so if any client calls, we can make sure their questions are answered in a timely fashion.” Because of the unique defense work that is done at the firm, Groshek Law is frequently called upon to lend their expertise to special groups. “I have recently been asked to lecture to university classes from St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota,” stated Groshek. “I’ve written a chapter in the book, “Juvenile Criminal Defense Strategies.” In the spring, I’m also filming a webcast CLE regarding juvenile defense for the National Business Institute.” Philanthropy Community involvement and philanthropy are ongoing pursuits for each attorney at Groshek Law. “We all kind of have our own thing that we do. One of my associates is very active in the Jewish community and we’ve done work with CDSI: Criminal Defense Services, Ramsey County Bar Association and Hennepin County Bar Association in addition to Mock Trial at St. Thomas, Ramsey Volunteer Clinic and Fathers First Clinic,” Groshek said. “We’ve done things for Volunteer Lawyer Network, we provide free legal advice in open air clinics where if people need help, we give it to them. We also engage in regular pro bono cases and those can be random. Sometimes people come in our office and if we’re in a spot where we can do it and there is a need, we’ll work for them for free.” The cases taken on by Groshek Law are often of a highly emotional and sensitive nature. It is the hard work and the personal devotion of the staff that makes a difference in the lives of all their clients and even the clients’ families. What does the future hold for Groshek Law? “I just want to keep growing and expanding the firm and keep getting better. I want to keep working with these attorneys. I’m consistently inspired by their energy and their enthusiasm,” finished Groshek.
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