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Roverud joins Mankato law firm

By Staff | Feb 21, 2011

Former Faribault County county attorney Brian Roverud stands in front of the Mankato office of the Calvin Johnson Law firm. After 12 years as a prosecutor, Roverud recently joined the firm as a defense attorney.

Changing jobs is never easy. Especially, if it wasn’t by choice.

The drive to work that used to take Brian Roverud of Blue Earth probably no more than 10 minutes to do, now has turned into a 45-minute “mental cleansing” trip of sorts.

But, the former Faribault County Attorney doesn’t mind.

“On the way up I do a lot of thinking, planning my day. Coming back, I unwind,” he says. “It’s somewhat therapeutic.”

About three weeks ago, Roverud started working for the Calvin P. Johnson Law Firm in Mankato.

Brian Roverud’s new office in Mankato is located in a former home which is now on the National Historic Registry.

Following an election defeat in November, Roverud took a little time to recharge from the rigors of a campaign.

However, there was no chance of being a “lame duck” county attorney. There were still cases that needed to be prosecuted.

When he wasn’t in the courtroom, Roverud was filling out applications, sending out resumes and interviewing.

His job of 12 years would end Jan. 1, and that was fast approaching.

For someone who has practiced law for the past 28 years, updating a resume proved to be a self-enlightening experience.

“It’s been a real long time since I’ve had to go out and find a job,” says Roverud. “Looking at my resume, there’s a lot I’ve done. I was surprised.”

Another change for Roverud is that he’s had to change hats, so to speak. Instead of trying to put people behind bars, he’s now trying to keep them out of jail.

He’s gone from prosecuting the accused, to defending them.

And, Roverud doesn’t see the change as a big deal.

“Justice is like a coin. There are two sides to it,” he says. “Our justice system is the glue that holds our community together and it’s too important for people not to have legal representation.”

Pretty philosophical for someone who has degrees in Sociology and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Roverud jokes that his job now is to find the holes in a case and open them wider, rather than trying to plug them.

For awhile, the prospects of finding work didn’t look too promising, with the tough economic conditions and all.

“I was a bit antsy. I like to work and wanted to get back to it as soon as I could,” he says.

Unexpectedly, he receives a telephone from Calvin Johnson, who wants to talk and see if Roverud is interested in joining his firm.

The two aren’t complete strangers, having previously challenged the other’s legal knowledge in the courtroom.

They first crossed paths in the legal halls some 25 years ago when Johnson was the chief public defender of the Fifth Judicial District.

In Faribault County, they battled each other in a notable fraud case about 15 years ago, and more recently one involving arson and a high-speed chase.

“Calvin told me he’s always respected my work, and I’ve always thought he’s a good attorney,” Roverud says.

In addition to criminal defense, Roverud hopes to handle other cases dealing with civil matters, family law, juveniles, child support, tax issues, planning and zoning and child protection issues.

Roverud says his casework involves counties in south central Minnesota, which includes Faribault County.

When asked if that means he might have to again match his legal wits with the attorney who defeated him in November — and he has opposed in the courtroom before — Roverud pauses for a second.

“Maybe. That could happen,” Roverud says with a smile.

This time, he’ll be on the defense team.