She is ready to serve Faribault County as its new attorney
There is a friendly new face in the Faribault County Courthouse these days.
On Jan. 15, Kathryn Karjala-Curtis began her new role as the county attorney. She replaced former county attorney Troy Timmerman, who has moved on to become the judge for the Faribault County District Court.
Karjala-Curtis originally hails from Glenwood, Iowa, a town of just under 5,300 people. Her father, Jim, a computer engineer, and mother, Lorrie, a high school clerk, still live in Glenwood. Karjala-Curtis also has a sister, Sarah, who currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The precocious attorney says she has always had an innate interest in criminal justice. The idea of pursuing a career in law intensified once she reached high school.
Because of her interest in law, the Midwestern native not only found a career, but she also found the love of her life. Karjala-Curtis met her husband, Ken, who interestingly enough, worked as a local attorney in her hometown of Glenwood.
Married in 2012, the pair met while enrolled in classes at Missouri Western State University. Karjala-Curtis was pursuing a criminal justice degree as an undergraduate student at the time.
“When I started thinking about what I wanted to do, I knew Ken, and I thought to myself ‘well he’s got a really cool job, so maybe I should give that a try,'” Karjala-Curtis laughs.
After graduating from Missouri Western, Karjala-Curtis enrolled into the University of Minnesota’s law school in Minneapolis.
Currently among the top 25 law programs in the United States, Karjala-Curtis received her law degree from Minnesota in May, 2015. She says Minnesota’s clinical law program was vital in her preparation to become a lawyer.
“When you go to the University of Minnesota, they have a really impressive clinical program where you can get a lot of experience actually practicing law,” she says.
Within one year’s time following her graduation, Karjala-Curtis had ascended to the role of Martin County’s assistant attorney.
One of her major assignments in Martin County turned out to be a termination of parental rights case. Ironically, the opposing council in the case happened to be none other than former Faribault County attorney Brian Roverud.
Having just started her new position, Karjala-Curtis says the larger felony case load is what initially attracted her to make the transition to Faribault County.
“In Martin County, the case load was primarily juvenile work, so I did a lot of child protection and juvenile delinquency cases,” Karjala-Curtis explains. “I helped out with the felony cases as needed, but I really enjoy criminal law, so I’m excited about this opportunity.
“Every county does things differently, so just learning the process has been the biggest adjustment,” she added.
The remaining term Karjala-Curtis is serving will expire on Dec. 31. Interestingly enough, the November election is already on her mind. The young attorney remains hopeful she can continue at her new position into 2019.
“It feels like it’s a long ways away, but it’s really not. I don’t know whether or not it will be contested,” says Karjala-Cutis. “It’s going to be another new process that I get to learn about.”
Moving forward, Karjala-Curtis believes her outgoing demeanor will be her best asset in her new role.
“I get along pretty well with everybody and I treat people with respect and compassion,” she smiles.