From her new office in Minot City Hall, attorney Kelly Hendershot is prepared to make a strong case for her hometown.
"I like Minot," said Hendershot, who considers it a win to have been able to relocate back to Minot as assistant city attorney. She assumed duties of the newly created position Jan. 16.
Hendershot graduated from Bishop Ryan High School in 2003 and earned a degree in English with minors in history and political science from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. She graduated from the University of North Dakota Law School in 2010.
Kelly Hendershot sits in her office in Minot City Hall. She started as Minot’s assistant city attorney Jan. 16.
Hendershot traces her interest in law to her love for writing and to her roots.
"I have a few different family members who are attorneys, both in North Dakota and Illinois. They all do different things," she said. "I kind of liked the idea that you could do so many different things with a law degree."
Her first job was as law clerk in the Cass County Judicial District in Fargo, where she gained experience both in civil and criminal law.
"I liked both so I was just kind of torn which way to go. The (city of Minot) job description said it would be doing civil and criminal so that was something that interested me," she said. "This was a good opportunity. It was something that I was interested in doing."
Her first month on the job has seen her largely occupied in the criminal end of municipal law. She has been representing the city in municipal court, where most violations fall into the category of misdemeanors, including traffic offenses and driving under the influence cases. Her present job differs from her former clerking in the amount of responsibility. Her research still has to satisfy the judge, but now decisions weigh in the balance.
Hendershot said it has helped her to work with city attorney John Van Grinsven, who has considerable experience in civil and criminal law through his work with Minot and previously as Ward County state's attorney.
"We are glad she is here," Van Grinsven said of Hendershot. He noted the increasing workload in his office with the city's growth. The number of cases on the criminal side particularly has shown a marked increase, he said.
The City of Minot used to contract with the Ward County State's Attorney's Office for help with criminal cases, but that ended after the city hired Van Grinsven in late 2008. Most larger cities have separate attorneys to handle civil and criminal matters, Van Grinsven said.
Hendershot looks forward to getting more involved and doing more research and writing, which are the aspects of legal work that drew her into the profession. She already has written briefs for the North Dakota Supreme Court and anticipates the possibility of appearing before the court someday.
She also is eager for Moorhead schools to reach summer break. Her husband, Chauncy, a history teacher in Moorhead and a Minot native, will be joining her in Minot at the end of the term.