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Law school's writing program adds new professor


August 27, 2010

Kimberly Holst’s first opportunity to teach law students to write arrived four years ago when she became an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. At the time, Holst also was an associate at a law firm in Rochester, and she was raising a young daughter, Elliot, with husband Adam. 

“I knew, as soon as I began teaching, that it was what I wanted to do,” said Holst, the newest faculty member in the College of Law’s Legal Method and Writing Program, which is ranked ninth nationally by U.S. News and World Report. “There’s a positive feeling when you’re working with law students that is a great energy to be around. You get to see a lot of growth in the students, and you get to know them a little more, because there are smaller sections, and by the nature of what they’re doing, there’s a lot more interaction.” 

Judy Stinson, director of the Legal Method and Writing Program, described Holst as “a terrific addition” to the faculty. “She is a gifted teacher and an accomplished scholar, and she contributes in meaningful ways to the community,” Stinson said. 

Holst, who grew up on a farm in Minnesota and is the first attorney in her family, got the law bug in high school, where she participated in mock trial and speech and debate. She earned a political science degree, with highest honors, from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn.

“I think a lot of people always knew I was going to be a lawyer,” said Holst, which is code for being perceived as “argumentative.” 

Holst also has a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Dominican University at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. 

By the time Holst left her law practice for a legal-writing faculty position at Hamline, she had two young daughters, and was ready for a change. At Hamline, in addition to teaching, she served on the Appointments, Promotions and Tenure Committee and the Admissions Committee, and she helped advise the Student Intellectual Property Law Association and the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. 

And although she’s from a small town and a small university, Holst wanted to be a part of ASU and its forward-thinking environment. “It’s really exciting to be in a place where legal writing is valued so highly and made central to legal education,” she said. 

Holst currently is an Assistant Editor of Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, sits on the Institute’s Writer’s Workshop Committee, and is Deputy Editor of the American Bar Association Section on International Law’s International Law Year-in-Review, among other activities. In addition to legal research and writing, she is interested in intellectual property, copyright, criminal law, alternative dispute resolution and mediation.

Despite the absence of 10,000 lakes, Holst has eased into her first Arizona summer with her husband, a producer at KPNX-TV Channel 12, and girls, Elliot, 5, and Lyla, 3. She is looking forward to a snow-free winter, when she will be able to more frequently train for and participate in her other passion: triathlons.