How Ron Meshbesher Led Me to Family Law

In the latest issue of Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine, Minneapolis ADR specialist Marty Swaden discusses his sidelight as a singer and theatrical performer for, among others, Minnesota Opera Company. Another interesting aspect of Swaden's story involves Ron Meshbesher, the legendary Minnesota attorney who died last month at the age of 85. Here's what Swaden recalls about meeting the Minnesota legal giant, and how it changed his life.

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In Swaden's Words

I did not graduate in the top 10 of my graduating class. I did well, but not that well. I was sending out letters and getting no responses. So I said to myself, "You might have to start knocking on doors-and whether that will work or not, I don't know." So I started knocking on doors.

I thought at that point in time I may want to do criminal law, so I went to the Meshbesher Law Firm. I didn't have any appointments, so I sat in the waiting room. I waited to talk to Ron Meshbesher for eight hours. I got there at 9 in the morning, and at 5 or 6 in the evening, he returned from wherever he was-court appearance or whatever. The woman at the front desk asked if he'd be willing to spend a little time with me. He said, "Sure," so we went into his office.

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When he found out that I had a singing background, he just lit up like a Christmas tree. "Tell me about it! What did you do and where did you sing?! What is it like when people start applauding?!" I thought to myself, "This guy is a frustrated performer. He's a great lawyer-that's why he does well at what he does, but he's really into this." He couldn't care less where I went to law school and what work I was interested in. He just honed in on the performing.

I was there about an hour, and at the end he said, "Well, I've got an opening here in family law. I don't know if that's anything you're interested in."

I would have said, "Fine," to anything he said.

Read more about Swaden's career as a performer in the latest issue of Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine. You can also check our past coverage of Ron Meshbesher--a Q&A we did in 2007, and some excerpts from that same interview we released last year.