One of the departments we include in our magazines is called “Word for Word” in which we ask attorneys one question and run their verbatim responses. This year one of the questions we asked was, “What advice do you have for young lawyers?” Among the most popular answers we received was to get experience in the local district attorney’s office.
“There are very few opportunities for young lawyers to try a lot of cases in the first four or five years of their practice. As a result, if I had to do it all over again, I would take a job with the district attorney and try a bunch of misdemeanor and felony cases for the first three or four years of my career to learn how to talk to a jury.”
Halberg got his first taste working as the assistant county attorney for Carver County in 1979. Within weeks of his arrival, two of the staff’s five attorneys left. He and another prosecutor with six months of experience were thrown into the fire. “Back then it was great because we would try an average of two jury trials a month,” he says. “I remember doing a closing argument in one case, walking out, picking up a briefcase and doing an opening statement five minutes later.”