Cindi A. Spence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get to Know Cindi:

Why did you decide to focus on guardianship and conservatorship law? Early on in my career, I represented a man who’s 90 year old father was befriended by a much younger “caregiver”, a woman who had convinced his father to change his estate plan to include her. I filed a petition seeking guardianship and conservatorship for the elderly man. The case was extremely contested – so it presented interesting challenges for me as a young attorney. The case was also being closely watched by the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, which was investigating the “caregiver” for potential criminal charges.” I won at trial, where a guardian and conservator were appointed. The “caregiver” was later charged criminally by the Attorney General’s office.  This case sparked my passion for guardianship and conservatorship law. I am passionate about this area because I feel like whichever side of the case that I am on, I am truly helping families and individuals in crisis. I have represented all of the players in these types of cases – the family member who is petitioning to have a guardian imposed, the elderly or disabled individual over whom the guardianship is being imposed, as well as the guardian or conservator (who sometimes is not a family member and is instead a neutral professional).

How do your clients describe you?  I believe they would say that I am prepared, knowledgeable and compassionate. For every single one of my cases, I try to put myself in the place of my client and think about what they are going through and what they want to achieve.  I do my best to keep my clients informed about the status of their case and what they can expect going forward.

What are you reading? I usually have 2 or 3 books going at once – a fun one, a self-improvement type book and a history or learning one.  I’m currently reading:  “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng, “All the Presidents Men” by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodard and “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking (Danish Secrets to Happy Living)

What are your favorite podcasts?  The Million Dollar Plan (financial podcast by Pete the Planner); I’ll Have Another (running podcast by Linsey Hein); The Hilarious World of Depression (podcast that blends depression and mental illness with comedy and seeks to remove the stigma associated with mental health)

What or who has had a significant impact upon your life?  Finishing the Boston Marathon in 2013, just 11 minutes before the bombs went off at the finish line.  I was still in the finish line area, getting my post-race food when the bombs went off. I feel fortunate to have been in an area where I wasn’t injured. But the chaos, terror and emotions from that day are forever etched in my mind. I have a deeper appreciation for life and truly try to be mindful and grateful for each day.

What are you passionate about? Running.  I am an avid marathon runner, having completed 15 marathons. I love training for a marathon.  I thrive on having a schedule to follow and making progress towards my fitness and racing goals.  Running is my me time. It leaves me energized and ready to tackle all that the day has in store for me.

What is your motto or personal mantra? I Mua (pronounced e-moo-ah).  I Mua is Hawaiian for “move forward”.  I found this saying on a necklace when I was visiting Kauai and I loved it.  It resonated with me on a personal and professional level at the time, and has become my mantra for everything – from fighting my way through a tough marathon to dealing with a difficult situation personally or at work.  Progress only happens if we move forward. I Mua.

 

WORK EXPERIENCE

  • Spence Legal Services (formerly known as Matt Legal Services, LLC), Buffalo, MN (June 2010 – present)
  • Johnson, Larson, Peterson & Matt, P.A., Buffalo, MN (Jaunuary 1998 – June 2010)
  • Sherburne County – court appointed counsel in guardianship/conservatorship cases, Elk River, MN (January 2010 – present)
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Bruce R. Douglas, Buffalo, MN (August 1996 –  January 1998)

EDUCATION

  • University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN, J.D. cum laude, May 1996
  • University of San Diego Institute on International & Comparative Law, Paris, France, Summer 1994
  • Creighton University, Omaha, NE, B.S.B.A., Major:  Accounting, summa cum laude, May 1993,
  • Hill Murray High School, Maplewood, MN, summa cum laude, May 1989

BAR ADMISSIONS, PROFESSIONAL HONORS AND QUALIFICATIONS

  • Minnesota, 1996
  • United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, 1998
  • Rising Star, Minnesota Law & Politics, 2004 & 2005

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND ACTIVITIES

  • MAGiC (Minnesota Association of Guardianships & Conservatorships), member (2006 – present), Board Member (2013 – present) and Communications Chair (2014 – present)
  • Rotary Club of Buffalo (2010 – 2015)
  • Rotary Club of Minnetonka (2015-2016)
  • Toys For Tots, Buffalo, Minnesota – Local Coordinator (2011 – 2013)
  • STRIVE mentor (2013 – present)
  • 18th District Bar Association (President 2009-10; Vice President 2008-09; Treasurer 2007-08; Secretary 2006-07)
  • Wright County Legal Advice Clinic, volunteer, 2007 – 2010
  • Volunteer Attorney Coordinator for MSBA Civic Education Committee Lawyers in the Schools Program for Buffalo High School
  • Volunteer judge, MSBA High School Mock Trial Competition
  • Volunteer teacher at Buffalo High School for Minnesota Supreme Court oral argument, MSBA Civic Education
  • Crisis Nursery of Wright County, Advisory Committee, member (2000 – present)
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, member
  • The John E. Simmonet American Inn of Court, former member
  • Tenth Judicial District Law Clerk CLE Committee, former member

OTHER INTERESTS AND ACTITIVES

  • North Saunders Lake Homeowners Association, past president
  • Shirley Hills Primary School and Grandview Middle School, volunteer
  • Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, Victoria, MN, member
  • Word of Peace Lutheran Church, Rogers, MN, former member and Sunday School teacher
  • Marathon running

Ratings and Reviews

10.0Cindi A. Spence
Cindi A. SpenceReviewsout of reviews