Fargo lawyer who endured traumatic childhood now practicing family law – InForum

By | November 23, 2023
Fargo lawyer who endured traumatic childhood now practicing family law – InForum

FARGO — At first glance, Kirsty Liedman’s office at Gjesdahl Law in Fargo looks like many. There are law degrees on the wall, along with family pictures. But there is something here that few attorneys can match. A backstory and a childhood that reads more like a movie script.

“I remember everything about that day,” Liedman said. “Yeah, I remember everything about that day. I remember it was in January and it was very, very cold.”

Liedman still has the Walsh County newspaper front page.

“(W)e didn’t really have heat,” she said, recalling the day of a terrible fire.

“I didn’t even reach for my glasses. I didn’t think. I went straight to the living room (wondering), ‘Where are my brother and sister?’ and I could hear screaming (…) and once I opened my door, then I could really see that it was serious. There was smoke coming from underneath us,” Liedman said.

A meth lab in the house caused the fire and explosion. Liedman, who was 12 at the time, and brother and sister had been living around the meth for some time. She says her family spent the day after the fire avoiding the authorities.

“(We were) kind of on the run for a day,” she recalled. “So we were hiding in ditches and people’s garages.”

Shortly after the fire her parents were arrested. They served time, and Liedman and two siblings started living in a series of foster homes.

“(N)one of us wanted to be apart from each other, so that was the big fear,” she said.

Liedman, like she had been doing for years, helped raise her two siblings. But after high school, Liedman worked and tried tech school, and later, a social work degree from the University of North Dakota. She then attended law school at Mitchell Hamline Law School in the Twin Cities, where she vowed family law was not in the cards.

“(I) did start into law school going, ‘I am going to step away from that stuff, I’m going to focus on me and I’m going to make money,'” she said.

But then she had an expected change of heart.

“And I went, ‘Who was I kidding, who am I trying to fool. I know exactly what I am going to do and what I’m going to get into?’ And I love it,” she said.

Law school graduation, a wedding, where her brother walked her up the aisle, now a family and a new job in family law.

Liedman is currently working at Gjesdahl Law in Fargo with children who have been through what she has.

“It’s always different when you’ve been in those shoes, and you know the trauma effects, and you know the way that things make you feel, and you know just how terrifying it is,” she said.

So, are there days when Liedman wonders how she was able to not only survive her trauma, but be in a position to help others in similar situations?

“There aren’t days, it’s every day,” she says.