Smith, Paulson, O’Donnell & Erickson, PLC
Monticello, MN, United States
Field: Family Law and Criminal Defense
“I care about my clients. They are each an individual person to me and their problems are real. Everyone is important,” says Attorney Jacob T. Erickson, JD of his career as a lawyer in family law and criminal defense. Mr. Erickson handles cases that focus primarily on divorce, child custody, child protection and child support amongst other law matters. In addition, Mr. Erickson serves criminal defense clients, and as a former prosectuor, he is able to offer highly competent protection of constitutional and statutory rights. He is a seasoned lawyer with more than 10 years worth of experience. For the past two years, Mr. Erickson has been a partner at the firm Smith, Paulson, O’Donnell & Erickson, PLC.
Mr. Erickson received a JD from William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul in 2003. Later that same year, he was admitted to practice law in the state of Minnesota. He always possessed the inclination to help others, especially those in crisis, and became involved in the profession of family law and criminal defense so he could help people in a meaningful way. By the time he was a teenager, Mr. Erickson knew that he wanted to pursue the career path of a lawyer. One of his college advisers aided this pursuit by placing a belief in him that he would make a great lawyer. He is licensed to practice in the Federal District Court for the State of Minnesota, as well as all county and appellate courts in Minnesota. In addition, Mr. Erickson is a former city prosectuor. He attributes his success in the industry to his keen focus and care for his clients. Mr. Erickson stresses that he does not judge his clients and believes each of them to be a good person, no matter what case he is handling. He has been fortunate enough throughout his career to have mentors. “Everyone I’ve worked with has taught me something,” explains Mr. Erickson. He cites that the second firm he worked at taught him to be a people-person and to learn from everyone he possibly could. Mr. Erickson also mentions retired Judge Thomas Poch, a family friend, as someone who taught him to build up his arguments and make a case, and to “put the time in to build [the argument] and make it right.”
Mr. Erickson’s genuine enthusiasm with lending his services to help others stems from his motivation to have “the opportunity to make a difference in the world.” He maintains the notion that each client is important and each individual case matters. Often, Mr. Erickson’s clients may find themselves in serious cases of misdemeanor or child protection, and he gives all of them the same courtesy and care. After years in the business, Mr. Erickson is aware of the impact that these cases can have on a person’s life and future, and makes it his mission to find a positive resolution.
“The hardest thing is that law school doesn’t teach you how to be an attorney. You have to find other attorneys to help you,” explains Mr. Erickson of the challenges he has faced in pursuit of his thriving career. “You have to go out there and learn from judges and other attorneys. [School] doesn’t teach you how to argue. You don’t really have real-world experience until you do it yourself, and see how courts and other lawyers function and work.” Another issue facing the law profession is consistency. “There becomes a point where being a lawyer or judge becomes routine and you’re not thinking. It’s not a science, and you can’t do it the same every time. Even though the facts might be the same, every case is different. It’s a gamble, there’s no rhyme or reason to it.” Mr. Erickson’s advice to upcoming lawyers in the field of family law or criminal defense is to work harder and be smarter than the opposing side. The success of a case is awarded to the attorney who fights for it. He also reccommends being prepared for the daily onslaught of potentially heartwrenching stories. “You have to be resilient to deal with human misery. You are subjected to hear and see bad things daily. People are in a state of chaos, and you can’t get mad or upset otherwise you do the client a disservice,” Mr. Erickson advises.
Mr. Erickson is affiliated with the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association and the John E. Simonett American Inn of Court. Due to his outstanding efforts in the field, Mr. Erickson has been recognized with various honors. In 2014, he was listed in both the Ten Best Attorneys for the State of Minnesota for the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys and the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. Mr. Erickson has been acknowledged in the Top 40 Under 40 in The National Trial Lawyers, and from 2009 through 2010 was named as one of the Top Young Attorneys from Super Lawyers. In addition, he has a Superb Rating on AVVO.com.
In the years to come, Mr. Erickson intends to expand the firm and continue to do what he loves, which is helping all his clients find a brighter, happier future.