Discovery with Kathryn “Kass” Harstad

Kass Harstad traded in an office on the 81st floor of the Sears Tower for one above a Skechers store, and it has made all the difference

Published in 2017 Mountain States Super Lawyers — July 2017

My nickname is … The kids used to add “-hole” at the end of my first name. Luckily, I outgrew that
after graduating high school.

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … when I was little, my parents made me sign contracts. If I wanted to borrow money (at 6) or the car (at 16), I had to write and sign a contract—some were in crayon.

When I was a newbie lawyer … I worked on the 81st floor of the Sears Tower. Now I work above a Skechers store. But I’m way happier. 

The lawyer I most admire is … my dad. He was always cordial to opposing counsel. After he died, a family friend told me that he yelled at opposing counsel once. The next day, he called the lawyer back to apologize. 

My career high point (so far) … has been forcing a company to change its employment practices and terminate supervisors who harassed our Latino clients. 

If I weren’t a lawyer I’d … be a law librarian. I LOVE research books.

The SCOTUS justice I’d like to meet is … Justice Blackmun, because you can see from his opinions that he—like the law—evolved over time. 

The quality I most like in a lawyer is … a sense of humor. It makes litigation easier. 

A different practice area that intrigues me is … tax law. It’s so nitpicky, I think I’d love it. 

My favorite word is … “peripatetic.” Or “lachrymose.” Or “lucre.” I love words. Growing up, we’d have the Oxford English Dictionary at the dinner table to find interesting words.

I met my spouse … after he was buried—and medically died—in an avalanche. My sister’s fiancé resuscitated him. My soon-to-be brother-in-law and future husband grew so close, he was invited to the wedding, where I met him. 

I can’t believe more people haven’t read … Shadow Divers, by Robert Kurson. It’s about two deep sea divers who found a German U-Boat off the coast of New Jersey. 

I get angry when … I lose at chess. So I stopped playing chess.

The funniest thing I witnessed in a courtroom … was when someone in the gallery forgot to turn off her phone, and when she got a call, the phone started quacking like a duck. It was in the early days of cell phones, so no one knew what was happening. 

My guilty pleasure is … reading People while getting a pedicure.

My favorite song lyric is … the refrain from Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.” I think the song is about being a plaintiff’s lawyer. 

I wish I had invented … When I was about 5, I did come up with the idea of air bags, but I lacked the wherewithal to get them to production.  

The movie line I quote most often is … “Stay gold, Ponyboy.” – The Outsiders

The last TV show I binge-watched was … Shameless. Ian and Mickey are the best couple on TV. 

Practicing law is … the best job on earth, because we get paid to think. 

If I won the lottery I’d … open a pro bono law firm. Or travel the world.

Featured Lawyers

Other Featured Articles

Gregory Cowley

From the Top

Elizabeth Cabraser tackles Volkswagen, Takata and Exxon—and seldom misses a drumming …

Featuring Elizabeth J. Cabraser

Luigi Ciuffetelli

‘I Can Do That’

Elizabeth Ainslie has never met a case she didn’t want to try

Featuring Elizabeth K. Ainslie

Craig Mitchelldyer

The New Oregon Trail

How immigration attorney Stephen Manning is fighting exclusion orders and deportations

Featuring Stephen W. Manning

See More Articles Featuring Lawyers »

Share:
Page Generated: 0.083184003829956 sec