A TRIBUTE TO LORENS Q. BRYNESTAD

BY GORDON L. JENSEN

This evening, I am privileged to chronicle and reflect on the professional life of Lorens Q. Brynestad.  A biography of his educational background and of his professional life will note that he received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1961 following graduation magna cum laude from St. Olaf College as a Phi Beta Kappa member.  Upon receiving his law degree in 1964, he served our country as a Judge Advocate Captain in the United States Air Force.  Engaged in the private practice of law in Minneapolis with the firm Mackall Crounse & Moore from 1965 through 1992, he became a solo practitioner in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota in 1993, also serving Of Counsel to the law firms of Jensen Anderson Sondrall from 1993 through 2007, and the Red Wing, Minnesota law firm of Strobel & Hanson from 1994 through 2007.  A member of the America, Minnesota, Anoka and Hennepin County Bar Associations, he served as Chair of the Hennepin County Bar Association in 1974 and 1975.  Real estate law was always the primary focus of his practice.  As a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association Real Property Section, he served as Chair in 1995 and 1996.  In addition to serving as a member of the Real Property Council of the Real Property Section from 1980 to 2007, he was a member of the Title Standards Committee from 1974 until his death and served as Chair continuously from 1979.

Recitation of education, bar association participation and service may be the way Lorens Q. Brynestad is defined in a biography of Minnesota Lawyers, but such a biography is not complete.  It does not fully express his contributions to the legal profession, real estate law in Minnesota, nor does it express the profound affect the attorney we knew as Larry Brynestad, had as he touched our lives and how he will be remembered in the hearts and minds of all of us.  I was privileged to know and respect Larry as an attorney for more than 40 years.  I also was fortunate to spend the last 13 years sharing office space, staff, Friday lunches, legal theories, concepts and issues and Continuing Legal Education presentations with him.  This evening I would like to fill in a small part of what is missing from a formal biography and perhaps, help us all understand why Larry is and always will be held in such esteem for years to come.

When colleagues and clients speak of Larry, words are used such as kind, gentle, considerate, compassionate, humble, a nice man, a good man.  These descriptions do not meet the general stereotype for members of the legal profession; however, the words do describe Larry.  They help us to understand the respect and esteem deservedly earned over 45 years of practice.  Larry was not only an excellent, dedicated attorney serving his clients with expertise and professional integrity; he was truly a good person.

As I indicated, Larry served as a member of the Title Standards Committee of the Real Property Section for more than 30 years, and as its Chair continuously since 1979.

Many of you are not familiar with what is referred to as “Title Standards”.  Minnesota Title Standards is the “Bible” for real estate practitioners in Minnesota for determining the adequacy of real estate title.  As laws affecting real estate changed and evolved over the years, Larry was a principal author and moving force in assuring that the standards of practice for real estate title in Minnesota evolved consistent with legislation and decisions rendered by Minnesota courts.  I believe that two books, each with black covers, played a significant role in Larry’s personal and professional life:  the Bible, which guided his actions in all his endeavors, and the Minnesota Title Standards, which he helped author and which has guided and will continue to guide real estate attorneys in Minnesota for years to come.

Larry’s guidance of attorneys was not limited to the countless hours he devoted to authoring and maintaining the integrity of standards for title practice in Minnesota.  Larry actively participated in a program sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association called “Colleague to Colleague”.  Through this program, as well as through many Continuing Legal Education presentations to real estate attorneys over the course of his career, Larry shared willingly his extensive knowledge and experience with fellow attorneys.  On many occasions I walked back to Larry’s office to seek his counsel.  Always his input was insightful and patiently given.

Larry was a frequent lecturer at Continuing Legal Education presentations and since 1983, annually presented an update on title issues and title standards at the fall Real Estate Institute.  For me, and I’m sure for many other attorneys who have had the opportunity to present Continuing Legal Education programs with Larry, seeing his smiling face and hearing his words of encouragement made our presentations easier.  Also, following any presentation Larry was always one of the first to provide us with reassurance that the presentation had been well received.

Last Friday at the Minnesota State Bar Association annual convention Patrick Kelly, President of the Association, presented Larry’s family with a plaque recognizing his many years of dedicated service to the legal profession.  In August if you pick up the publication Law & Politics, Twin City Business and/or Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, you will again see Larry recognized by his peers as a “Super Lawyer”.  Larry has perennially been selected as a “Super Lawyer” in response to an independent survey of practicing attorneys which in effect makes inquiry “if you or a family member of yours was in need of a real estate attorney, whom would you select?”

On November 9th and 10th, 2007, the 25th Annual Real Estate Institute will be conducted.  A Distinguished Service Award recognizing the contributions of Larry Brynestad to the practice of real estate law in Minnesota will be presented posthumously.  No real estate attorney has ever been more deserving of the award.  Larry has truly provided distinguished service.

In closing, I know the planners of the November, 2007 Real Estate Institute are challenged.  A Title Standards Committee Report will be given, but can a Title Standards Committee Report and title update be given on Saturday morning unless preceded by an Ole and Lena joke?