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Lappegaard becomes law partner

Kent Speight and Jennifer Lappegaard stand near one of their law firm's new signs. Lappegaard recently became a partner at the firm she has worked at since 1992, prompting the pair to change the firm's name from Watson & Speight to Speight and Lappegaard. (Photo by Sarah Gorvin)

Jennifer Lappegaard had been working at Watson & Speight, P.A., since 1998, when she was enrolled at the University of Minnesota. And it’s been at least 15 years since she graduated from William Mitchell College of Law and passed the bar exam.

Now, she said, it’s time that her name joined stepfather Kent Speight’s on the firm’s window.

“I’ve been second-in-command for a long time,” Lappegaard said.

“We’ve talked about it for a long time,” Speight said. “It’s time to get it done.”

Officially, Lappegaard became a shareholder and the name changed to Lappegaard & Speight P.A. earlier this year. But the new signage hasn’t been put in place until recently.

“We just hadn’t made it official until the weather cleared,” Lappegaard said, adding that it’s difficult to paint letters when temperatures are below zero.

This is the first time the law firm has changed names since Speight joined Francis Watson in 1975.

Then, Speight had been working as an associate for Watson, a former city and county attorney and municipal judge, for just four months before becoming a shareholder. Even after Watson’s death in 1985, Speight kept Watson’s name on the firm.

“He was a great friend of mine,” Speight said. “It meant a lot to me (to keep his name).”

Lappegaard and Speight said it’s time for a change that reflects the firm’s current ownership and acknowledges Lappegaard’s new role.

“As a shareholder, it’s important for me to have my name on the window,” Lappegaard said. “We need the comfort and confidence that this is going to continue.”

“I’m not going to be around forever,” Speight added.

In order to fit both Speight and Lappegaard on the window and signs, Watson had to be dropped, the pair said.

“It’s a good Norwegian name,” Lappegaard said of her last name, “but it’s too long.”

The firm’s new name and Lappegaard’s partnership won’t change too much at the long-established law firm, Speight said, including their relationship.

“Since we are related, generally speaking we get along OK,” Speight said laughing.

The pair, along with attorney Amy Anderson, will continue to work in the areas of real estate, estate planning and probate, business and corporate transactions.

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.