January 23, 2021
January 2021: Rachel Kitze Collins
Rachel Kitze Collins (she/her)
Co-President, ACS Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter
My upbringing instilled in me a passion for social justice and a love of the environment. In college, political science and environmental studies were natural choices for my majors, although I resisted for a while the assumption that I would attend law school. But after internships in Washington, DC, at Environment America, a local nonprofit in Northfield, Minnesota, and in the legal clinics at William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline), I decided that pursuing a law degree was the best way to follow my passions and make a difference.
I was extremely fortunate to land a clerkship the summer after my 1L year at Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP (“LGN”), a mid-size law firm in Minneapolis with an active environmental and political/election law practice. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2014 and clerking for a year on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, I joined LGN as an Associate. My practice consists of representing public entities and some businesses in complex, often high-profile litigation involving environmental, land use, constitutional, and contract law. For example, our work representing the local transit authority, the Metropolitan Council, helped advance construction of the Southwest Light Rail Transit line, the biggest public works project in the history of Minnesota and a crucial part of solving the public transportation problems in the Twin Cities. I also represent a tribal government in proceedings related to the construction of a crude-oil pipeline, which is proposed to cross the ceded territories in northern Minnesota. Our work there seeks to ensure that, if constructed, care is taken to preserve crucial cultural resources in that region. On the political side, our practice has been moving at warp-speed, as we defend against those who seek to overturn the results of the election and undermine our democracy. I am so grateful to have the opportunity at LGN to be involved in this impactful work.
ACS serves as the perfect complement to my practice. I love connecting and collaborating with other young, passionate, progressive lawyers, from all corners of the legal profession. Along with my Co-President, Saraswati Singh, we have worked hard to not only offer high-quality, substantive, and timely programming to our members, but also to ensure that ACS’s membership, board, and event speakers reflect the diversity of our legal community. And as we finally begin to turn the page on this administration, and look forward to January 20, 2021, I am particularly excited about the role that ACS will play ensuring that our judiciary also begins to reflect the diversity of our communities. We have a lot of work to do in that respect, including in Minnesota, but I know ACS is equipped to handle this challenge. I am proud to be even a small part of this organization that is battling on the front lines to achieve a more inclusive and equitable vision of the Constitution that works for everyone.