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Fargo native is new lawyer at Shoemaker & Ziegler

UND law school graduate Josh Haugen started working full-time at the Detroit Lakes law firm of Shoemaker & Ziegler on Nov. 1. He and his wife Nicole are expecting their first child in December. Photo by - Vicki Gerdes

There's a new attorney in town, but he's already a familiar face to the clients of the Shoemaker & Ziegler law firm.

Josh Haugen, who graduated from the University of North Dakota law school in Grand Forks this past May, had worked as an intern at the Detroit Lakes law firm before he completed the requirements for his legal degree and passed the bar exam this summer.

"I've known Jim Shoemaker for 12 years," Haugen said. "My wife Nicole is Jim's stepdaughter."

So when Shoemaker asked him if he'd like to come work for him as an intern, Haugen said yes.

"I interned here in the summer of 2011," he said. "This past year was spent studying for, and taking the bar exam."

By September, he had taken and passed the exam, so he started coming into the office part-time to learn the ropes.

"I love Detroit Lakes," Haugen said, adding that his wife grew up in the community, so he's quite familiar with the area.

At the present time, he and Nicole are still living in Fargo, but they hope to eventually find a place that's a little bit more in-between his job and hers, Haugen said.

"She works at Microsoft in Fargo," he added. "We were married in 2003, while I was working toward my undergraduate degree at NDSU."

Before getting that degree, Haugen had spent four years in the U.S. Army, completing his basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., before being stationed in Ft. Campbell, Ky.

It was while he was stationed at Ft. Campbell that Haugen learned he would be going on a six-month deployment on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

"It was a really great experience," he said, adding that while their mission was a peacekeeping one, he did have an opportunity to spend a weekend in Cairo and see the Pyramids, and to spend some time in Israel as well.

After returning to the U.S., Haugen finished his three-year tour with the Army at Ft. Kentucky, then returned to Fargo to begin working on a business degree at NDSU.

He spent three years working at Wells Fargo before deciding to go to law school.

"The law has always interested me," he said of his reasons for making a career change. "Ever since I was little, I thought I'd like to study law."

So before he and Nicole settled down and started a family -- their first child is due in December -- he decided to pursue his lifelong dream.

Though his specialty is bankruptcy law, Haugen will also be working with divorces, drawing up wills and other family-oriented legal matters.

When asked why the law had appealed to him as a career, Haugen said, "I like the idea of helping people through difficult situations -- and trying to make those difficult situations as painless as possible."

Besides preparing to welcome his first child into the world, Haugen also spends his spare time reading and listening to music -- he and Nicole have a dog named Presley, in honor of Elvis, of course.

"And I do like to golf in the summer," he said -- a hobby which he should have plenty of opportunity to indulge in locally, once this winter's snows have dissipated.

"I'm real excited to be part of this community," Haugen said. "Everybody I've met has been really nice."

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454