The State Bar Association of North Dakota Summer 2014 Gavel Magazine - Page 14

TOGETHER IN LOVE AND LAW Lawyers married to lawyers bring advantages, challenges TIFFANY JOHNSON VINJE AND JUSTIN VINJE Tiffany Johnson and Justin Vinje met while attending law school at the University of North Dakota. Tiffany, from Williston, and Justin, from Bismarck, didn’t know each other until he returned from military service in Kansas after being called up by the National Guard half way through his first year of school in 2002. This put Justin a year behind in law school, not returning to the classroom again until the spring semester of 2004. “As we got to know each other better, I became interested in practicing law in Bismarck because that’s where Justin planned to practice,” says Tiffany. Following her graduation in 2005, she joined the Pearce and Durick Law Firm in Bismarck. After working with several of the firm’s lawyers, she focused on a specialty of school law, practicing with partner Gary Thune. Justin returned to Bismarck in 2006, joining the law firm began by his father, Ralph, in 1977. He continued to practice at the Vinje Law Firm after his father’s death in October 2009, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury. Justin and Tiffany were married in September 2009. Tiffany had become a partner at Pearce and Durick, and continued to work there until January of this year. She now works with Justin at the Vinje Law Firm, focusing mostly on personal injury. The birth of their son, Kai, in September 2012, was the reason for Tiffany’s decision to reduce her work load to part-time. “When you 14 THE GAVEL have a family, priorities change,” she says. “With Justin being in court almost every day, I decided to opt for more flexibility in my schedule.” Early in their relationship, they say they talked about their careers a lot more than they do now. “We’ve learned to leave work at the office and enjoy our personal time,” says Justin. They say they also have differences in their styles as lawyers. “I’m more of a Type A personality and have a ‘bad cop,’ style. Justin has more of a ‘nice guy,’ style,” says Tiffany. “In criminal law, he finds himself more involved in the personal lives of his clients.” One of the challenges of the type of law he practices, Justin says, is that “you can be pulled away at any time, and time management is always a concern. It’s not always an 8 to 5 job.” “With both of us being lawyers, we understand the demands we are facing,” says Tiffany. “Even while in law school, I wondered about how to balance work and family, and I have learned a lot from presentations by other lawyers, especially in the Women’s Section of the State Bar.” But, as two lawyers and parents, Justin and Tiffany say they are committed to making it work. “So far we believe we have done a pretty good job,” says Justin.