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ICON Awards 2022: Julianne Platz Hand – Kramer, Hand, Buchholz & Partney

Julianne HandWhen Juli Hand enrolled in vocational school to earn a legal secretarial certificate in 1977, she didn’t envision that one day she would start a law firm in suburban St. Louis or be on a ballot running for circuit judge. Instead, Hand’s career has been a topsy-turvy path to the top that proves the age-old idiom, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“I had always wanted to be an attorney, but I didn’t start out that way,” recalled Hand. “I started with such humble beginnings that I thought being a legal secretary was the best I would be able to do.”

The Veterans Administration offered her a job, and after boarding her first ever flight, Hand left Minnesota for Washington D.C. to start her career as a legal secretary and paralegal. However, after five years, she returned to her rural roots as her new husband’s career relocated them to Nebraska. After that, the moves started stacking up, and Hand realized that she needed to earn that college degree if she was ever going to fulfil her dreams of becoming a lawyer.

After graduating with honors from Oklahoma State University, Hand accepted a full Merit Tuition Scholarship from the University of Tulsa. Law school was 75 miles from home, but she figured the degree was worth the drive. Then, in her second year, she faced another test when she found out a baby was on the way. “I was on the student bar association and law review,” said Hand. “I did everything I could think of to put on a resume, I did internships in the summer, and I was like, ‘oh no, I’m pregnant!”

Nevertheless, she received awards in legal writing and health law and finished in the top 15% in her class while growing her family.

Her husband’s relocations continued, and Hand started collecting bar admissions in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Missouri. “I took my third one and said, ‘Okay, this is it, we are not moving from this state.”

While raising children and sheep on 17 acres in Jefferson County, Hand has spent 20 years building Kramer, Hand, Buchholz & Partner, LLC, a firm with nine full-time attorneys and four offices. She looks for candidates that “can hold it all together” and prefers self-starters over academics. “They are going farther in life than someone who has all the education but no work ethic.”

And if anyone can attest to the power of perseverance, it’s Juli Hand.

ICON Awards 2022