Experienced Attorneys in Bismarck, ND


 
 

In Memory

 
 
 
John A Zuger — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 
John A. Zuger
1940-2006
 
 
 
Thomas O Smith — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 
Thomas O. Smith
1944-2001
 
 
 
 

Partners

 
Lyle W Kirmis — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Lyle W. Kirmis

Contact:
lkirmis@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 | 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Lyle Kirmis has been a member of Zuger Kirmis & Smith since he graduated from law school at the University of Minnesota in 1974. A significant part of his practice is in litigation areas where he handles commercial and construction litigation, non-medical professional malpractice, and personal injury litigation for a wide range of clients.

Lyle recently began representing oil and gas clients in administrative hearings before the North Dakota Industrial Commission. Lyle has tried approximately 50 cases, both jury and non-jury. A significant part of his practice is in litigation for a wide range of clients, which includes commercial and construction litigation, oil and gas litigation, and personal injury defense.

Lyle has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, obtained from the University of Minnesota in 1971. Lyle grew up on a North Dakota farm. Except for his time at the University of Minnesota, Lyle has lived in North Dakota his entire life. As his adult children do not live in Bismarck, Lyle and his wife Sharon dote on their cat Scout.
 
 
Areas of Practice
Commercial Litigation
Personal Injury Litigation
Commercial and Real Estate Transactions
Professional Malpractice Defense
Education
University of Minnesota, B.Ch.E
University of Minnesota, J.D.
 
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State and Federal Courts
Professional Associations and Memberships
State Bar Association of North Dakota
Big Muddy Bar Association
Commercial Law League of America
Trial Attorneys of America
Defense Research Institute
 
 
 
Lance D Schreiner — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Lance D. Schreiner

Contact:
lschreiner@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Lance Schreiner has been a litigation specialist defending physicians and representing hospitals throughout the state of North Dakota for over 30 years and enjoys the challenge of litigating cases that require an in-depth knowledge of both the law and medicine. He joined Zuger Kirmis & Smith in 1981 after serving as a law clerk to federal judge Bruce M. VanSickle.

Lance was born and raised in North Dakota. He graduated from Minot High School, obtained a political science degree from the University of Texas Arlington and graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law, with distinction, in 1979. He has been honored by his peers in several national publications including a preeminent AV rating by the nation's leading legal peer review publication, Martindale-Hubbell, and has been named in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers of the Midwest since the inception of those publications. He is a Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America, a Trial Lawyer Honorary Society.

Lance and his wife, Laurie, have a great love for the North Dakota outdoors regardless of the season. In addition to two children and two step-children, Lance is the proud grandparent of four grandchildren (and counting). When not practicing law he might be found playing golf, trying (in vain) to keep up with Laurie on cross-country skis and biking, or in the fields of North Dakota hunting pheasant.

 
Areas of Practice
Health Care Law
Professional Malpractice Defense
Education
University of Texas - Arlington, B.A.
University of North Dakota, J.D. (with distinction)
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State and Federal Courts
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
United States Supreme Court
Lance Daryl Schreiner Award — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 
Professional Associations and Memberships
Significant Activities:
Senior Editor, North Dakota Law Review
SBAND Joint Medical/Legal Committee, (chair, 1995-2000)
Medical Legal Committee, Defense Research Institute
ND Defense Lawyers Association, President 2000-2002
Law Clerk:
U.S. District, District of North Dakota, Judge Bruce M. Van Sickle
MEmber
American Bar Association (Litigation Section)
State Bar Association of North Dakota
Big Muddy Bar Association
Defense Research Institute
North Dakota Defense Lawyers Association
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
 
 
 
Patrick J Ward — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Patrick J. Ward

pward@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 | 316 North Fifth Street | Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Pat Ward's practice focuses on employment law, ADR, and government relations. His mediation and arbitration practice includes employment law, personal injury, property annexation disputes and insurance. Pat has tried state and federal cases and argued and won appeals in state and federal courts, including the US Supreme Court.

Pat lobbies during the North Dakota legislative session for insurance companies and trade associations, pharmacy benefit managers, and various other interests. He is general counsel for the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District.

Born and raised in Chicago, Pat has called North Dakota home since 1976. Pat and Liz raise horses on their hobby ranch east of Bismarck. They enjoy traveling and particularly bicycle touring to new places. They have four grown children, John, Jane, Anna and Emily.
 
Areas of Practice
Government Relations, Legislative and Regulatory
Indian Law and Tribal Jurisdiction
Labor And Employment Law
Litigation
Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Education
Elmhurst College, B.A. (with honors)
University of North Dakota, J.D. (with distinction)
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State, Federal, and Tribal Courts
Montana State and Federal Courts
Illinois State and Federal Courts
U.S. Courts of Appeals, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Circuits
United States Supreme Court
 
Professional Associations and Memberships
Significant Activities:
Order of the Coif
Editor-in-Chief, North Dakota Law Review (1979)

Author:
Courts-Navigable Waters - State Law, Not Federal, Determines Riparian Rights to Accretions," 54 N.D.L. Rev. 505

Law Clerk:
North Dakota Supreme Court, Justice William Paulson (1979-80)

Associate:
Schiff Hardin & Waite, Chicago, IL 1980-1982
MEmber
American Employment Law Council
Defense Research Institute
National Institute for Farm Safety
Montana Bar Association
 
 
 
Lawrence E King — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Lawrence E. King

Contact:
lking@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 | 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Lawrence King is a partner with Zuger Kirmis & Smith and practices extensively in the area of litigation, with an emphasis on insurance defense for over 25 years. He has represented major insurance companies and their insureds in a variety of actions, including bodily injury, underinsured and uninsured motorist claims, bad faith actions, coverage issues, fire investigation and general litigation.

Lawrence also has more than 22 years experience handling Workers Compensation matters. Presently, Lawrence represents local, regional and national employers on Worker's Compensation matters.

Lawrence has extensive experience in Indian and Tribal laws. He represents Indian tribes and non Indian entities in Tribal Court. He is licensed in almost all Tribal Courts located within the state of North Dakota.

Lawrence was born in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1965, and moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1967. He attended the University of North Dakota and received his degree in Political Science in 1989. He graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1992.

Lawrence has three children, Samantha, Erik and Isaac. Lawrence is a member of the McCabe United Methodist Church where he has served on numerous committees. He has served on nonprofit organizations, including Bridging the Dental Gap, which provides dental services to the needy. He is also served as a member/president of the Bismarck Public School Board for 8 years.
 
Areas of Practice
Personal Injury Litigation
Indian Law and Tribal Jurisdiction
Insurance Law
Litigation
Worker's Compensation - Employer Representation
Education
University of North Dakota, B.A.
University of North Dakota, J.D. (with distinction)
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State and Federal Courts
South Dakota State Courts
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
Minnesota State Courts
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Court
The Three Affiliated Tribes Tribal Court
The Standing Rock Sioux Nation Tribal Court
 
Professional Associations and Memberships
North Dakota Board of Law Examiners (member 2012-present; President, 2015-present)

SBAND -Past President (2006-07)
- Board of Governors (1997-08)
Past-President Big Muddy Bar Association (1999)
Past-President Young Lawyers Section (1994-95)
Managing Research Editor, North Dakota Law Review

Author:
Strate v. A-1 Contractors: A Perspective 75 N.D.L. Rev 1 (1999)
"Right to Counsel - Automobiles: Intoxilyzer Tests held Admissible even if 'Qualified Right' to Counsel was Denied", 67 N.D.L. Rev. 111
MEmber
American Bar Association (litigation, tort and insurance sections)
State Bar Association of North Dakota
Big Muddy Bar Association
 
 
 
Constance N Hofland — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Constance N. Hofland

Contact:
chofland@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 | 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Constance Hofland is a partner with Zuger Kirmis & Smith. She focuses her practice primarily in business representation, with an emphasis on employment law. Connie represents employers on a number of human resource issues including discrimination and harassment, wage and hour claims, employment practices, employment manuals, and hiring and termination. She also serves as counsel for public entities, such as the North Dakota Real Estate Commission.

Prior to joining Zuger Kirmis & Smith, Connie served as a law clerk to the Honorable Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle of the North Dakota Supreme Court. She received her law degree with distinction from University of North Dakota School of Law, and was elected to the Order of the Coif for academic achievement. Connie received her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of North Dakota and a Master of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. Prior to law school, Hofland worked for General Mills, Inc. in Minneapolis and as the International Marketing Director for the National Sunflower Association.

Originally from Newburg, North Dakota, Hofland now lives just a few miles north of Bismarck with her husband, Craig Johnson. Connie helps coach the speech team at Shiloh School and she enjoys traveling, skiing, golfing poorly, and cooking for a crowd.
 
Areas of Practice
Education
University of North Dakota, B.S. (magna cum laude)
University of Minnesota M.S.
University of North Dakota, J.D. (with distinction)
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State Courts
Professional Associations and Memberships
Significant Activities:
Order of the Coif
Case Comment Editor, North Dakota Law Review

Law Clerk:

North Dakota Supreme Court, Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle
 
MEmber
American Bar Association
State Bar Association of North Dakota
Big Muddy Bar Association
Judge Bruce M. VanSickle American Inn of Court
Nutrition Marketing Specialist, General Mills, Inc., 1982-88
Director of Marketing, National Sunflower Association, 1988-97
Author:
Constitution Law - First Amendment - Freedom of Speech:The National Endowment
for the Arts Can Require Consideration of "Decency and Respect" in Funding
Decisions Without Abridging Freedom of Speech - National Endowment for the
 
 

Associates

 
John E Ward — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

John E. Ward

Contact:
jward@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 | 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
John E. Ward is an associate with Zuger Kirmis & Smith and joined the firm in January 2015. Prior to joining ZKS, John was in solo-practice, which afforded him experience in many different areas of the law including Criminal Law, Family Law, Trusts and Estates, Commercial/Transactional and various other areas of Civil Practice. John is no stranger to the courtroom and has appeared for clients at all stages of litigation.

During law school, John interned with Legal Services of North Dakota, where he assisted staff attorneys in the representation of low income clients. John has also worked as a contract public defender in the South Central Judicial District.

John grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota. He attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and received his degree in Philosophy in 2005. He graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2012.

John is married to Mary Catherine Ward and has a son, Edward. John and Mary Catherine are members of St. Mary's Parish. John is an avid skier, sailor and cook
 
Areas of Practice
Education
University of Colorado, B.A.
University of North Dakota, J.D. (with distinction)
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State and Federal Courts
Montana State Courts
 
Professional Associations and Memberships
American Bar Association

State Bar Association of North Dakota

State Bar of Montana
 
 
 
Justin M Balzer — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Justin M. Balzer

Contact:
Email: jbalzer@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701-223-2711 | PO Box 1695 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Justin M. Balzer is an associate with Zuger Kirmis & Smith and joined the firm in January 2016. Prior to joining ZKS, Justin was an Assistant state's Attorney for Morton County which involved prosecuting numerious cases including criminal, traffic and juvenile matters. Justin has appeared many times in the courtroom in all different stages including arguing before the North Dakota Supremem Court.

Justin Grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, graduating from Bismarck High School. He attended the University of Mary earning his degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2008. While at the University of Mary, Justin was a peer mentor and ambassador. Justin attended University of North Dakota School of Law, earning his JD in 2011.

Justin is also the Youth Director at McCabe United Methodist Church where he conducts weekly youth group sessions with youth from grade 6 through 12.
 
Areas of Practice
Education
University of Mary B.A.
University of North Dakota J.D.
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State Courts
 
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
American Bar Association

State Bar Association of North Dakota
 
 
 
Lindy Gandy — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

ALYSSA L. LOVAS

Contact:
alovas@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 | 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Associate
Alyssa L. Lovas joined Zuger Kirmis & Smith in August 2017. During law school, Alyssa was actively involved in Moot Court, Law Review, and was President of the Criminal Law Association.
Alyssa grew up in Chino Hills, California. She graduated from Chino Hills High School, obtained a history-political science degree from the University of Jamestown and graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law, with distinction, in 2017. Alyssa enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to the lake, fishing, and traveling.

 
Areas of Practice
Litigation
Family Law
Education
University of Jamestown, B.A.
University of North Dakota J.D. (with distinction)
Admitted to Practice
North Dakota State Courts
Federal Courts
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Court
The Three Affiliated Tribes Tribal Court
 
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
American Bar Association

State Bar Association of North Dakota
 
 

Our Staff

 
Twila Gieser — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Twila Gieser, RN, LNC

Contact:
tgieser@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Nurse Consultant
Twila Gieser joined Zuger Kirmis & Smith in 1997. With a diverse nursing background, Twila works with our attorneys on medical malpractice, personal injury and product liability cases. Twila received her Bachelor's degree in Nursing from the University of Mary in 1979 and is certified by the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC).
 
 
Brittany Boots — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Brittany Boots

Contact:
bboots@zkslaw.com | Phone: 701.223.2711 | PO Box 1695 | 316 North Fifth Street Bismarck, ND 58502-1695
 
Paralegal
Brittany Boots joined Zuger Kirmis & Smith in September of 2016. Brittany graduated from Minnesota State Community and Technical College in May of 2014 with her associates in paralegal studies. Brittany worked in criminal prosecution and family law before joining the firm.
 
 
Sara Forsberg — Insurance Defense in Bismarck, ND
 

Sara Forsberg

Sara Forsberg joined ZKS in July of 2017 after working for another Bismarck litigation law firm for ten years. Sara is an active member of NALA (National Association of Legal Assistants) through which she is working on obtaining her national certification and is also an active member of WDALA (Western Dakota Association of Legal Assistants).
Sara is a Bismarck native and moved to Fargo in 2000 where she obtained her Associate of Applied Science Degree w/ Legal Emphasis in 2003 and then received her AAS degree w/ Medical Emphasis in 2005.