Staff

Karen Fairbairn Nath – Executive Director, Attorney at Law

Karen Fairbairn Nath, J.D. graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1988. She practiced labor/employment law at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis before she went in-house and worked in the Holiday Companies’ Legal Department. Karen then took a lengthy hiatus from the practice of law to raise and homeschool her two children. Karen is originally from Rochester and graduated from John Marshall High School in 1979; she graduated magna cum laude from St. Olaf College in 1983.

Peter A. Foss – Attorney at Law, Senior Staff Attorney

Peter A. Foss, J.D. graduated in 2006 from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he interned with the State Public Defender and worked for the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Peter then gained a wide variety of legal experience working as an attorney in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C. Since joining LAOC in December of 2014, Peter's practice has focused primarily on family law (divorce, custody, restraining orders, adoption) and landlord-tenant issues. Peter graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2001, majoring in Communications with a minor in Philosophy.

Richard T. Wright – Attorney at Law

Rich Wright, J.D. graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1996, where he was the recipient of the pro bono award for his work to help seniors and those in need obtain medical coverage. Rich is licensed in Minnesota, Colorado, Washington, and Wisconsin. His experience includes criminal prosecution and defense, family law, landlord-tenant, insurance defense personal injury, intellectual property, employment, contracts, military, trust and estate, and discrimination. Rich is active in the community and has served on a number of local boards and volunteered for a variety of organizations in an effort to make our community a stronger, better place for all.

Kayleen Asmus – Attorney at Law

Kayleen Asmus, J.D. graduated in 2018 from the University of Iowa College of Law, where she worked as a research assistant in the Writing Resource Center and was a student writer for the Journal of Corporation Law. Kayleen received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado State University with a major in English and minor in History. Kayleen is licensed to practice law in both Minnesota and Iowa.

Catherine Anderson Benscoter – Attorney at Law

Catherine Anderson Benscoter, J.D., graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in 1997, where she was a staff writer for the William Mitchell Law Review. She received a B.A. degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in Scandinavian Languages and Studies, summa cum laude, in 1994. After law school, Catherine was a Judicial Law Clerk in Olmsted County. She then worked as a Staff Attorney at the Office of Administrative Hearings in St. Paul, where her focus was on agency law, including legal research and writing and agency rulemaking. After staying at home with children, Catherine returned to work as a law librarian at the Olmsted County Law Library, and then as an Assistant City Attorney in the Rochester City Attorney’s Office. Catherine was born and raised in Rochester and continues to call Rochester home.

Kristy Arndt Turner – Office Administrator

Kristy Arndt Turner started working as the LAOC Office Administrator in 2008. Kristy is responsible for the office case management system, grant invoicing and billing, payroll and bookkeeping, as well as the office IT work. Previously, she worked for 16 years as a legal assistant for attorney Mary Alice Richardson. Outside of LAOC, Kristy has been a very active Girl Scout volunteer and was the Service Unit Manager for the Kasson-Mantorville Service Unit for several years. She enjoys running, gardening, reading and traveling.

Samantha D. Sas, Volunteer Coordinator

Samantha D. Sas, J.D., graduated from Pace Law School in 1999. She went on to work as a writer and editor for The Environmental Law Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2003 she began working at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., as the Special Assistant to the Director of Civil Enforcement. She moved to Dallas, TX, in 2005 where she continued to work for the EPA in civil enforcement, focusing on Clean Water Act violations. She graduated from Tufts University in 1995 with a double major in Sociology and Environmental Studies.

Samantha Fletcher – Legal Assistant, Support Staff Supervisor

Samantha Fletcher graduated Magna Cum Laude from Winona State University in 2021. She completed her degree with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. She graduated high school concurrent with her associates degree from RCTC in 2019 earning Summa Cum Laude. She is responsible for intakes, phones, and assisting those where they need it.

Laisha Sanchez Romero – MN Certified Paralegal

Laisha Sanchez Romero received her bachelor's degree from Winona State University in 2022 majoring in Legal Studies and is a first generation college student in her family. Laisha is also fluent in Spanish. She has been serving in the Minnesota National Guard since 2019. Laisha plans on continuing her career in both the military and in legal services.

Carter Pasternak – Legal Assistant

Carter Pasternak graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2022 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science. Carter plans on attending law school in the near future. Outside the office, Carter enjoys staying active, watching films and reading.

Nathan Hines - Attorney at Law (Volunteer Staff Attorney)

Nathan Hines graduated magna cum laude from Mitchell Hamline University in 2020. Nathan received a Bachelor of Arts from Seattle University with a major in chemistry and a Masters of Jurisprudence in Health Law from Loyola University Chicago. Nathan is licensed to practice law in Minnesota. Nathan first volunteered with LAOC during a Wills Clinic when he was a student at Mitchell Hamline.  After obtaining his license, he returned to LAOC to further his experiences in the legal community and provide support to LAOC to ensure that access to legal assistance can be a reality for all in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

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