Paralegal Alyssa Koenig stands with Mark Breneman outside his law firm in Byron. Photo by David Richards
By David Richards
Mark Breneman, who enjoys cooking, golfing and listening to The Blues, is doing what he loves.
Byron's newest business owner opened his law firm at 505 Frontage Road NE in June after managing his family's dairy farm early in his career and spending nearly three decades as an financial planner.
He always wanted to attend law school, however, and finally pursued his dream in his 50s, graduating from Hamline in 2007.
"I always wanted to be a lawyer and then life got in the way," Breneman, 65, said.
Breneman moved to Byron 27 years ago, and his son and two daughters all graduated from Byron High School.
He and his wife still live here and following five years of practicing law in Rochester, Breneman opened a firm in Byron because he felt more at home.
"I like the environment," he said.
"I don't need to practice in Rochester to do what I'm doing."
Breneman, an avid golfer who has a framed illustration of Augusta's Hole 13 on his office wall, specializes in estate planning, elder law and business law.
His firm is the end result of years of hard work and preparation, including more than 200 trips back and forth to The Cities to attend part time law classes at Hamline.
"I'm glad it's done," Breneman said, of the process that put more than 50,000 miles on his then BMW despite carpooling.
"I just resolved to do it. It was hard because I didn't get any sleep for two and a half years."
Breneman fits right in with his family, who have all set high academic goals and achieved them.
His wife, for instance, has a doctorate degree, as does his son, who is doing post doctoral research at the University of Minnesota. One of his daughters graduated with a bachelor of science degree in dietetics and is in the middle of a clinical practicum at the University of Wisconsin.
The second daughter works in marketing and earned an interior design degree from Iowa State.
Breneman's office features a staff of two, himself and Alyssa Koenig, a paralegal from Rochester who graduated from Winona State.
"I like it a lot," Koenig said. "It's perfect for me."
The Breneman Law Firm will host a ribbon cutting and open house Thursday, Aug. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. with refreshments to introduce the firm to the town and to the community.
As to whether Breneman regrets going back to law school after all that time, his answer is simple.
"I should have done it 25 years ago, but couldn't," he said.