Jefferson County’s two youngest attorneys team up at private firm
Stegall sells firm to young professionals
by Dennis Sharkey
Oskaloosa has a new law firm with some young faces.
Assistant Jefferson County Prosecutor Thomas Knutzen and former Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Ney have purchased the firm of former Jefferson County Prosecutor Caleb Stegall.
Stegall approached Ney about purchasing the firm about a year ago when he learned that he would be leaving Jefferson County for Topeka and a spot in Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration as chief counsel.
The two recently held an open house at their office located on Walnut Street next to the city offices. The firm is officially titled Knutzen & Ney. The two said an unscientific poll was conducted to determine whose name would appear first.
It’s not the first time the two have worked together. Until last month both worked together in the prosecutor’s office under former prosecutor Robert Fox. Ney has since moved on to take a position with the Kansas Securities Commissioner’s office.
Both met while attending undergraduate school at the University of Kansas at a Lawrence coffee shop during 2004 and 2005.
“We’ve been friends since,” Knutzen said.
During undergraduate school and even after law school the two never thought about having a law firm together.
“We never thought about it until the opportunity presented itself,” Knutzen said.
The two moved the firm to Oskaloosa from Perry for a more central location and because it was close to work.
Knutzen said it takes a lot of night, weekend and in-between hours to operate the firm. Many times Knutzen heads over to the office during the lunch hour or before work.
The two don’t have far to go to see each other during the evenings or weekends. Both were interested in moving to the rural country of Jefferson County and by coincidence are now neighbors.
They specialize in all general law matters except for a few specialities such as divorce.
“Pretty much everything we’ll take a look at,” he said.
Knutzen and Ney are both married and have started families and having the firm does take away from family time.
“That can mean some late nights or early mornings,” Knutzen said. “It’s very hard to limit the night time commitments. You just find time when you can.”
He said it has limited some of the cases that they can accept.
“We don’t have that many hours in the day,” he said.
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