Thomas LaehnThe Greene County Attorney’s office increased its staff by one earlier this month.

Thomas Laehn was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Allison, Iowa. He was recently hired as the assistant to the county attorney until he passes the bar exam at the end of July. The 34-year-old graduated from law school at the University of Iowa this past spring. The trek that led him to where he is now is a long and winding road.

Laehn graduated from Drake University with a public policy degree and worked as a lobbyist in the Iowa legislature. He then went to graduate school at Louisiana State University where he earned his PhD in political science. He also met his now fiance Natalie Susan Gaine. Since his speciality is ancient political thought, he found the only job that was available in his field was at Hebrew University in Israel. There he had a visiting research fellow. He was there for one year until he was offered a job at McNeese State University teaching political philosophy. After four years at McNeese State, Laehn says he had to make a choice between getting tenure at McNeese or going to law school. He says his fear wasn’t if he didn’t get tenure, it was if he had gotten it.

However, Laehn leaned on his passion to to become a criminal prosecutor in rural Iowa. So he went to law school at the University of Iowa when he was 31-years-old. One of his summer internships was a clerk for District Court Judge William Ostlund. The following summer, he interned with Skaddn-Arps in New York City. Prior to graduating from law school, Laehn was offered two jobs where he interned. He ultimately decided on the Greene County position because he knew he wanted to be closer to his family, raise his own family someday and rural Iowa is where he wanted to practice law.

As he waits to take the bar exam, as assistant to the county attorney, Laehn can advise County Attorney Nick Martino, as well as write memos, do legal research and write briefs for Martino. He can also assist the Board of Supervisors and other county officials by doing legal research and/or advising them on legal matters. He tells Raccoon Valley Radio what he’s most excited about as he starts his new career.

“I’m most excited about being in Greene County. I’ve lived and worked all over the United States and even overseas for a while. But I’m an Iowa boy and for a long time I wanted to get back to rural Iowa, to become integrated into a community, and just to become an active participant in community life.”

Laehn started June 1st.