Meet HCBA Member. . . Marian Saksena

by Nick Hansen | Aug 09, 2018
Marian Saksena feels blessed that she knows exactly why she became a lawyer. “I went to law school specifically to be able to give voice to children,” she said. “I worked with kids that were vulnerable in some different capacities and I just really saw that kids were affected by the legal process, but it seemed like they rarely had a voice.”

Saksena is currently a partner at Dewalt, Chawla + Saksena and she serves as the co-chair of the HCBA Juvenile Law Section. Helping young people has been the main thread of her career. During law school, she volunteered as a Guardian ad litem for abused children and was a law clerk at the Children’s Law Center (CLC) of Minnesota. She has two decades of experience in the area of juvenile and family law, and she has served on numerous statewide committees on children’s issues.

Saksena first got involved with the HCBA in law school. Her boss at the Children’s Law Center, Gail Chang Bohr, brought her to an HCBA event. “I feel like that was my introduction to the law world,” she said. “I realized from that all these people from diverse practices could come together. Even as a law student, I felt embraced as a member of the legal community.”

In addition to juvenile law, Saksena also practices family law.  Throughout her career, the HCBA has been a key resource to helping her stay up to date in both areas. “Through the HCBA and other opportunities, I was able to learn more about what I needed to know as a practitioner,” she said.

As the Juvenile Law Section co-chair, she hopes she can get more attorneys involved in that practice area. “I would like juvenile court to be demystified so that more people would be open to learning and then helping either through pro bono, low fee or even market rate representation,” she said. Saksena noted that there is a huge unmet need for the representation of children, foster parents and relatives in juvenile protection matters.

Even though the Juvenile Law bar is small, Saksena believes that there are lots of opportunities to get involved in the area.  “I think participation in the HCBA Juvenile Law Section is complementary for people who are in private practice that are also CLC volunteers who want to come learn more substantive aspects of the law or practice tips,” she said.

Even after nearly two decades of practicing, she still knows exactly why she does the work she does. “I love helping people,” she said. Throughout her career, Saksena has enjoyed assisting people and helping them go on with their lives, despite the adversities: “it’s wonderful to get to see human growth and human change. I  can serve as a catalyst for people's growth or recovery or movement forward.”  Saksena observed that much has been written about trauma and its long-term negative effects.  She went on to emphasize that there  is also the phenomenon of “post-traumatic growth,” and juvenile law attorneys have the opportunity to help foster this through their work with clients.