Karin K. Ciano

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Karin K. Ciano


Saint Paul, MN


877-389-5533 (Toll-Free)


Karin Ciano is of counsel with Mason & Helmers.  Karin knows from both personal and professional experience that family disputes over inheritance rights have no set pattern: they can flare up suddenly and unexpectedly, or disputes that have been simmering for decades can boil over without warning.  Whatever the situation, Karin is willing to listen and glad to help.

Karin started practice in the mid-1990s as a business litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York City, then taught at New York University School of Law in the Lawyering Program from 2000 to 2003.  In 2003 she moved to Minnesota to serve as career clerk to the Honorable James M. Rosenbaum (Ret.), and after Judge Rosenbaum’s retirement clerked briefly for the Hon. Ann D. Montgomery (Ret.) and the Hon. Arthur J. Boylan (Ret.).  In 2011 Karin started her own firm focusing on federal civil rights and employment cases.  Karin first started collaborating with Mason & Helmers on inheritance disputes that found their way to federal court.
Karin likes going to court, whether state or federal, and understands how helpful it can be for clients to have a skilled guide beside them in the courtroom.  She likes preparing clients’ cases to put their best foot forward in court.  And behind the scenes, Karin enjoys helping clients solve their problems, exploring options that aim to preserve family relationships as much as possible while honoring their loved one’s wishes.

In her spare time, Karin writes the Legal Writing Notebook column for Minnesota Lawyer, a weekly newspaper for lawyers.

Areas Of Practice

  • Contested wills
  • Intestate estates
  • Elective share claims
  • Trust disputes
  • Federal interpleader matters
  • Appeals

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit


  • College of William and Mary School of Law, Williamsburg, Virginia
  • New York University School of Law, New York, New York


  • The “Next Level” Writing Workshops, Minnesota CLE
  • Federal Court Practice Essentials: Avoiding Pitfalls and Putting Your Best Foot Forward, Minnesota CLE
  • Sole Practice Residency Seminar, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Probate & Trust Law Section, member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Solo & Small Firm Council member
  • Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, member

Pro Bono Activities

  • Collaborative Community Law Initiative, volunteer Program Director
  • Fourth District Ethics Committee, volunteer investigator
  • University of Minnesota Extension, Hennepin County, volunteer Master Gardener
  • Headway Emotional Health Services, board member