BRIGGS, RAMSTAD & SKOYLES, P.A.
Law Firm History
Briggs, Ramstad & Skoyles, P.A. is the oldest law firm with its roots in Detroit Lakes. Our firm was
founded by attorney Henry N. Jenson in 1908, at that time the city was still known as "Detroit." It was
not until 1926 that it became known as Detroit Lakes. Mr. Jenson was joined by his son-in-law Bob
Irvine in 1950 and the firm became well known as Jenson & Irvine.
Jim Ramstad worked for the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Agriculture after graduating
from law school at Drake. He joined his friend Bob Irvine in 1953 after which our firm became Jenson,
Irvine & Ramstad.
Mr. Jenson passed away in 1962 and John Quam joined the firm in 1965 making it Irvine, Ramstad &
Quam. The firm became widely known for its expertise in the fields of civil litigation, criminal law,
business law, wills and probate. John Quam has since retired from law practice but while in practice,
he and Bob Irvine helped found the first District Public Defender's office in the Seventh Judicial
District in the 1960's and they served as highly regarded Chief District Public Defenders for many
Bill Briggs joined the firm in 1970 after graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School and
the firm became Irvine, Ramstad, Quam & Briggs. He became Detroit Lakes City attorney in 1987. He
continued in that position until Charlie Ramstad was appointed City Attorney.
Bob Irvine's son Peter joined the firm in 1976 and the firm became Irvine, Ramstad, Quam, Briggs &
Irvine. Peter Irvine now serves the state as a Minnesota District Court Judge for the Seventh Judicial
District with his chambers in Detroit Lakes.
Jim Ramstad's son Charles Ramstad came on board in 1985 after his graduation from the University
of Minnesota Law school. Karen Skoyles joined our firm in 1987 also from the University of Minnesota
Law School and after she served as Law Clerk for District Court Judge Timothy Baland.
Charlie is certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a Real Property Law Specialist. Karen
has taken on prosecution responsibilities for the cities of Audubon, Callaway, Ogema, Frazee, Detroit
Lakes and Lake Park, She is currently the attorney for the Pelican River Watershed District.
Bob Irvine and Jim Ramstad both retired from law practice. Bob passed away in 2005 and since that
time we adopted our present name of Briggs, Ramstad & Skoyles, Professional Association. We are
pleased that Jim Ramstad continues to assist our firm in the office as a valued legal resource and
font of knowledge.
Since the mid-1960's, we have occupied our prime location in Detroit Lakes just across the street
from the north side of the Becker County Court House. While we have had opportunities to expand
the size of our firm, we have made a conscious decision to maintain a size at which we can be a close
knit family of attorneys and support staff who very much enjoy working with each other and serving
our clients and area communities. Members of our firm have served many community and state
organizations in leadership positions like these:
Audubon City Attorney
Becker-Lakes Industrial Development Corporation
Benedictine Health System of Duluth
Boy Scout Leaders
Callaway City Attorney
Cormorant Lakes Watershed District Attorneys
Frazee City Attorney
Detroit Lakes City Attorney
Detroit Lakes Chamber of Commerce
Detroit Lakes Jaycees
Detroit Lakes Kiwanis
Detroit Lakes Park Board
Detroit Lakes Noon Rotary
Developmental Achievement Center
District Public Defenders
Dollars for Scholars
Lake Park City Attorney
Minnesota Association of City Attorneys
Pelican River Watershed District Attorneys
Seventh Judicial District Ethics Committee
St. Mary's Regional Health Center
United Way, and many other community and church-related activities and organizations