Lyle H. Moe

Born in 1953, Lyle H. Moe was raised on a farm near Edinburg, ND where Lyle, along with his brothers, become known as the “Moe boys” for their antics and hijinxs. The survivor skills learned from that experience served him well when he joined the U.S. Marine Corp after high school. After several years of seeing the world, Lyle attended Mayville State and then went on to UND Law School where he graduated in 1983. In terms of his career, Lyle was a bit of a “rolling stone”. He could only do something for a few years before he got bored and had to move on to something else. After law school, he practiced in Larimore, ND for a bit, then back to the UND Law School where he taught and served as Director of Central Legal Research. He was just getting back into private practice when an opportunity arose to receive his LLM so then off he moved to Charlottesville, VA. After receiving his degree, Lyle returned to Grand Forks to open a law practice.

I began working for Lyle as his law clerk in 1997–just a few months after the Great Grand Forks flood of 1997. Lyle had a “good ole’ boy” way about him, but despite this, as an attorney was a bit of a crusader, especially for the underdog. He took on cases which most attorneys wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. He wouldn’t think twice about suing the City or County. Unfortunately for Lyle, his penchant for taking on those type of cases meant he made a number of enemies in high place, so if a client complained Lyle got very little slack. The situation was, of course, not helped by the fact that a large percentage of the type of client’s attracted to an attorney with that sort of practice tend to be malcontents who can never be pleased no matter how hard you try. It made for a hard career in law.

Nevertheless, as a young law student eager to learn, it was a great introduction to law. Lyle would throw files on my desk to work on–so I happily met with clients and drafted complaints, interrogatories, affidavits, and wrote more briefs on subjects you could scarcely imagine. How Lyle really mentored me was placing his trust in me and gaving me the freedom to learn the profession to a degree which quite frankly few, if any, sane attorneys would ever give to a mere first year law student. The result was that, when I graduated law school in 1999, I became the only one in my class with enough confidence and experience to buy an existing law practice right out of law school. The law practice I purchased was, of course, Lyle Moe’s. By this point, Lyle had been practicing for a number of years and, after getting to know him well, you could tell that the “stone needed to roll”. A cynic might say the freedom he gave me as a law clerk really wasn’t about trusting me, but his way dealing with a job in which he was completely bored—obviously I prefer not to think of it that way, instead I remember fondly the times Lyle started introducing me to people as his long lost son, Larry.

After leaving me behind, Lyle moved to the Knoxville, TN area in the summer of 1999. He continued his “rolling stone ways”. He worked as in-house counsel for a couple of insurance companies, then went into real estate briefly before settling back into private practice in Maryville, TN. I saw Lyle in May, 2014 and I could tell he was bored again and was talking about going into teaching Constitutional Law. However, the stone stopped rolling. Despite appearing in great physical shape and having hardly aged a day since I first met him, in June, 2014, Lyle suffered the first of many strokes which ended up taking his life in October, 2014 at age 60. He left behind his wife, Dawn, and their three children (two daughters and a son) as well as a one grandchild with another on the way. Another one lost far to early.