Our Team

Defenbaugh Law Office Attorneys

Rae R. Bentz


Rae R. Bentz attended the University of Minnesota for his undergraduate studies and attended law school at Hamline University School of Law. Rae practices in the areas of real estate, family law, criminal law, probate, including guardianship and conservatorship, estate planning, and personal injury. Rae is a Real Property Law Specialist as certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association and has over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial real estate transactions.

Rae understands the importance of an individual's real estate transaction, which is often one of the biggest purchases of one's life. Rae also understands the emotional nature of the process when a loved one is lost, as well as estate planning, family and criminal matters, and the importance of trust in the attorney-client relationship.

Rae's practice includes the representation of individuals involved in some of the most important, and sometimes difficult, of life's transitions, such as divorce or losing a loved one. Rae also provides extensive and aggressive criminal defense. He has a vast understanding of criminal procedures for the state of Minnesota, with over 25 years of experience in criminal defense and 13 years of prosecution experience.

Originally from Minneapolis, Rae has resided in Northeastern Minnesota since 1992 and enjoys all of the outdoor activities that the Ely area has to offer, including golf, fishing, hunting, hiking, and spending time with his fiancé and pets. You can contact Rae directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

William (Bill) E. Defenbaugh Jr. (Retired)


William (Bill) E. Defenbaugh Jr. retired in 2018 but periodically consults with us and spends his retirement as a resident artist who has painted a large mural in town and been exhibited in numerous places in northern Minnesota.

Bill was a graduate of Wabash College, where he received his undergraduate degree. He graduated from Oklahoma City University Law School in 1973. Bill did postgraduate studies at Heidelberg University in Germany in the area of comparative law in 1973. He practiced law in Peoria, Illinois, with Westervelt, Johnson, Nicoll, and Keller from 1974 to 1982. There he represented such firms as Caterpillar Tractor Company, State Farm Insurance, and Methodist Medical Center. In 1983 he moved to Ely, MN, to practice law.

He worked primarily in the area of Real Estate, Estate Planning, Medical Assistance Law, and Small Business matters. He was the city attorney for the City of Ely from 1984 through 1997. He was certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a real estate specialist in 2004. Bill's primary emphasis was on real estate, small business, probate, wills, and estate planning. Normally his goal in the estate planning process was to set up his client's estate so that eventually, the family will avoid probate.

Kristen A. Williams

Legal Assistant

Kristen moved to Ely full time in 2016 and has worked in the area ever since. As a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, she began working for Defenbaugh Law Office in 2018 and has enjoyed each new challenge. She is thrilled to continue to serve the Ely area as a Legal Assistant to Attorney Rae Bentz.

  • 107 E Camp St,
    Ely, MN 55731

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