Paul Legler grew up in rural North Dakota. He was educated at the University of North Dakota, University of Minnesota, and Harvard University. He started his career as a poverty and civil rights attorney, representing migrant farm workers and indigent people throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. He received a number of awards for his excellence in advocacy for the poor. In 1990 Legler was awarded a Bush Leadership Fellowship and attended Harvard University where he later became a Senior Policy Analyst at the Malcomb Wiener Center for Social Policy. He served as a policy adviser in President Clinton's Administration for eight years where his work focused on welfare and child support enforcement reform. He and his wife Julie currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he works as a writer and public policy consultant. Julie is a Professor at St. Olaf College. They are proudest of raising three wonderful children.