When not working I enjoy family, family, family. They are life’s greatest gift and greatest joy. And, I enjoy those relaxing weekend mornings with my Kindle (when there’s time).
People are surprised to learn I’m not from Minnesota! I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and California (San Diego, LA and Sacramento). I like 110 degree weather- not 80 inches of snow! (My first winter here was when the Metrodome collapsed in 2010, so please forgive me).
How has COVID-19 forced change in your business?
All remote, all the time. Our firm quickly adjusted to working from home, and enabled all 540 attorneys in our firm to continue working seamlessly. Most importantly, this pandemic has created a whole host of opportunities to learn about brand new legal issues that will last (and be litigated) for several years. Becoming a leader in these issues (as opposed to just touching around the periphery) means studying the issues, publishing and connecting with industry members. This crisis has not meant fewer lawsuits (which is surprising). Instead, it has made people more careful and more motivated to protect their assets. So, in terms of my business, it has meant reinforcing the need to get on the phone (or Zoom) with people inside and outside of my firm on a regular basis instead of email. It has also made me help to refocus client’s attention from issues (such as lawsuits) that can wait six months to those that cannot wait (such as getting sued by customers due to market conditions). What was a luxury before is not a luxury now.
What guidance are you giving to clients during these uncertain times?
Two pieces of advice: (1) Cash is king (isn’t it always?); and (2) No one knows anything about anything and no one knows where this crisis is going, so we are all in the same boat. Take risks according to that advice.
What's been your favorite or most memorable moment of your career so far?
So much of our work is done over email, which becomes so impersonal. So, when I had a chance to call a client on the phone and let her know that we had won an important reversal in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (that saved the client a good chunk of money), hearing the excitement and joy in her voice (as opposed to just reading an email) was a worthwhile highlight. Don’t email good news- and especially don’t email bad news.
My ACG Minnesota Membership ... ACG has the best networking events in the Twin Cities and is the best use of your finite business development time and budget. I actually enjoy meeting my fellow ACG members (as opposed to it feeling like a chore or a burden). The people that make up ACG put in the time to get to know you and help you, as opposed to trying to one-up you.
I'd advise new members to Get On The Phone And Call People And not every call needs to be a “pitch” call. Spend 1-2 hours really getting to know someone first. Play the long game, not the “what can you do for me now” game. No need to force something where there isn’t a fit. Plus, so many ACG members are interesting people (regardless of their “title”).
I am a litigation attorney with the Minneapolis office of Kutak Rock LLP; we are a firm of 540 attorneys based out of Omaha with offices in 14 states. I enjoy representing brokers, broker / dealers, financial planners and investment advisers in lawsuits and regulatory actions. I also help RIAs with transactions, and work closely with any investment or securities industry professional to comply with ever-changing regulations. I simply enjoy litigating for my clients (when needed) and helping my clients stay out of costly lawsuits (if possible). My individual practice doesn’t focus on M&A work, but our firm an incredible group of attorneys all throughout the Midwest (many of whom are ACG members themselves) that are middle market M&A specialists.
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT PARTICIPATION POLICY: members in good standing are eligible to participate in the MEMBER SPOTLIGHT hosted on the ACG Minnesota website and shared on social media. If you are interested in being featured please contact Mary Christensen, Membership Liaison at email@example.com