When Patrick Hynes joined Messerli & Kramer’s lobbying shop in St. Paul last year, he arrived with an insider’s perspective on Minnesota politics. Before deciding to go into the law, he had spent six years as a Capitol staffer, working his way up from page to committee administrator before landing in the office of then-Senate Majority Leader John Hottinger.
Hynes, a political science major in college, says the countless hours of poring over statutes and bills triggered an interest in the law. It also gave with him an admiration for the nonpartisan legal staff at the Capital.
“These guys have a fantastic institutional knowledge and I really enjoyed working with them. It was one of the main reasons I thought about going to law school,” Hynes notes.
After getting his J.D. from the University of Minnesota, Hynes took a break from the Capitol and relocated to Red Wing, where he got a taste of the small-town lawyer life. A few years later, he returned to the Twin Cities to take a government relations job at the League of Minnesota Cities.
The atmosphere has become more partisan since Hynes’ first stint at the Capitol but, he says, it’s not as bad as the rest of the country: “You can still sit down with legislators and have a frank conversation about your client’s issues and they’ll still listen and get stuff done.”
With two young children, Hynes says he spends most of his free time wrangling kids. “It’s seems that’s become my hobby, which is fine by me, because it’s very fun,” he says.