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General Counsel, Office of the Governor

Up & Coming: Micah Hines

Micah Hines

General Counsel, Office of the Governor

Micah Hines’ grandmother ingrained in her grandchildren the belief that service to their community was the rent they’d pay for their space on Earth.

Hines’ paternal grandparents walked the walk. Juanita Jackson Mitchell, the first African-American woman lawyer in Maryland, filed suits that resulted in the desegregation of schools, beaches, parks and other public places in the state.

Hines’ grandfather, Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., was executive secretary of the St. Paul Urban League from 1938 to 1941 and directed the Washington Bureau of the NAACP. His tireless efforts to pass federal civil rights legislation in the 1950s and ’60s led Mitchell to be known as “the 101st senator.” In 1980, he won the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Jimmy Carter and the Humphrey Award for public service from the Leadership Council on Civil Rights, which he had previously chaired.

Hines started practicing law in Baltimore and was a litigator for State Farm Insurance Company, taking more than 100 trials to verdict. After moving to Minnesota three years ago, she worked for Blackwell Burke in Minneapolis.

But public service called and Hines became Gov. Mark Dayton’s assistant chief of staff in February 2011. Within six months, she was promoted to general counsel. She serves as the governor’s designee on the State Board of Investment, and as the office lead on the Executive Council and Land Exchange boards.

Hines also advises Dayton and his staff on legal issues related to bills and state agencies. She continues the community outreach she started as assistant chief of staff, including working with residents of north Minneapolis.

“I grew up with these really strong influences in the law but they were public servants, too, so I knew I wanted to do it,” said Hines, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2002. “I was always really interested in human rights, civil rights, politics.”

Hines also chaired the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers’ 2010 gala. That’s how Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Maximillia Utley met her. Utley describes Hines as smart, focused, dedicated and dependable.

“She is very motivated, and with her new job, she is more community-focused,” Utley said. “Everyone who works with her, everyone who knows her, is consistently impressed by her.”

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