Beverly Sills once said, “I’ve always tried to go a step past wherever people expected me to end up.”
Taking the metaphorical extra step has made all the difference for Minneapolis litigator and opera buff Nadege Souvenir.
Souvenir tends “to triple-check my files before I go to court.”
That attention to, and eye for, detail served her well in a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration.
“I was able to observe, based on some of the questions they were asking and some of the decisions they were making, what was really holding them up in resolving the case,” she recalled. “We put that forward and we ultimately were successful.”
Another fairly recent, First Amendment victory for Souvenir was her pro bono representation of Melissa Hill.
In 2011, Hill wrote, “Don’t enlist, resist” on the sidewalk with chalk in front of the Federal Building in Minneapolis. Security staff promptly detained Hill, searched her belongings, and issued a trespass order.
The matter settled with the city of Minneapolis agreeing that writing on public sidewalks with erasable chalk is not a crime. Some municipalities have ordinances in place proscribing it on the basis of comparing it to graffiti. Importantly for Hill, however, that wasn’t so in Minneapolis at the time.
Litigation appeals to Souvenir because, “It encompasses working with clients, solving problems, and also getting into court and thinking on your feet. It’s multifaceted.
“And I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s a little bit about winning. Winning is fun sometimes,” she confessed.
Souvenir worked as a grants officer for the Children’s Theater and as local lead for the Performing Arts Research Coalition before law school. “With my background, I knew I’d want to maintain that expertise and experience through my civic work,” she said. Souvenir has been active with the Minnesota Opera since 2009, and joined its board in 2012.