With her background in speech, mock trial and debate, Diana Ringuette was groomed to become a litigator even though, deep down, she says she realized she didn’t have “that litigator gene” and an adversarial practice focus might not be the best fit. “I like to be cooperative and solve problems before they become problems,” she explains.
Ringuette discovered her niche when she was still a student at Hamline University School of Law. At the time, the legal job market was in the tank and the job posting boards virtually bereft. Eventually Ringuette spotted a posting for an estate planning law clerk. “I thought, ‘I don’t know what that it is and it sounds boring’ but I took the job,” she recalls with a laugh.
Now a member of the estate planning group at Maslon LLP, Ringuette specializes in estate planning, probate and trust administration. She also spent a couple of years doing commercial litigation — an experience she thinks made her a sharper transactional attorney by helping her identify potential conflicts.
Ringuette says she especially enjoys counseling clients on the benefits of smart planning, like how setting up an irrevocable trust can reduce tax liabilities. “They’ll say who pays the taxes? And I tell them, ‘No one. It’s tax exempt,’” she says. “That’s really satisfying.”
In addition to her activities with various women’s groups and professional organizations, Ringuette volunteers for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. Recently, she set up a conservatorship for a minor whose mother was murdered. Ringuette, who grew up in Albuquerque, moved to Minnesota at 18 to attend Macalester College. An avid cellist, she regularly performs with the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra and also serves on the board of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.