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David Aafedt

Breaking the Ice: Consumer protection, public policy fuel career

Name: David Aafedt

Title: Shareholder, Winthrop & Weinstine

Education: B.A., government, Pomona College; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

David Aafedt’s practice at Winthrop & Weinstine builds on his eight years in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

Aafedt’s focus on regulatory matters and business, consumer and nonprofit litigation also serves him well as chairman of the board of directors of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Minnesota and North Dakota.

Last month, Aafedt was elected to his fifth term as board chair. He also has served on the finance and executive committees and as board vice chair.

“One thing I enjoyed as an assistant attorney general was ensuring integrity and trust in the marketplace as it relates to consumers, and I continue to enjoy that today,” Aafedt said. “[The BBB] is another way to continue to impresses upon individuals and businesses the importance of trust and integrity when dealing with your customers and constituents.”

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. The easiest way is to walk up and say hello. I think I’m one of the most easily approachable people you can come across. I’ve never been considered a wallflower.

Q. What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A. When I started college I was interested in government and public policy. As I was coming up on the end of my college career, I looked at what my father had done as an attorney and a mediator for 40-plus years with his own firm here in town and thought there was no better way to continue to explore my interest in government, policy and the law.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. Pretty much any book that is a nonfiction historical-type book. “Unbroken” and “The Boys in the Boat” are probably my two favorite most recently read books.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. The biggest pet peeve, not speaking at the national level, is abuse of power and abuse of authority. One of the attorneys general I worked for always instilled in us that you are vested, whether as an assistant attorney general or regulator, with a tremendous amount of power and to use it judiciously.

Q. What are your most favorite and least favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A. My favorite part of my profession is that I’m really fortunate to work with a phenomenally talented group of individuals. But practicing law is a lot of work.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. Spending time with my family, usually at a sporting event supporting my children or my wife, who is the head soccer coach for the Edina girls’ varsity team. I also do tremendously enjoy my college buddies’ golfing trips.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A. I grew up in southwest Minneapolis, and there is nothing more beautiful at any time of the year than the lakes area. I would take them around the lakes by walk, bike or auto and then stroll them up and down through the various neighborhoods including where I live now, the 50th and France area, where my mom had a bookstore for 15 years while I was growing up.

Q. Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most—and why?

A. My dad [Michael Aafedt]. He practiced law for 40 years. He’s a tremendous role model. He always impressed upon me the importance of being fair to everybody.

Q. Where do you like to eat lunch?

A. I like to go get food truck food with my colleagues and bring it back up or sit downstairs somewhere casual.

Q. What if any is your favorite depiction of the law or the legal professional in popular culture?

A. “A Few Good Men” was a phenomenally well-written and acted movie. There’s a scene where the Minnesota Twins are playing the Baltimore Orioles. [That 1991 game] ended the Twins’ 15-game winning streak that year but that was still the year the Twins ended up going on to win the World Series.

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