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Christina Rieck Loukas earned a master of public policy degree while completing her legal studies. (Submitted photo)
Christina Rieck Loukas earned a master of public policy degree while completing her legal studies. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Public policy background informs legal practice

Name: Christina Rieck Loukas

Title: Shareholder, Winthrop & Weinstine

Education: B.A., women’s studies, University of Minnesota; J.D., University of Chicago Law School; M.P.P., University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy

Christina Rieck Loukas, shareholder at Winthrop and Weinstine, says she likes construction and real estate litigation in part because it enables her to help others.

Loukas’ affinity for her practice has developed organically with experience and through a personal connection: Her husband owns a construction company.

“A lot of my clients are affordable-housing developers, so they are providing services in the community that are essential and it feels really good to help them in that process,” Loukas said.

Litigation does not have to be a zero-sum game, said Loukas, who earned a master of public policy degree while completing her legal studies. She credits that combination with giving her a more holistic perspective in trying to understand and resolve disputes.

“There tends to be a solution that’s going to make everybody, if not happy, at least satisfied,” Loukas said.

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

A. I can talk endlessly about my kids or about baking. I’m a huge fan of “The Great British Baking Show.” Baking is one of the hobbies that I’ve kept up while being a full-time working mom

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

A. I did the M.P.P. and J.D. at same time. I worked in politics for several years before I went to graduate school. My thought was that I’d probably continue working in politics and having both a J.D. and an M.P.P. would position me the best for whatever it was I decided I wanted to do. But I loved law school, so here I am.

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

A. I have been reading for quite some time, “Sisters in Law,” about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor. They were such trailblazers and made so many strides for women that I don’t think I’d be sitting here today if it weren’t for them and the women like them.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. People being rude on the internet. The rise of social media has allowed people to forget basic civility and manners. I find that to be a very frustrating and dangerous trend. I get really disappointed when I see people that I know and respect and like behaving badly on the internet.

Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an attorney?

A. It’s incredibly satisfying to have clients come to you with a problem and being able to solve it for them. I love that.

Q. Least favorite?

A. The adversarial nature of litigation when it gets personal.

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

A. I love to bake. I love to get outdoors, go hiking. My husband and I bought a cabin that we are in the process remodeling, making livable, so I’m looking forward to being able to spend a lot more time outside with my family.

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

A. I live in St. Paul and I love St. Paul. We have some beautiful trails. I love walking along the river. There are a lot of great restaurants to visit. If they wanted to see what I do on a daily basis, we’d probably go to the Groveland Tap, have a beer and take a walk around our beautiful neighborhood.

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

A. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been such a great example for women in the law and, frankly, for humanity.

Q. What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney?

A. There’s an idea that we’re in the courtroom all the time and spend a lot of our time fighting with each other. One, we are not in the courtroom very much. And I try to limit the amount of fighting that occurs. A lot more of our practice is about negotiation and trying to find a negotiated resolution.

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