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Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop is a principal and the health and nonprofit chair at Gray Plant Mooty. (Submitted photo)
Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop is a principal and the health and nonprofit chair at Gray Plant Mooty. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Nonprofit clients inspire passion in practice

Name: Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop

Title: Principal, health and nonprofit chair, Gray Plant Mooty

Education: B.A., political science, St. Olaf College; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop’s mission is working with mission-driven organizations as a principal and the health and nonprofit chair at Gray Plant Mooty.

From an early case concerning the tax implications of the donation of cattle to Gustavus Adolphus College on, Bishop has focused on working with nonprofit organizations.

That includes determining how nonprofits accept large or unusual gifts like that herd of cattle in her charitable giving practice.

About half of Bishop’s time goes to health care organizations. Those, along with colleges and universities, are the largest nonprofit organizations.

Bishop, for example, recently concluded a multiyear negotiation to update the affiliated relationship between the University of Minnesota Physicians, which she serves as outside general counsel, and the Fairview Health System.

Social enterprises, which Bishop described as nonprofits engaging in for-profit-type businesses to support social objectives, have been a growing part of her work as millennials enter the corporate sector.

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

A. Ask me about my really cute golden-doodle dogs. They’re the light of our life. We don’t have kids, we have Vivian and Lucy, who are sisters. They are an active part of our life. I love to cook so ask what interesting thing have I made lately. Or ask how my golf game is.

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

A. I’m the only lawyer in my family. I’m a really big reader, and that piece of the law is particularly at the front of your career very academic. It’s reading and writing and analysis. [My father’s] advice was to do something that you’ll never be bored with and that always changes. The health law part of my practice and even the social enterprise part of my practice are never the same and over 20 years are very different than when I first started.

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

A. Michelle Obama’s, “Becoming.” I’m an Audible listener to books and just finished, “Less,” which won the Pulitzer Prize last year.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. People who talk loudly on their cellphones in public, particularly on the Bluetooth, walking around the skyway.

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

A. It changes every day. My clients are trying to change the world in their own ways, so that mission-driven aspect has always made me really passionate about my practice.

Q. Least favorite?

A. Sometimes my opposing counsel, who forget that we’re assisting our clients to accomplish something that they decided they want to do together.

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

A. Reading, cooking, golf. I’m a big knitter. I’ve had the same knitting group for over 25 years, with some people from the firm some other friends.

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

A. Since I’m on the Guthrie board, it would include a Guthrie performance. If it was a Saturday and it was farmer’s market weather, we’d do the Mill City Farmers Market right outside the Guthrie doors.

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

A. You’d have to put the “Notorious” Ruth Bader Ginsburg on that list.

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

A. Most people think that lawyers are mostly in courtrooms because that’s where all the TV shows are. This includes my father, who’s always been disappointed that I’m not in a courtroom.

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

A. Not any more. At the beginning of my practice, “Ally McBeal” was on. It was kind of the same, starting out in one’s career. My practice was nothing like Ally McBeal’s, unfortunately.

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