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In addition to representing for-profit and nonprofit developers, David Davenport frequently speaks at panels and conferences. (Submitted photo)
In addition to representing for-profit and nonprofit developers, David Davenport frequently speaks at panels and conferences. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Passion for affordable housing inspires specialty

Name: David Davenport

Title: Shareholder, Winthrop & Weinstine

Education: B.S., psychology, B.A., political science, College of Charleston; J.D., University of Tulsa College of Law.

 

David Davenport, shareholder at Winthrop & Weinstine, in recent years has specialized in representing developers in low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) disputes.

Carving out this niche is among the trial lawyer’s favorite aspects of being an attorney, and Davenport credits the firm’s support of such pursuits.

“It’s fun because the firm allows you to develop a level of expertise in a niche practice area when you’re passionate about the practice area, like affordable housing and helping communities give people a stable living environment,” Davenport said.

In addition to representing for-profit and nonprofit developers, Davenport frequently speaks on LIHTC issues at panels and conferences.

In work for clients in other industries, Davenport represented St. Paul-based Candyland in trademark infringement matters relating to its Chicago Mix, which combines traditional, caramel and cheese-flavored popcorns. Lawsuits against three competitors resulted in permanent injunctions barring further use of Candyland’s trademarks.

“I know I did the community good there because everybody loves Candyland,” Davenport said.

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

A. Ask me about my family. We have four kids. Ask me about what I do for a living.

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

A. In seventh or eighth grade my teacher then, Lenora Sadler, made an otherwise dry subject, government, interesting. From there into high school, history classes and government, I started really liking it. Somewhere in there I said, “I’m going to be a lawyer.”

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. When people take themselves and/or this profession too seriously. Or they think they’re somehow special because they’re lawyers.

Q. What’s a least favorite aspect of being a lawyer?

A. We make a living by turning an hour into a wage. Lawyers have hourly rates and as a result we have to record our time, and that’s tedious.

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

A. It centers around our kids, traveling with them. We take an annual skiing trip out west. Camping in the summer. Hunting in the fall. It centers around opening up their experiences to give them a broader view of the community and the world around them.

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

A. I was born in Maryland in an inner Beltway suburb outside of D.C. My family moved when I was about to begin fifth grade to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I’ve always considered Myrtle Beach home because that’s where I graduated from high school. We lived in quiet little neighborhood. The roads were not paved. They were coquina, crushed seashells. We were maybe a mile, mile and a half from the beach. We would go blue crab crabbing. Get a piece of chicken, throw it on a string, drop it down in the brackish water between the waterway and the ocean, catch us some crabs and go home and mom would cook them up. So I’d take somebody back there.

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

A. Judge Renee Worke on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. I moved to the Twin Cities right out of law school with no connections to the community. She gave me an opportunity. I was her law clerk. She illustrated that if you work hard and you do your best and throw yourself all in you can have a successful career. She’s been a really good role model over the years.

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

A. Oftentimes people think, “You’re a lawyer, can you tell me about this?” We don’t know every aspect of the law. We can figure it out because that’s what law school taught us to do.

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

A. There used to be a show called “Boston Legal.” William Shatner played Denny Crane. They were very creative in how they made the legal profession just look ridiculous.

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