Name: Breia Schleuss
Title: Partner, Faegrfe Baker Daniels
Education: B.A., economics and political science, St. Olaf College; J.D., University of St. Thomas
Breia Schleuss, partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, has been named co-leader of the firm’s food and agribusiness practice.
In that role Schleuss helps develop strategy for a team of 150 lawyers that spans disciplines and offices to serve clients internationally.
The team’s specialists “really have the pulse of the industry,” working in litigation and transactions and knowing “everything about food safety and recalls, dairy and protein and ethanol,” Schleuss said.
Schleuss continues her cross-sectional commercial practice focused on deal and lending work. Her interest in law and what would become her practice area stems from her experience launching a nonprofit organization at St. Olaf that continues to connect alumni with students.
“From there I was hooked,” Scheuss said. “I knew I wanted to go down that road.”
Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?
A: I love spending time with my family and friends, so when I hear the things people are doing in the community, at new restaurants or the places they’re traveling to, I’m all ears.
Q: What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?
A: It was that moment of creating the nonprofit, seeing how the law can frame a structure in which different parties can operate hopefully effectively.
Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?
A: I’m revisiting the James Harriot books; “All Creatures Great and Small.” My friends and I just finished “Design Your Life.” Two Stanford professors wrote that book coming out of their design course, and Faegre has a design lab where we partner with Stanford. [The book] uses a collaborative approach to being creative and being willing to try new things.
Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?
A: Any time people don’t treat people the way that they want to be treated.
Q: What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?
A: I love helping others. I help people create a deal or find the financing to run the plant or to start up that new construction project. I love working with smart people including our colleagues as well as our clients.
Q: Least favorite?
A: I wish I had more time. There’s always more we want to be able to do.
Q: What’s a favorite activity outside your job?
A: I love spending time with my family and my friends. I have a young daughter who recently learned how to bike longer distances. We love to go on bike rides together as a family. We love to be outdoors. My daughter and I are both learning how to downhill ski.
Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?
A: Any of the lakes. Biking, walking, or paddle boarding. I love to go paddle boarding in the summer. Canoeing or boating. I love to take them to the Art Shanty project or a show at the Cowles center or the MIA [Minneapolis Institute of Art].
Q: Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most?
A: I was elected Minnesota Women Lawyers president-elect this year, which means that my presidential year will start in the spring. We recently had our 25th annual Rosalie Wahl Law Lecture. So many past presidents were there from our almost 50 years as an organization. Seeing so many of those smart talented women lawyers and leaders in one room was impressive. Gina Kastel, the chief operating partner of our firm, uses her voice in a really effective way and in a way that creates space for those good questions and good challenges. I enjoy learning from her.
Q: What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney?
A: That lawyers have really big egos or just like to work in silos. I have not found that to be the case. We work in a collaborative environment where people lift each other up and share across the team.