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Michelle Looby
Michelle Looby

Breaking the Ice: Antitrust attorney takes on leadership roles

Name: Michelle Looby

Title: Partner, Gustafson Gluek

Education: B.A., psychology, University of Minnesota; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

Michelle Looby likes making a difference for clients who otherwise might not have representation in her work as a partner in Gustafson Gluek’s national antitrust and class action practice.

Looby is co-lead counsel in an antitrust case alleging consumers overpaid for hollow-core doors and is on the plaintiffs’ steering committee in another antitrust case in which auto dealers allegedly overpaid for dealer management systems.

“The common theme that I like in all of these cases is getting to represent people where their individual damages are not sufficient to warrant bringing a case especially an antitrust case requiring a lot of economic analysis and expert work that’s very expensive,” Looby said.

Beyond her practice, Looby is on the American Antitrust Institute’s advisory board. She also serves as the secretary and diversity liaison for the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Antitrust Council and on the Coalition in Support of the Antitrust Laws’ executive committee.


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

A: I love when people walk up and say hi. What keeps me engaged is when you go beyond small talk or “What case are you working on?” and tell me something about yourself, something interesting to you, your hobbies, your family, what trip you’ve taken recently.

Q: Why did you study law and pursue it as a career?

A: I majored in psychology and loved the social psychology classes where the focus was on understanding group dynamics and how people’s actions often were shaped by the social context. I soon realized my options were to get a doctorate and continue to research those issues or find another route that allowed me to explore how these principles play out in real life and eventually decided to go the latter and landed on the law.

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

A: I’m working on the first “Harry Potter” book with my kids. I’ve also recently started “Becoming” by Michelle Obama.

Q: What’s a pet peeve of yours?

A: When people take credit for others’ work. The law is often, at least in my practice area, a team effort.

Q: What do you like best about your work?

A: I love working on large class actions where you get to tackle issues that impact thousands of people’s lives.

Q: What do you least like about it?

A: I find it frustrating when you have cases that go at very meaningful issues and opposing counsel detracts from the main issues and focuses on meaningless side arguments.

Q: What do you like doing away from work?

A: I love spending time with my kids, especially during times like this where you’re able to slow down, realize how little time you have to shape their life, and how quickly they’re growing and changing. Right now I’m coaching my daughter’s softball team. It’s such a great opportunity to spend time helping her and her teammates not only become better softball players but more importantly teaching them how to be good people.

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

A: I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Michigan. A visit wouldn’t be complete without a stroll on the beach or heading out in a boat on Lake Michigan. Another favorite would be bakeries in Racine that make Danish kringle. It’s an awesome dessert that I haven’t really seen around the Twin Cities.

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

A: RBG [Ruth Bader Ginsburg]. Anyone who can go by their initials is obviously a legend. Not only is she an amazing and obviously talented jurist, her back story is super-inspiring.

Q: What’s your favorite depiction of the law or the legal profession in popular culture?

A: A recent favorite, which is a totally unrealistic portrayal, is “How to Get Away with Murder.”

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