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Lousene Hoppe
Lousene Hoppe

Breaking the Ice: Attorney seeks equity as national LGBT Bar leader

Name: Lousene Hoppe

Title: Shareholder, Fredrikson & Byron

Education: B.A., Classics, Greek and Latin, and religion, St. Olaf College; M.A., Luther Seminary; J.D., University of Michigan Law School

Fredrikson & Byron shareholder Lousene Hoppe is continuing efforts to promote equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender attorneys as newly named president-elect of the National LGBT Bar Association.

Hoppe said she hopes to expand the LGBT Bar’s “Lavender Law 365” program, which offers law firms consulting and coaching on best practices for LGBTQ+ equity.

“Since the late ’80s, the LGBT Bar has been focused on trying to increase visibility for LGBT lawyers,” Hoppe said. “There are certainly similarities in what LGBT lawyers face in the legal profession to what other diverse lawyers face. But LGBT lawyers also face a different issue: Some, even today, are just not ‘out’ in their work places or to their clients.”

Hoppe, named LGBT Bar president-elect August, will serve one year in that role and then two years as the organization’s president. She just completed a two-year term as treasurer.

At Fredrikson & Byron, Hoppe works in the white-collar and regulatory defense group. She also is the firm’s ethics counsel and general counsel. Hoppe said she’s one of the first women to serve on a group of 20 general counsels from larger law firms.

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

A: At work it’s probably, “What do I do? A government agent just knocked at our door?” At home it’s probably best to make sure they have my attention because I’m probably multitasking.

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

A: It was my dad, who was not a lawyer, who always told me that he thought I should be a lawyer probably because I liked to argue a lot as a teenager. But I resisted and did a number of things before I went to law school, which was around age 30. I managed a couple of group homes for developmentally disabled, I went to seminary and got a master’s degree in theological ethics and then finally went to work for an insurance company in their legal department. That’s where I decided maybe this law thing is really what I should do.

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

A: I read on Kindle and the last two books on it are “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller and “Washington’s Spies” by Alexander Rose.

Q: What’s a pet peeve of yours?

A: The proliferation of methods of communication: voicemail, work e-mail, personal email, text, videoconference, social media apps, ad infinitum. I wish we had more quality communication rather than quantity.

Q: What do you least like about it?

A: Billing time is not my favorite. Opposing counsel who are rude and uncooperative for no real reason.

Q: What do you like doing away from work?

A: Since the pandemic I am learning Spanish and doing more cooking and baking. Before that I was running with my Ragnar team, kind of a race team would go into the woods and run on biking trails.

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

A: I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin . I’d take them to the Packer Hall of Fame at Lambeau and get fresh cheese curds at a nearby cheese factory.

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

A: The judge that I clerked for, Senior Judge Michael Davis of the federal district court here. I will never forget his commitment to the rule of law and the care he took with criminal cases and with sentencing individuals before him. That’s not to mention everything he’s done to increase diversity and access to justice.

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

A: “Better Call Saul.” It’s not the most accurate depiction, but it’s one of my favorites. The human drama that the main character, Saul, goes through on an episode-by-episode basis is impossible to take my eyes off of.

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