COVID-19 caused a lot of carefully made plans to be scrapped. One of those was David Lillehaug’s plan to do some retirement traveling with his wife.
“We were going to travel internationally when the pandemic hit,” recalled Lillehaug. “Not long after that John Koneck called.”
Koneck, managing partner at Fredrikson & Byron, had a proposition: Come back to the firm, Lillehaug’s former employer, and work part-time. Lillehaug, 66, said yes.
“I’m helping out in all matters of civil litigation and consulting on appellate practice,” said Lillehaug. “I hope to be doing mediation and arbitration in the future.”
It’s proven to be a productive postscript to a notable legal career for Lillehaug. Along with his success in private practice, he ran for attorney general and U.S. Senate and spent four years as a Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice before stepping down last summer.
During his first stint at Fredrikson, which lasted 11 years, Lillehaug had a client list that included Fortune 100 companies, Minnesota’s governor, three U.S. senators, the state House of Representatives, the University of Minnesota, the city of St. Paul, tribal nations and many pro bono litigants. In 2009, as lead local counsel, he tried and won a seven-week U.S. Senate election contest trial before a special three-judge panel, helping Al Franken take over the Senate seat previously held by Norm Coleman.
Considering the health challenges that led him to leave the high court, Lillehaug said he looks forward to the energizing nature of being back in the law business.
“I do miss being on the bench, but there were good reasons to leave when I did,” he said. “The Fredrikson work so far has been very stimulating.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2020 here.
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