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John C. Redpath
John C. Redpath

Breaking the Ice: Law looked more fun to accountant turned attorney

Name: John C. Redpath

Title: Shareholder, Winthrop & Weinstine

Education: B.S., accounting, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

John C. Redpath, who joined Winthrop & Weinstine last month as a shareholder, went from accounting to law because attorneys he saw looked like they had more fun.

Redpath, however, continues doing what he set out to do — work with business owners and their companies.

His five years of Big Four accounting— 3½ while going to law school at night — benefits his business and mergers-and-acquisitions practice.

“It’s so easy to get lost in some of the legal stuff where if you can communicate with them more on the numbers side of things, that’s going to grab their attention more,” Redpath said.

Last year was his busiest, Redpath said, with clients launching new products or technologies in response to the pandemic.

Winthrop & Weinstine’s entrepreneurial culture and depth of attorneys in complementary practices were part of what appealed to him in joining the firm.

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

A: I’m extremely outgoing as I get to know people, but until then maybe a little bit of an introvert. Once someone starts talking, we’re in. I’m really interested in people and people’s backgrounds. All they have to do is say hi, initiate a conversation and you’ll have my attention.

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

A: When I was an undergrad I went into accounting. But I always wanted to be involved in businesses. I always had law school on my mind. After a year of accounting — it was good but it wasn’t all that exciting. I’d do some transactions and you’d be working with lawyers and see how they’re involved in these transactions. I’m going, that seems like that might be more fun. I took two business law classes in college. Those had piqued my interest so I decided to go to law school.

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

A: “Traction.” That’s one every business owner should read. “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. His backstory is amazing. I’ve been big into podcasts lately. “Hardcore History” is a phenomenal one by Dan Carlin.

Q: What’s a pet peeve of yours?

A: Technology failures. I’m sure a lot of them are user errors by me.

Q: What do you like best about your work?

A: I love working with business owners and entrepreneurs. My favorite part is the problem solving and coming up with solutions to difficult situations.

Q: What do you least like about it?

A: The least favorite part is when you’re dealing with the other side and they’re being extremely unreasonable. I want to be a good business lawyer and get good deals done.

Q: What do you like to do away from work?

A: I love to golf but don’t get a ton of time to do it. Maybe get on a boat and get out on a lake. But I’m really busy. We have four kids so we’re always running whether it’s hockey, lacrosse, football, dance. Hanging out and chilling with the family, that’s always great.

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

A: I grew up in Mahtomedi, a suburb in the northeast part of the cities. Not a lot to do in Mahtomedi. But people might not realize that White Bear Lake, two-thirds of that is surrounded by White Bear Lake school district, one third is Mahtomedi school district so I’d probably get them out on White Bear Lake for an afternoon or an evening.

Q: What’s a misconception people have about your work as an attorney?

A: They hear you’re an attorney and they think you know about any type of law.

Q: What’s a favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers or the legal profession?

A: “My Cousin Vinny.” That’s an all-time classic.

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