Laurie Huotari jokes that her younger self would not believe where she is now. In her case, effective in January, that means leading a group of 19 attorneys as the newly named office managing partner of Stoel Rives’ Minneapolis office.
“When I started as an attorney in 2001, there weren’t a lot of women in management positions,” Huotari said. “I think it’s important to serve as a role model for younger people because when you see it, you think you can do it.”
Huotari succeeds Andrew Moratzka, who had served as the Minneapolis office managing partner since 2020.
Huotari’s priorities include pursuing “strategic, thoughtful growth” of the Minneapolis office, which includes 19 attorneys. The office focuses on renewable energy and agribusiness, and Huotari would like to expand on those practice areas as well as on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
“We do a lot of things within the renewable energy space, which I think with the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act will become even more forward facing,” Huotari said.
Name: Laurie Huotari
Title: Office managing partner, Stoel Rives’ Minneapolis office
Education: B.A., sociology, College of St. Benedict; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law
Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?
A: Talk about travel, or my favorite would be the Minnesota Wild. I love hockey in general, but that’s my favorite sports team.
Q: Why law school?
A: I’m a logical thinker. I love puzzles. I always looked at law school when I was there as problem solving and solving puzzles. It’s what I do every day. A client has a challenge, and we’re trying to figure out the solution to solve the puzzle.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I don’t have a lot of time to read. I buy a lot of books. I’m just collecting them for a time when, maybe retirement, I’ll be able to read them. Generally speaking, I’m reading the Delaware and Minnesota statutes. That’s my reading enjoyment.
Q: Pet peeve?
A: Unformatted documents. People who underline periods. You’d be surprised how many times we get documents and the periods are underlined.
Q: Best part of your work?
A: My colleagues, working with them, collaborating with them. I have a really good group.
Q: Most challenging?
A: Always needing to learn something new. There are always new problems, and even with 22 years of experience, you have to stay abreast of the newest laws and rules and regulations.
Q: Favorite activity away from work?
A: To sit on a beach. Wherever that beach might be.
Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?
A: I’m from Rochester, so I would take them to the Canadian Honker. It’s great restaurant. It’s been there forever. It’s right across the street from St. Marys [Hospital]. It’s kind of a diner setting. Everything on the menu is good. If it were here, I’d take them to Lake Minnetonka.
Q: Legal figure you most admire?
A: Russ Bennett, who was a founding member of the first firm I ever worked for. He was just a wonderful man. Kind, thoughtful, smart and he really gave back to the community. He was part of Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, he was the Bennett. Jean Davis, one of the women partners when I was a first-year associate. She took me under her wing and gave me the inspiration that I could also work in corporate transactional work.
Q: Misconception that others have about your work?
A: People always think that I just sit in my office and type on my computer because I’m a transactional attorney. But a lot of what I do is interpersonal, working with my colleagues, working with my clients. I spend a fair amount of time on the computer but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a lot of socializing and talking with people too. Or maybe that’s just the way I practice.
Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?
A: “Ally McBeal,” which came out when I was in law school. Recently, there’s a couple more that I’ve watched, like “Boston Legal.” I like “The Lincoln Lawyer,” that was a good one that just came out.