Minneapolis-based Faegre Drinker partner Steve Lokensgard, the international firm’s newly named health care practice group leader, is focusing on expanding the practice and strengthening client service.
Initiatives include forming client service teams and further integrating attorneys in the group, Lokensgard said. The group is relatively new, he noted, formed after Faegre Baker Daniels and Drinker Biddle & Reath merged in February 2020.
Today, Lokensgard advises health care clients on regulatory and compliance issues, among other areas. But he once envisioned himself negotiating arms treaties with the Soviet Union.
Lokensgard, who began his legal career in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, said his Army experience centered on military justice rather than international law.
Before joining what is now Faegre Drinker, Lokensgard worked on health care issues as an assistant Minnesota attorney general and was Allina’s in-house counsel and chief compliance officer.
Lokensgard’s 25 years of military experience include seven years of active duty and service in the Minnesota Army National Guard.
Name: Steve Lokensgard
Title: Partner, Faegre Drinker, Minneapolis office
Education: B.A., history and international development, Washington University in St. Louis; J.D., University of Iowa College of Law
Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?
A: How did you end up at Faegre Drinker? Otherwise, how’s your family doing? I love talking about my kids and what’s going on with them.
Q: Why law school?
A: I thought that I’d be negotiating arms treaties with the Soviets. I thought my path would be through law school, then to the Army and then to some national intelligence agency or somewhere negotiating treaties. When I went into the Army, my experience tended to be military justice, no international law. Somehow, I’m now the Medicare billing compliance expert.
Q: What are you reading?
A: “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger. He’s a Minnesota author writing about a fictional town in Minnesota in 1961, the year the Twins came to Minnesota. I was born in 1963. But growing up in Minnesota, 10 years later, a lot of what he talks about was very familiar. My wife bought me “The Wager,” about a shipwreck and a mutiny. I love pirate books, so I’m looking forward to that.
Q: Pet peeve?
A: Aggressive drivers. I don’t understand why everybody is in such a hurry and is so angry.
Q: Best part of your work?
A: In health care, every day is a new issue, a new problem, a new riddle to solve.
Q: Most challenging?
A: The most challenging aspect of health care regulatory work is the lack of a clear answer and the need to make judgment calls frequently.
Q: Favorite activity away from work?
A: Riding bikes with my wife, golfing and floating out on a lake.
Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?
A: I live in St. Anthony and consider northeast Minneapolis kind of my hometown. I love taking people to tap rooms, sitting at Bauhaus and ordering a pizza from Parkway Pizza.
Q: Legal figure you most admire?
A: The U.S. Attorney’s Office here does a great job of operating with integrity. The attorneys in that office take their job seriously and try to go after the important issues.
Q: Misconception that others have about your work?
A: People think health care has to do with medical malpractice. I’ve never done “med mal,” and nobody really at my firm does “med mal.” We talk about these crazy laws that pretty much only somebody in the health care industry has heard about — the Stark law, the anti-markup rule, the three-day payment window — that are unique to Medicare billing compliance.
Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?
A: Definitely “A Few Good Men.” Having been in the military, the thing I liked about that movie the most was the way it portrayed the relationship between the defense counsel and the prosecutor. It was a collegial relationship. They played softball together, they were friends. That was my experience in the military as well, that the prosecutors and the defense counsel had professional relationships. But we were zealous advocates of our clients when it came to the courtroom.