Breaking the Ice: Family lawyer’s aim: happier, healthier people

By Todd Nelson Minnesota Lawyer July 24, 2019

Name: Anne Honsa

Title: Partner, Honsa Rodd Landry

Education: B.S., political science, University of St. Thomas; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

Anne Honsa gets the question all the time: How can you do family law?

One thing is guiding her clients through the process that takes them from the worst place in their adult life to being “happier, healthier people,” said Honsa, partner at Honsa Rodd Landry, which only practices family law.

Another is the range of areas of the law she has to know as a family law lawyer, particularly in with high-asset, high-net-worth clients who have multiple businesses and multiple properties.

“You have to be a real estate expert, a retirement expert, a tax expert and a psychologist,” Honsa said.

Honsa attributes her success to meticulous preparation and case management. She also avoids drama.

“I strive to be kind and not get caught up in controversy,” Honsa said.

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

A: In my profession, the great majority of the time I’m the one who is starting the conversation. I like to know about the person. I tend to take the initiative, more proactive versus reactive.

Q: What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A: I graduated with a political science degree, which you don’t go many places with. I enjoyed school immensely. I went to St. Thomas College, which is very much a business-related school. I didn’t enjoy accounting so in my sophomore year I switched to a political science major. The logical next step was to go to law school.

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

A: What’s literally sitting on my bedside right now is a book that I just got from my dad, John Grisham’s “The Reckoning.”

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: In my practice people who are ill-prepared drive me crazy.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A: I enjoy helping people. In this particular area you really do help people. People call up with what might be a silly crisis to most people but yet it truly is a crisis to them at that time. I just had a client call me last week. She was just so lovely and was, like, “I couldn’t have done this without you” and was very complimentary.

Q: Least favorite?

A: My least favorite part is that I can’t change the facts that come through my door. All I can do is deal with what comes in as best as I can.

Q: What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A: I run marathons. I’m training now for my 39th marathon. I also play golf. My husband wishes that I ran less and played more golf.

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

A: My hometown is St. Paul and Highland Park. I like Minnehaha Falls. It’s stunning in the summer and the winter.

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

A: [Minnesota Supreme Court] Justice Anne McKeig. I appeared before her many times when she was at the district court. She’s very down to earth, practical and approachable. She’s talented, smart and overall a dynamite lady.

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

A: People think that lawyers create trouble. That’s a misperception because obviously lawyers don’t want to just try cases. We want to help our clients. I best help a client if I settle a case and they move on happy.

Q: What is your favorite depiction of the legal professional in popular culture?

A: I have three favorites. The reason I like them is they’re so not what the real practice of family law is: “L.A. Law,” “Boston Legal,” and “Allie McBeal.” I enjoyed watching the shows because they were so entertaining but weren’t a reflection of what a day in the life of Anne Honsa is.

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