Lisa Elliott: Authenticity That Inspires Trust

Lisa Elliott
Cannabis Law Special Issue

Attorney Lisa Elliott is upbeat, energetic and a relentless advocate who says she performs at her very best in a self-directed environment. So it came as no surprise to those who know her when, aft er clerking for a Minnesota Court of Appeals judge and then practicing with a top defense litigation firm, Elliott made the decision to strike out on her own. It wasn’t long before she was joined by her older brother, Patrick Elliott , making Elliott Law Offices P.A. a family practice in every sense. Today, the firm is well-known for providing committ ed, resourceful and effective representation in family law, general litigation, collateral recovery and professional liability matters.

The youngest of eight children, Elliott grew up in Minneapolis surrounded by a family of legal and health professionals. It was the law that best satisfied her drive to help others, and she graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School. But aft er learning the fundamentals of the practice from some talented jurists, she developed her own practice centered on family law and civil defense of both individuals and companies in Minnesota and South Dakota.

Networking was a key element in the development of Elliott’s practice, which is now driven almost entirely by referrals. “Early in my career, I got involved with the ABA Young Lawyers,” Elliott explained. “It was a great marketing tool, and I made connections with a number of lawyers in different states that I still maintain. I began representing asbestos cases while working with my prior firm, and when I left , I represented other defendants who needed a local attorney. I’ve been working with some of the same companies since 1997. It’s a niche practice with a small core group, and we all work well together.”

In addition to asbestos defense litigation, Elliott began taking on family law cases, which now make up the majority of her practice. “Family law wasn’t really something I thought I wanted to do in law school, but there was, and is, a need for good lawyers in family law. It was a good place for a young woman lawyer to start, and as it turned out, I really enjoyed it.”

Elliott’s blend of litigation experience and her training as a mediator, social early neutral evaluator and financial early neutral evaluator lend her a broad range of strategies for achieving resolution in family law matters. She is both compassionate and bold about standing up for her clients’ best interests.

“I don’t withdraw from a case just because it gets difficult,” she said. “There is a case in which I have been representing the dad since 2011, and it was featured on 20/20 in April of this year. The mom has gone through six attorneys in that time. In addition to my legal representation, I’ve reached out to my connections in other states to get this family the help they need. When somebody needs help, I’m going to call everybody I can to provide it.”

Elliott is appreciated for her integrity and respected by her peers. “I’m very honest, and when I’m wrong, I admit it. But I’m also very dogged when I think I’m right. I don’t let it go and keep going back until I can prove I’m right. I’ve had a few judges compliment me on that.” In fact, Elliott’s relentless representation has earned her referrals from both judges and opposing parties.

A lifetime resident of Minnesota, Elliott has long-established connections in the community and has fostered a strong network of relationships that benefit her clients.

She is a visible leader and volunteer, serving organizations inside and outside the law that she is most passionate about. In addition to her ongoing work with the ABA, Elliott has served as the co-chair at her sons’ Site Council and currently serves on the board of the Minneapolis Youth Baseball Association. “My sons play baseball, and I decided to become involved because they needed more women on the board to be a voice for moms.”

By creating her own practice, Elliott is not only available to participate fully in the lives of her two boys, ages 11 and 14, she doesn’t have to feel guilty about it. The same standards apply across the firm. “My legal assistant has a son about the same age as mine. When there’s a football game at 4 p.m. on Friday, it’s just a matter of putting it on the calendar. We’re a truly family-focused practice. We don’t look at billable hours here. We’re more concerned with results.”

Elliott recalls a time early in her career when being a woman lawyer meant “wearing an amended version of men’s suits with a white blouse and bow tie. I couldn’t do it,” she laughed. “There have been a lot of women attorneys and judges over the years who I admire and who have had an impact on how I practice. But back then, there was more of a level of competition between women and not as much collegiality. Women were trying to be like men. I remember learning to play golf so I could get clients on the golf course. Now I don’t feel like I have to recreate myself into somebody I’m not just to attract business. I can be who I am in public and with other attorneys and devote myself to organizations that I have a passion for. I don’t need to do the old boys’ network to be successful.”

That authenticity inspires the trust of Elliott’s clients and colleagues. “I believe that when you do what you love and what is important to you, it will pay off . I love the work I do, and seeing a client come out on the other side aft er going through one of the toughest things they’ve faced in life. I love seeing them happy, successful and content with where they are in life, and knowing I had something to do with it.”

H.K. Wilson

H.K. Wilson is a contributing writer for Attorney at Law Magazine. She has been writing features for the publication for more than four years.

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