Spotlight On Interview with Janel Dressen, CEO of Anthony Ostlund Louwagie Dressen & Boylan P.A.
The turbulence of the COVID pandemic experienced by the business community has led to a rise in business litigation, and Minneapolis law firm Anthony Ostlund is providing its clients representation with unwavering excellence and experience, Janel Dressen, CEO at Anthony Ostlund told Invest:. “It was an advantage to have this niche during the pandemic. We did not have to lay anyone off or cut salaries and we continued to hire as we always have, so I view that as a very significant success,” Dressen said:
What have been key successes for Anthony Ostlund over the past 12 months and how are your priorities shifting?
Anthony Ostlund is a boutique business trial firm, and while having people working from home full-time and having the courts shut down was challenging since we spend our time litigating cases in court, we did not have a downturn in our business. Clients continued to have disputes and even more challenges as the pandemic hit the business community and marketplace. Our clients looked to us to help them solve their legal issues during difficult times and the last 18 months demonstrated that even more. Equally important, we did not have to lay anyone off or cut salaries and we continued to hire as we always have, so I view that as a very significant success.
What are the chief opportunities and corresponding challenges for Anthony Ostlund?
We handle a lot of litigation that is high-end and high stakes so I expect we will see more of that coming out of the pandemic, especially in shareholder disputes, private business disputes, valuation issues, banking, real estate and insurance. One area where I have seen an uptick is in trust and estate litigation. People are doing more financial and estate planning, which has led to increased disputes. We are leaders in handling fiduciary litigation. We have always handled a lot of shareholder disputes but with privately-owned and family-owned companies, much like the rise in the national divorce rate, we are seeing a lot of business divorce related cases as well.
In terms of challenges, there has been a lot of gray area for us with hiring. We have been fortunate to find the right talent we need coming out of law school. But getting experienced attorneys and staff has been challenging. We had to step back and decide if we should change our standards or not hire until we find the right fit. We decided that quality is much more important than quantity. It is what our clients deserve, and is one of the reasons for our stellar reputation and successes for our clients.
What excites you as the new CEO of Anthony Ostlund?
I don’t know of other trial boutiques like Anthony Ostlund that are led by a female CEO. In an age where diversity is more important to our clients and important in the professional space, I think it is a very positive development for the future of Anthony Ostlund that the CEO leadership position has been entrusted to a female trial lawyer. We have a strong reputation and are successful at what we do, so maintaining that high quality of work will be critical. We also want to grow as our business clients grow and demand for our high-end professional legal service continues to grow. We have a lot of opportunities coming out of this pandemic and desire like-minded people to join us in providing our business clients exceptional service and results.
What are the defining characteristics that make Minnesota a good market for Anthony Ostlund?
The business market here is second to none. We have a significant number of successful businesses, from Fortune 500 companies to mom-and-pop shops. We have lots of private business owners and high-net-worth individuals who choose to operate here because it is a great place to live, raise kids, and enjoy multiple entertainment options. With a growing business market, there will be more business litigation, which is where we will see more opportunities. Minnesota is a great place for employees to live. We routinely receive calls from lawyers from the coasts looking to move here for the Midwest living to start a family and settle down.
What are the chief concerns for which clients come to you for guidance?
We solve people’s business problems so by the time clients come to Anthony Ostlund, a problem, often a very challenging business problem with many complexities, has arisen and is in need of resolution. In many cases, keeping the business alive is an issue. In other cases, maintaining good relationships and reputation, enforcing contractual and ownership rights, business valuation and taxes are significant issues. Another big area in which we are seeing changes is in employment law. We are parsing rules and regulations for clients and planning for those, having the right answers for issues coming out of the pandemic and how legislatures are handling it, including proclamations made on a near weekly basis arising out of the pandemic. With all of these changes, business disputes are inevitable.