Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Monthly Newsletter | December 2023

Each month, we endeavor to highlight our members. This is part of an ongoing effort to help MNAPABA members get to know one another. Read below about...

Lu Li

Corporate Attorney, Lathrop GPM

A bit about yourself
I was born and raised in Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China. I went to South China University of Technology (SCUT) in Guangzhou City to study finance for undergraduate, and then the University of Rochester in upstate New York for my master’s in finance. After studying finance for six years, I finally admitted that I was a risk-averse person and would like to pursue something with definitive answers. Though almost all the answers to any legal question start with “it depends,” I still love the clear rules and their applications, so I came to University of Minnesota Law School for my J.D. Being a corporate attorney at Lathrop GPM now, I am glad I’ve found a way to combine my finance and legal knowledge, and to help my clients navigate complex legal issues in the business world.

Why did you decide to “switch” from finance to law, and how do you find it helpful for your legal career?
I don’t think I “switched” from finance to law by going to law school after business school; instead, I am trying to “combine” finance and law. Six years in business school enabled me to understand different industries, various business models, and what business people value in the business world; while the legal knowledge I gained from law school has enabled me to navigate clients through complicated legal issues that are closely related to their business and help them succeed.

What do you do and what you enjoy about your work?
As an associate attorney in the Minneapolis office of Lathrop GPM, I practice business and corporate law. I help corporate clients of various sizes with merger and acquisition, corporate financing, general corporate governance, and anything else they might need (compliance with Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), for example).

I enjoy talking with people, learning about people’s stories and their legal needs, utilizing my knowledge and skills to tackle the legal concerns for people, learning new things almost every day, and connecting legal professionals in other practice areas with people in need of legal help.

What do you enjoy doing outside of legal practice?
I love hiking and hanging out with friends. I persuade myself to go to gym from time to time (not because I love it but because it is healthy, I confess). I am a heavy coffee drinker (not surprisingly), so I also love to try out different kinds of coffee whenever I can.

You can see me at a lot of law school alumni events and diversity programs in the twin cities areas. As a first-generation college student, law student and a minority student, I deeply understand the challenges at law school and in the legal profession. I am very lucky to have received a lot of help and support when I was at law school and at Lathrop GPM, and I want to pass over the torch and help others in need of support.

How did you get involved with MNAPABA, and why did you stay (or plan to stay) involved?
When I was still a 1L student, my career counselor, Claudia Melo, introduced MNAPABA to me. She spoke very highly of the organization and encouraged me to subscribe to its newsletter. After graduating from law school, I became a member and started to participate in in-person activities. I have been to a women’s committee happy hour and had deep conversations with a group of wonderful female attorneys. I also love the annual gala where I was amazed by how large and cohesive the Asian Pacific American attorney community is here in Minnesota. MNAPABA is where I have found close friends, supportive community and a strong sense of belonging as a minority lawyer.

Contents edited from newsletter format. A special thanks to Yida (Oliver) Li, MNAPABA President-Elect, for coordinating the publication of this MNAPABA member spotlight.