July 12, 2012 at 06:30am
WORD FOR THE DAY – “unpretentious” (adj.) “not pretentious; modest; without ostentatious display; plain.
Syn. humble, unpretending, open, easy, straightforward, unaffected. (dictionary dot com)
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In a word, attorney Lori Athmann is "unpretentious."
The first of many attributes that struck me when attorney Lori Athmann and I stopped at Seven Elephants Coffee (the former Meeting Grounds) was her unpretentiousness. She had a humble manner about her––a soft spoken, gentle tone of voice and delivery, straightforward way of looking me in the eye, all with an underlying energy and interest in people. I’d been delayed and was very late for our 9 o’clock when I’d rushed through the door of the coffee shop and frantically scanned the room for this colleague from our business-networking group, River City BNI (Waite Park, Minn.) “Everything’s fine,” she assured me with a broadening smile after I’d given her a call and she’d returned to the bistro. “I just thought I’d go back to the office and get started on a few things.”
Lori’s office is the Rajkowski Hansmeier law office, located (conveniently for me) next door. She’s been with the office for five years, practicing in family law, estate planning, probate, guardianship/conservatorship, and more. [Check her bio at www.rajhan.com/lori_l_athmann.php.] But what struck me about her returning to the office to work was her underlying motive, an extension of her very giving attitude and outlook on life. She wasn’t going to waste any time waiting for me. She was “on-the-clock” for her employer. And, she had work to do that would benefit her clients, many of them individuals and families going through difficult times.
People are very important to her. This was confirmed through our conversation about her work and background. Lori noted that, contrary to her calm manner, she does have stress. (You could have fooled me.) She said it was self-imposed, though, referring to her goal of returning a client’s phone call within 24 hours. Lori doesn’t do this to make a good impression upon the client (although it certainly does); instead, she calls them back “to move ahead the client’s life.”
Here’s another example of her unpretentious nature. Lori shared how she enjoys estate planning most because it allows her to visit with the elderly. (I’m sorry, but many adults, busy with careers and their own concerns, have no time for the elderly.) She said that she never knew her own grandparents and regretted that fact. I could see her interaction with other people’s family treasures enriched her own life experience.
When we spoke, Lori was on a “mini-vacation,” a slow time “before the storm” of many difficult cases and/or court appearances. As an accomplished attorney, she handles some very contentious issues––orders for protection, custody battles, and bitter divorces. A peacemaker at heart, I suspect, she enjoys periods away from the conflict.
Lori’s life away from the office also involves relationships. Foremost is her nine-year-old daughter. (I told Lori to enjoy her daughter now because, by teen age, a daughter can be a handful.) However, Lori also volunteers at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, visiting kids with cancer and entertaining them with the sock puppets she constructs. Absolutely, I can see her playing with sock puppets, and this of a woman who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hamlin University, received the Molly Moore Excellence in Writing Award, and was the primary editor of the Board of Law Review.
Lori Athmann is a very smart, talented, and accomplished lady. However, because she wraps her smarts in an unpretentious package and uses them seemingly effortlessly for the benefit of her clients (regular people like this writer) most would never suspect the depth of her in a casual meeting. My suggestion is get to know her. And, if you need help for personal issues like divorce or custody, or estate planning like wills and trusts, or even for your business, start up or incorporation, Lori will help you. And, she’ll put you at your ease.
I was certainly put at ease. We had a very GOOD conversation there at Seven Elephants over our morning coffee.
– (c) mary macdonell belisle