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Michele D. Vaillancourt

Negotiating is like a stacking game: push on one piece, ignore others, and the structure tumbles.

My Approach

In the 1990s, I tracked bears in the woods near Ely, Minnesota for research purposes. Sometimes I think of my work in securities representing publicly-held companies as being like bear tracking – I work hard, quickly, to gather as much information as I can – find out where they’ve been, where they’re going, and what sustains them. I ask the pertinent questions, and put together all I learn to form a picture of the larger ecology of the company and the matter at hand. There are very specific regulations and processes to go through when working with any aspect of a public company, and a misstep or ignorance of a rule can lead to calamity – sometimes it’s important to know what not to do.

I work for my clients to find creative solutions to problems that help achieve their goals. One of the things I love about practicing law is that it combines creativity with practicality. You have to get it right, but there are new and interesting ways to get it right for each company. I work with my clients to strategize about how best to get a deal done, meet clients’ goals, and positioning ourselves so that we get to the other side.

Outside of work, I love doing anything outdoors, whether it’s fishing, boating or hiking. I also enjoy fitness kickboxing or doing yoga and then going out for a beer.

A Groundbreaking Moment in My Career

I took a year off between my undergraduate education and going to law school, to take bona fide accounting courses, and I’m grateful every day that I did. When working with my clients, I have the ability to knowledgeably talk with them about financial statements, forecasts and projections – the language of their businesses. Instead of just hoping we get it right, I think it’s important to get to where my clients are operating, and then translate their businesses into the legal side.

Practice Areas

Honors & Awards

The Best Lawyers in America©

Corporate Law, 2016-2024
Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships), 2024
Mergers & Acquisitions Law, 2024

MSBA North Star Lawyer

Pro Bono Service, 2018-2019

“Top Women in Finance,” Circle of Excellence

Finance & Commerce, 2008 and 2012

Alumni of Notable Achievement

University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts, 2008

Minnesota Super Lawyers®

2008, 2011-2019

AV Preeminent

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, Peer review ratings

Associations & Memberships

American Bar Association

Minnesota State Bar Association

Chair of Women in the Legal Profession Committee, 1994-1996

Hennepin County Bar Association

Chair of the Securities Committee, 1995-1997

Ramsey County Bar Association

Minnesota Women Lawyers

Board of Directors, 1993-1995

Women Lawyers Alliance

University of Minnesota

English Advisory Board

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

Opinion Committee