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Thomas J. Hanson

If a client wants something, it has to be a pretty big hill for me not to climb it.

My Approach

My goal is to help clients do business as efficiently as possible. When legislators or regulators add to the cost of doing business, or get in the way of my clients’ ability to bring their product or service to the market, I work to make sure their concerns are heard. The law is more than just words on a page; it’s about how those words are applied, and about the people who make those decisions. With a career of service in the government, I have developed relationships in all levels and branches, but more importantly, I have developed an understanding of how those people make decisions, which I use to protect the interests of my clients.

Especially in regulated industries such as health care, insurance, and energy, I represent clients who have joint regulatory and legislative issues, with the true belief that any law can be changed with creative problem solving and persuasion.

A Groundbreaking Moment in my Career

During the depths of the Great Recession, I was Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget and responsible for managing the entire state's finances. I had to take a step from my former role behind the scenes, into someone who made decisions and dealt with crises in front of every camera in town. Throughout that whole time, I managed to creatively figure out a way to avoid raising taxes or otherwise impair our state, and we were able to bounce back from it. I got the tar beat out of me every day, fighting to keep the budget in order, but emerged on the other side knowing that whatever the problem, I'm able to think it through and find a solution.

Honors & Awards

The Best Lawyers in America©

Government Relations Practice, 2023-2024

MSBA North Star Lawyers

Pro Bono Service, 2019, 2022-2023

#8, "Top 10 Best Political Persons in Minnesota for 2009"

mnpACT!, 2009

Associations & Memberships

University of Saint Thomas

Mentor Externship Program, 2016

Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence


Minnesota State Bar Association

LawPAC Board of Trustees, 2010-2013

Governor’s Health Care Cabinet


Governor's Drive to Excellence Technology Cabinet


Minnesota State Retirement System

Board Member, 2007-2010

Teachers Retirement Association

Board Member, 2007-2010

Public Finance Authority

Board Member, 2007-2010

Minnesota Science and Technology Authority

Board Member, 2010

National Association of State Budget Officers

Executive Board, 2007-2008

National Association of State Auditors, Controllers, and Treasurers


Presidential Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Governor Pawlenty’s Representative, 2003-2006

National Governor’s Association

Staff Member, 2003-2006

National Conference of State Legislatures

Active in various committees, 1998-2003