Linscott Hanson: Teacher, Mentor, Scholar
As many of you know, our partner, Lin Hanson, recently celebrated his 50th year of law practice.
It seems fitting to reflect on what Lin has meant, and continues to mean, to this law firm, to the practice of law and to younger lawyers, and to think about what mentorship means in the law.
Lin began his law career in 1961, the third in a line of family practice stretching back to 1894 when his maternal grandfather, Roscoe Linscott Roberts (“RL”), graduated from a law school now known as IIT Chicago- Kent College of Law. Lin’s dad, Fred B. Hanson, joined RL in practice when Fred returned from the Navy at the end of World War II. RL then was well past his 50th year in practice. Lin immediately took responsibility for some of RL’s and Fred’s files upon joining the practice in 1961. Fred practiced law until age 84. He continued giving counsel to his clients, and to Lin, until he was almost 94.
Whereas RL was an office lawyer focused on corporations, trust and estates (like Lin is), Fred came from a trial law background, defending cases for a number of insurance companies, and functioning as head of the claims department for Standard Oil of Indiana. In reflecting on his practice, Lin said, “From RL I learned to carefully select a good trustee and then give the trustee flexible guidelines to run the trust by. From Dad I learned the importance of getting out of the office and calling on clients – ‘visit the scene’ was his standard advice. When I undertake the representation of a new company, I try to visit them. You see things you could never hear about over the telephone. Dad insisted on doing the paperwork. He had all kinds of tips, in the books he wrote, and in person, on how to negotiate – tips that work as well in contracting to buy or sell a company as they do in settling an injury claim.”
Lin’s dedication to his profession has included actively serving since 1981 on the Illinois Secretary of State’s Corporation Acts Advisory Committee, now the Institute of Illinois Business Law. Shortly after Jim Edgar became Secretary of State in 1981, he decided to review the Illinois business statutes administered by the Secretary’s office. A number of prominent Illinois attorneys were contacted for their assistance and advice and ultimately Secretary Edgar created a Business Corporations Act Revision Committee. Members included Lin, and the committee went on to draft, revise, or modernize over 500 items of legislation, including the Illinois Business Corporation Act, the Limited Liability Company Act, and the Partnership Act. Lin has been the only member serving continuously since 1981.
Lin also has been a frequent speaker and prolific writer for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the Illinois Bar Association, and numerous other organizations. IICLE is honoring Lin this summer for his contributions.
Lin’s door at the firm is always open, literally and figuratively. He is amazingly generous with his time, providing direction, sharing his skills, asking probing questions, and challenging our assumptions and analyses.
Lin’s 50 years in practice sparked an outpouring of congratulatory missives thanking him for his contributions to the legal profession as a whole, and for positively affecting the lives of young lawyers. Representative is the following from Chicago attorney Markus May:
“Lin, you have always been a great help and inspiration! Throughout the years when I have run across a thorny problem or just a simple question, you have always been there to help out. It is greatly appreciated.
However, it is not only myself and other individual lawyers you have helped. You have taken time out of your schedule to help draft the Illinois business laws and make our statutes some of the best around.
Your service to the legal community is often unrecognized and I am sure that no one knows all the different ways you have contributed. It is with great joy that we get the opportunity to recognize you for 50 years of service!
Way to go and thank you so much for your tireless contributions. You are a class act that many try to emulate and your legacy is found not only in the legal work you did, but greatly in your impact in making all of us a little better. Best wishes Lin!!!”
Lin credits RL and Fred for their guidance and mentoring. Well, apples come from apple trees, and the legal community and we at Di Monte & Lizak are blessed to benefit from the teachings of RL and Fred, and to have the teacher, mentor, and scholar we have in Lin.