Attorney, activist and adoptive parent
Making a difference for many
From his tenth-floor office in the Wells Fargo building, Michael Stoddard can see the fruits of his hard work and success in helping to change the landscape of downtown Boise. A lawyer for 34 years and now partner at Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley LLP, he glances at the renovated Ada County Court House, the expanded convention center and the new towers of St. Luke’s Medical Center.
He and the firm helped make these projects possible as legal counsel and are now helping revive Tamarack Resort, a ski area in the Long Valley of west Central Idaho. Those are some of the more interesting parts of Stoddard’s job, which he calls not “scintillating but rewarding” in general, as they come with the details, meetings and other factors of being an attorney specializing in banking, business, public finance and government law.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University’s Law School in 1985, he says he “kind of fell into law. There was no burning desire” to become an attorney.
But it seemed like a profession in which he could excel, and he has.
One of his proudest achievements is obtaining 501(c)(3) status for many non-profit organizations, including Idaho Business for Education and FACES Family Justice Center, which provides a variety of services for domestic and/or sexual violence survivors.
Married for almost 25 years to Diane Minnich, the executive director of the Idaho State Bar, Stoddard and his wife adopted two girls, who are now 18 and one is off to college. In his spare time, he likes to play and watch golf, is a wine aficionado and keeps up with how his alma mater, Vanderbilt, is performing in sports.
He is content to be in private practice and never wanted to be a prosecutor, defense lawyer or a public defender, choosing instead to participate in a field where he could accomplish goals in a “less adversarial way” and is proud of the tangible outcomes.
“Practicing in the public finance arena provides the opportunity to work collaboratively with all the lawyers and parties to a transaction and finding solutions to problems rather than wasting time arguing about inconsequential business points,” he says. “My goal has never been to stand out from my peers, but rather to learn from them, work with them and put together transactions that most efficiently satisfy the needs of all parties to the deal.”