Age, birthplace: 50, Kannapolis, N.C.

Title: Chairman and founding partner, Blackwell Burke law firm

Education: University of North Carolina, 1984; University of North Carolina School of Law, 1987

Where do you go to get away from work? "My wife is a great oasis! I also like meditation."

What is your favorite city outside of Minneapolis? "Tie: My hometown [Kannapolis] and San Francisco."

Who was the biggest influence in your legal career? "My mother. In the second grade she saw that I liked reading and said, 'You should be a lawyer.' Right there at 8 years old I wanted to be a lawyer to make my mother proud. "

What was your first car? "VW Bug in law school -- no floor in the back, no horn, no functioning gauges, a real beater."