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Laurie Hanson

Of Counsel
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5775 W Wayzata Blvd #700
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416

Laurie Hanson, Of Counsel, Northwoods Law Group, PA

Laurie Hanson has practiced law since 1984, with a special focus on individuals who are aging or living with disabilities – and their families. She now concentrates her practice exclusively in the areas of Elder Care Law - Government benefits eligibility; including Medical Assistance, SSI, and various veterans benefits; trusts - supplemental needs, special needs and pooled trusts, trust and public benefit litigation; estate planning, planning for incapacity; probate, and surrogate decision-making. She most recently won a significant case involving special needs pooled trusts before the Minnesota Supreme Court, Pfoser v. Harpstead.

Laurie regularly serves as faculty and makes presentations on elder law topics at continuing legal education courses for attorneys nationally and in Minnesota through the Minnesota State Bar Association. In addition, she gives presentations to nursing home family councils, church groups, community groups, and at law schools in the Twin Cities.

Professional Background

Laurie is a 1977 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a 1984 Graduate of Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, California where she was a member of the law review and Editor-in-Chief of the Women’s Law Forum. For the past 39 years, she has practiced law in Minnesota and Arkansas, with a focus on those who are aging and living with disabilities. Most recently she was a shareholder with the law firm of Long, Reher, Hanson, & Price, PA for 18 years in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Prior to that, she was with the Senior Law Project of the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis for 15 years.

Before moving back to Minnesota in 1989, Laurie had a private general practice in Fayetteville, Arkansas where she specialized in health law and family law. She was a Reginald Heber Smith fellow her first two years following law school and worked with Ozark Legal Services in Fayetteville.

Professional Associations

Laurie is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Minnesota State Bar Association, and the Hennepin County Bar Association. She is a past Chair of the Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), and an emerita member of the Board of Trustees of the Upper Midwest chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She is a member and past board member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national invitation-only non-profit organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them.

Professional Awards

Laurie received the 2023 NAELA Theresa Award for outstanding community service and advocacy on behalf of people with special needs. She was also inducted into the MSBA Elder Law Section Hall of Fame on October 6, 2023 and received a special recognition award for her work on the Pfoser case. In 2008, she received the prestigious Mary Alice Gooderl Award from the Elder Law Section of the MSBA for her contribution to the practice of Elder Law in Minnesota and has been named a Super Lawyer by her peers consistently since 2001.


Laurie and her spouse Kim Dayton split their time between their home at the end of the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota and an apartment in Uptown Minneapolis – enjoying truly the best of urban life and the serenity and peacefulness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. She loves to knit, is learning to play the harmonica, and enjoys all types of music.


J.D., Golden Gate University School of Law, 1984

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1977

Professional & Bar Association Memberships

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

Minnesota State Bar Association

Hennepin County Bar Association

Special Needs Alliance

Client Reviews
"Thank you for your continued help. You all seem to be the only place I can go for answers." K.C.
"I think the world of Laura Z-as a lawyer with incredible expertise and knowledge and as a wonderful human being. I couldn't rate her any higher!" N.B.K.
"Working with Laura has made all the difference for our family! She's helped us navigate some complex situations with expertise and care. We couldn't have gotten through all of this without her help. We will continue to work with her as family needs arise in the future." B.M.
"We are so grateful to Laura for her responsiveness, thoroughness and extensive knowledge of the law. She has helped us immensely in our family estate planning. We especially appreciate how she listened to our particular needs and found creative solutions to our situation." D.B.
"Laura Zdychnec has been wonderful to work with. Her vast experience and reliable advice were indispensable in setting up my trust account and navigating the legal shoals involved. Laura came highly recommended by my close friend Frances Long, a founder of the former firm." S.R.