It has been almost nine years since attorney Tina Hodne was recognized as a Forty Under 40 honoree by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.
She is still providing an important service to her clients, it’s just not in a courtroom.
In 2010, Hodne made the decision to drop her very successful law career after 16 years and pursue another profession: real estate. For nearly six years, she has been a full-time Realtor for Fayetteville-based Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette, the area’s largest real estate firm.
“This has been a huge change for me, but it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done,” Hodne said.
Hodne, who is licensed to practice law in six states, said real estate is not the line of business she imagined for herself after receiving her juris doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1994.
But, she said, her new-found career has been just as fulfilling because she still has the opportunity to help people.
“Ultimately, that is why I went into law, to help people get through events in their life,” Hodne explained. “I just never thought it would be in this capacity. I love working with my clients. They are so happy. Having done divorce work and custody cases, most clients are upset about something. That’s why they are in a lawyer’s office.
“I love that people are happy when they’re looking at houses and buying houses. I’m always in a good mood now.”
Hodne, an Iowa native, started her career as a litigation attorney in 1994, and in January 2002 had made partner at a law firm in Sioux City, Iowa.
The following year, her husband, who is also an attorney, accepted a job at the corporate office of Tyson Foods Inc. in Springdale, and the family — including a 22-month-old daughter and 4-month-old son — relocated to Northwest Arkansas.
By the time she was honored as a Forty Under 40 in 2007, Hodne was a litigation attorney at Cypert Crouch Clark & Harwell in Springdale, focusing primarily on civil matters, such as contract and employment disputes, as well as family law (divorce, custody, adoption).
Hodne clarified that she didn’t leave the law profession because she was dissatisfied with her employer, or the industry. It was just that it was becoming increasingly difficult to focus on both family and work.
In fact, while still at CCCH, she earned her real estate license, with the thought that a real estate career might be a long-term solution for an occupation with more flexibility.
“It was a decision [to leave] that was based on my children and my family,” she said. “I just felt like I wasn’t doing my job 100 percent or parenting 100 percent. I felt like I had one foot in and one foot out of everything I was doing.”
Hodne scaled back her workload at the law firm for a short time before finally opting in 2010 to go full-bore into a new career.
“I had been wrapped up, admittedly, in my ego as a litigation attorney; that was hard to put aside and let go,” she said. “It took me a few years mentally to talk myself into taking off that hat and putting on a different hat.”
At Coldwell Banker, Hodne is primarily a listing agent, representing sellers of residential real estate, mainly in Washington County. In 2013, she had a sales volume of more than $5 million, earning recognition from both Coldwell Banker and the Arkansas Realtors Association.
When asked if she is still asked for legal advice, Hodne quickly answers yes, adding that she usually refers the solicitor to an attorney she trusts.
“I don’t even know if I could give legal advice if I wanted to,” she joked. “I don’t know that I could recall the proper thing to even say. That’s really far in the past for me.”
Hodne’s passion for serving also extends to community endeavors. She is a past board member of the Walton Arts Center and The Jones Center for Families, and is currently the board chair of The Jones Center Development Council, a fundraising entity.
She is also involved in fundraising for programs at Haas Hall Academy in Fayetteville.