Right out of law school, my first firm had a large mainframe and supercomputer company client, whose ownership believed that it was a business’ responsibility to help those less fortunate, and made a point of hiring convicted felons, unwed mothers, and others who, at that time, had a harder time finding work. The founder of this business set up a day school right next door to the manufacturing plant, and employed social workers to help the employees. He also set up a free legal clinic for the employees, that it was my responsibility to run. In addition to the joy of seeing the process work, it provided me with immediate and extensive trial experience at a very early point in my career. Picking juries and crafting my case for those twelve people, how to play to a judge, what kind of a witness I want, putting on the performance of the trial – all of those essential skills of winning a trial, I started laying the foundation there.
I can’t think of anything I’d rather do in the practice of law than prepare and try a lawsuit before a jury. For a myriad of reasons, the true trial lawyer is a disappearing breed; there are far more litigators than trial lawyers and by that I mean those lawyers who prepare cases, but seldom, if ever, get the opportunity to try one.
Litigation is expensive and since the Great Recession many litigants do not want to face the enormous expense associated with preparing a lawsuit. E-discovery has only exacerbated this problem. In addition, arbitration, mediation and informal settlement discussions now result in over ninety percent of commercial litigation settling. No doubt, all of these issues have been a cause of the disappearing trial lawyer. It has been a distinct privilege for me to be able to spend the majority of my career as a trial lawyer at Winthrop & Weinstine. As a founder of the firm, I am extraordinarily proud of what we have built and the firm culture that we continue to strengthen every single day. There can be no better example of the success of our culture that in a firm of over 300 individuals, our average staff member has been with us for approximately 18 years.
I also am extraordinarily proud of the respect and trust that we have for one another and the bright legal minds we foster, and the way in which we practice law. When we first formed the firm, back in 1979, I was understandably anxious as to how it would all unfold. Since those first few weeks in 1979, however, I’ve never looked back; this has been and continues to be a dream career for me in a wonderful law firm.
A Groundbreaking Moment in My Career
Honors & Awards
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor
The Best Lawyers in America©
Commercial Litigation, 1991-2019
Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2014-2019
Local Litigation Star
Benchmark Litigation, 2010-2018
LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, Peer review ratings
Named one of the top seven attorneys in Minnesota
Minnesota Lawyer, 2002
Named one of the Best Litigators in Minnesota
National Law Journal, November 1999
Minnesota Super Lawyers®
Listed in "Top 100"
Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2005-2006, 2008-2009, 2011-2017
Top 40 Business Litigation Attorneys
Minnesota Super Lawyers®
Law & Leading Attorneys
Minnesota Business Guidebook, 1994-2004
Chambers USA "Clients Guide"
Recommended in Litigation: General Commercial
Chambers USA, 2008-2009, 2011, 2014-2018
Leaders in Their Field
Litigation Counsel of America
Finance & Commerce, 2018