What is your experience in high-stakes civil litigation?
Minneapolis attorney Scott Benson of Briol & Associates discusses his background as a lawyer working on cases with lots of money in the balance.
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Well, my experience in high stakes litigation began pretty early in my career, and I’ve been practicing in law now for over 25 years. But the very first case I ever worked on – I worked at Dorsey & Whitney, which is a big firm – and the very first case I worked on was a shareholder derivative suit that was several millions of dollars in alleged losses. And so, from the start, I was able to work on some fairly significant cases that somewhat set me on the path to be able to look at these complex financial issues in a way, and strategically think of them in a way, as they proceed through litigation.
I also had the good fortune to be involved in some smaller cases as well that actually got me in the courtroom and to be able to argue motions and to be able to actually try cases as a younger lawyer. And that experience, for me, was invaluable. It made me feel pretty comfortable in the courtroom. There are a number of attorneys who don’t have that opportunity and who only work on these extremely large cases and don’t get a chance to actually try cases as a young attorney. And so, for me, I was fortunate to be able to have both sides – to see the really complex cases and get to work on those high document, high stakes, extremely interesting, strategic cases, and also to do smaller cases where I could try my own case in front of a jury and be able to have that experience as well.
I also had the opportunity to be a client, so I’ve seen it from the client end. When I was on the city council in Minneapolis, we had excellent attorneys in the city attorneys’ office and we also had attorneys that we hired from outside to work on cases, and I had the good fortune to be able to work with some very excellent attorneys in cases for the city as they progressed through the courts as well. So I’ve had the aspect of looking at these cases from all kinds of different angles, which I think has been very fortunate for me in my career.