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Attorneys of the Year: Morgan Burns

Faegre Baker Daniels

Morgan Burns likes to joke that mergers and acquisitions are keyed into his genetic makeup. Both his father and grandfather were business attorneys in Duluth, so Burns grew up believing that attorneys negotiated deals, rather than going to court.

His family history paired well with a natural love for solving problems and tackling issues that require collaborative solutions. “In what I do, it’s all about shaking hands at the end, and hopefully, everybody being happy at the outcome,” he said.

Burns has been able to bring that enthusiastic perspective to numerous M&A and capital markets deals, and the total value of his work in both categories adds up to $2 billion in the past year.

Just in 2013, he represented H.B. Fuller Co. in its acquisition of a Brazilian company, assisted in the sale of Enstratius to Dell, represented FICO in its acquisitions of Infoglide and CR Software, and helped Archer-Daniels-Midland in the divestiture of its investment in a Mexican company. Other deals have involved companies such as Northern Oil and Gas, Piper Jaffray, The Dolan Company and Polaris Industries.

Many of the deals stand out as examples of the type of long-standing relationships that Burns appreciates building. For instance, with Northern Oil and Gas, Burns was brought in when the two young founders had a compelling idea about doing business in North Dakota and needed help expanding their business. Since then, Burns has helped the company raise over $1 billion in capital.

Similarly, Burns watched Proto Labs transition from a company operating out of garage to a firm with a market cap in the billions.

“Any opportunity to share in a success story like that is a large element of hard work, and just being there for a company’s owners,” said Burns. “My dad always said that to be a great attorney, you have to be fearless but not careless, and that’s what I try to do. I really do wake up every day thinking about how our clients can move their businesses forward.”

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