Although he relishes being a trial attorney, Brandon Thompson was almost a star of a different kind. The first person in his family to go to college, he’d decided to be a theater major, continuing a love for performance that started in high school. But then a course in pre-law involved a mock trial, and he was hooked.
“I began to realize that being a trial lawyer was like theater, it had that same kind of excitement,” he says. After he jumped his educational track, Thompson came to appreciate all the nuances of the law, and particularly personal injury work. “I realized there’s no higher calling than using to law to represent the little guy who really does need help,” he recalls.
As partner at Robins Kaplan, Thompson brought that passion into one of the firm’s most notable recent cases. A client in his mid-40s had suffered a spinal artery stroke and paraplegia following surgery, and during investigation for medical malpractice, it was suggested that the anesthesiologist had failed to provide adequate fluids before surgery. No settlement offer was made, and even more challenging, medical records noted that the client had been able to move his legs immediately after surgery, which was in direct contradiction to the client’s experience.
“The biggest struggle was asking the jury to believe our client over the word of doctors and nurses,” Thompson says. “Fortunately, he is such a credible witness that I just stood out of his way.”
The result was a $9.1 million verdict on behalf of the client, which will allow him to obtain medical care vital to continuing his recovery.
In addition to that major verdict, Thompson obtained a host of other multimillion dollar settlements for his clients in 2015. These included cases involving birth injuries, surgical mishaps, and post-operative issues. Total verdicts and settlements in his cases for the year exceeded $30 million.
Part of Thompson’s success comes from a solid foundation at Robins Kaplan, he notes. The firm has a legacy of medical malpractice work, and he says, “They’ve kind of invented the way that this is practiced in Minnesota. So, I’ve had the incredible good fortune to follow in a long line of expert medical malpractice lawyers here.”
He also hopes that line will continue on through the next generation, which is why Thompson has made a commitment to mentoring up-and-coming attorneys who want to specialize in medical malpractice issues. With an increasingly aging population and the importance of healthcare in our society, having talented attorneys will be essential for representing clients, he believes.
Most of all, he loves coming into work every day. He’s never lost that enthusiasm that was sparked during that first, heady mock trial. “This is super nerdy, but I absolutely love my job,” he says. “I’ve had the good fortune of falling into doing exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life.”