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Brian Clark, partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen, urges students to develop expertise in e-discovery in the seminar he teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School. (File photo: Bill Klotz)
Brian Clark, partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen, urges students to develop expertise in e-discovery in the seminar he teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School. (File photo: Bill Klotz)

Breaking the Ice: E-discovery expertise complements practice

Name: Brian Clark

Title: Partner, Lockridge Grindal Nauen

Education: B.A., psychology and economics, Luther College; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Brian Clark, partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen, enjoys advising government and corporate clients on e-discovery policies and finding ways to handle them more efficiently and at lower cost.

Clark, co-founder of the annual Complex Litigation E-Discovery Forum, recommends developing expertise in the area to students in the e-discovery seminar he teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School.

“I tell them that it’s one of the few areas an attorney in their first five years of practice can stand out and develop expertise and have a leadership role in a case,” Clark said. “For me that was within a month or so of starting at my firm.”

Clark said his e-discovery knowledge benefits his work in plaintiffs’-side antitrust class actions, which typically involve tremendous amounts of data.

“What I’ve learned through those cases I can then help apply to advising clients,” Clark said. “It’s rewarding to help them improve.”

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. Say hello. I love to hear what other attorneys are working on.

Q. What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A. I went to law school to pursue a career in environmental litigation. Since that time I veered more toward antitrust and e-discovery, but I still have the opportunity on occasion to work with our environmental practice group here and help them increasingly with e-discovery issues. I was a canoe guy up in the Boundary Waters for a couple summers at a camp up there and got married up there, so I have a strong love of the outdoors.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. I love mystery novels about Minnesota, so I love William Kent Krueger’s books and John Sandford and the other authors who write Minnesota-based novels.

Q. What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A. I love depositions. They’re an amazing opportunity, to put somebody in the deposition chair and do your best to seek the truth. I also particularly love the plaintiff’s side class-action part of my practice. We work with many small- to medium-sized businesses and when they or we see a wrong, the class-action tool lets us find a remedy for them and everybody else who has been harmed in the same way. It feels like you’re in the role in a class-action context of a private attorney general. You have the benefit of working with a small group of named representatives but attaining relief for a far broader group of people.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. Camping, especially with our kids. My wife and I have a young daughter and a son, and they’re usually game for whatever adventure we take them on.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A. If they have kids we almost always take them to the Como Zoo. It’s a real jewel of St. Paul, where we live.

Q. Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most?

A. Justice [David] Lillehaug on the Minnesota Supreme Court. I had the privilege of working with him very early on in my practice on a couple of [election] recounts. He is an absolutely outstanding attorney and is incredibly relatable and down to earth. It’s a gift to the state of Minnesota to have somebody like that on the court.

Q. What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney?

A. The biggest misconception is the “as-seen-on-TV problem.” It would be the most boring show in the world to show what attorneys actually do, as much as I love it and find it rewarding. When I describe to my daughter what did I do today, it’s, “Well, I was on the phone and I typed a lot.” … So when I tell my daughter what I do, I tell her I help people solve problems.

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