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Alfred Coleman is managing partner of the newly opened Minneapolis office of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr. (Submitted photo)
Alfred Coleman is managing partner of the newly opened Minneapolis office of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: ‘Matlock’ fan finds reward in corporate practice

Name: Alfred Coleman

Title: Managing partner, Minneapolis office, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr

Education: B.A., financial management, University of St. Thomas; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

While Alfred Coleman, managing partner of the newly opened Minneapolis office of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, enjoyed watching “Matlock” and “Perry Mason,” he finds his corporate practice more rewarding.

Coleman wasn’t sure how he would apply his legal education in the business world, having seen only courtroom litigators like Mason and Matlock on TV while growing up.

Since taking a chance on law school, Coleman has developed a sophisticated corporate practice. His work includes mergers and acquisitions, private equity representation and formation of venture stage and full-fledged private equity funds.

Coleman typically represents portfolio companies that private equity firms acquire, serving as outside general counsel to closely held and private middle-market companies.

Coleman is an author as well, having written “Secrets to Success,” a career development guide he wrote after losing his father.

It began as a letter to his son and twin daughters, now ages 11 and 9, respectively, and grew from there, Coleman said.

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

A. Ask me who is the greatest of all time, Jordan or LeBron. Spoiler alert: It’s Jordan. He played in six NBA finals, won all six and has six finals MVPs. End of discussion.

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

A. I had a passion for business. I thought I would use my legal degree in a corporate setting. When I was growing up, it was “Matlock” and old “Perry Mason” reruns. I always thought all lawyers had to be litigators. I was happy I took that leap to go to law school because it’s certainly paid significant dividends.

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

A. “Black Fortunes” by Shomari Wills. It highlights the first five or six black millionaires in the country after the abolition of slavery. It’s a really cool read in honor of Black History Month.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. Unnecessarily long storytellers.

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

A. I like helping my clients. Many of the clients I have, almost all of them are close and dear friends. If they’re not now, they will be over time. It’s really cool to help them accomplish their goals.

Q. Least favorite?

A. There’s just never enough time in the day.

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

A. I’ve developed a very strong passion for bass fishing. I’ve got all the rigs and lures. I’ve got a fishing kayak that I use to tool around at our lake cabin.

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

A. The can’t-miss activity — and I’m not just saying it because they’re a client — is going down to U.S. Bank Stadium if we’re in season. Almost every friend that visits, we’ll grab a couple tickets and go to a game. It’s honestly one of most gorgeous stadiums I’ve ever been in because of the indoor-outdoor feature.

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

A. Thurgood Marshall because of what he’s meant to the profession as a private practitioner and ultimately as a judge. I literally couldn’t be where I am today without his personal sacrifices.

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

A. Most casual acquaintances think I go to court or some portion of my day involves court. They’re usually highly disappointed when they realize I’ve never stepped foot in a courtroom in a legal or personal capacity. They immediately gain interest once they realize some of the cool clients I represent whether it’s the Vikings or some of the current and former players I represent.

Q. What if any is your favorite depiction of the law, the legal professional in popular culture?

A. “Matlock.” I watched that off and on growing up and then they seemed to always have reruns when I was in law school, so I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every episode.

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