Name: Jeff Storms
Title: Owner, Newmark Storms Dworak
Education: B.A. in sociology, Davidson College; J.D., University of St. Thomas School of Law
Attorney Jeff Storms, owner at Newmark Storms Dworak in Minneapolis, likes arguing cases at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
He enjoys winning there too as he did on consecutive days last August.
The favorable opinions involved allegations of civil rights violations in which law enforcement officials seriously injured clients in “takedown” cases.
The first, Michael v. Trevana, “probably opened the door for success in a number of other cases,” Storms said, including his next-day win in Rokusek v. Jansen.
A “big problem lawyer,” Storms focuses on plaintiff-side personal injury and civil rights cases as well as business litigation and internal investigations.
“I’ve always wanted to fight for the little man,” Storms said. “Being a voice to stand up for people in the face of (government) power and that level of resources has always been appealing to me.”
Storms launched his firm in 2015 after working at two others.
What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?
Any way. Getting me to talk is easy. Making me stop is not.
What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?
My grandfather was the gunsmith in “Sopranos-ville,” New Jersey. My father was a cop. This has always instinctively felt like a natural progression of my family’s relationship to the law.
What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?
“Tricksters in the Madhouse: Lakers vs. Globetrotters, 1948.” I took my son to watch the Globetrotters. As iconic as the Globetrotters are, I didn’t know anything about their history. So I started looking online and became fascinated by it and in particular the Lakers game, which a lot of people consider to be a monumental moment in civil rights. The Lakers were supposed to be this unbeatable white team. They played the Globetrotters and lost on a last-second shot. It’s a story I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing a screenplay on.
What is a pet peeve of yours?
The one-space-after-a-period people.
What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?
That I can play a small role in making powerful wrongdoers stand accountable for their actions by writing plausible things on a piece of paper.
Telling a client who lost a child that I don’t see a cause of action.
What’s a favorite activity outside your job?
Screenwriting. I wrote and directed plays in college. A couple years ago I decided to reinvest in it. I had a manager in Los Angeles, some producers attached to a script. It ended up never going anywhere.
If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?
There’s a sign that reads, “Garfield – City of Champions,” stemming from a disputed high school national football championship we won in 1939. We’ve historically been a small, blue collar, immigrant-heavy town. We grew up without money but it’s a town full of people with grit, fight and pride. You’d eat a Taylor ham, egg & cheese on a hard roll for breakfast and sausage bread from Vitamia & Sons for dinner.
Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most—and why?
I value risk takers and people who aren’t afraid to run against the herd. I admire the lawyers I’ve seen leave seemingly good or comfortable jobs to build their vision for a successful and sustainable law practice. Those lawyers motivated me to form my own firm and still inspire me.
What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney or judge?
“Legally Blonde” infers a perception that we’re all “boring and ugly and serious.” That’s just not true despite what our pet peeves reflect.
What is your favorite depiction of the law, the legal professional in popular culture?
Rudy Baker from “The Rainmaker” inspired me as a teenager. I’ve watched the first two episodes of the “John Adams” miniseries an unhealthy number of times. I also enjoy “Boston Legal,” “Billions” and “Goliath.”
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