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Brandon Thompson last year was invited to be the youngest Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. (Submitted photo)
Brandon Thompson last year was invited to be the youngest Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Family perspective drives malpractice work

Name: Brandon Thompson

Title: Partner, Ciresi Conlin

Education: B.A., political science, University of Minnesota; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School.

Brandon Thompson, partner at Ciresi Conlins, says his family has motivated him to “fight for the little guy” in his medical malpractice work.

Thompson, the first in his family to go to college, points to his “blue-collar upbringing” with a father and grandfathers who were laborers.

A father of three, Thompson cites having a daughter who has had significant medical complications.

“That’s only made my passion for this type of work even stronger,” Thompson said.

Thompson last year was invited to be the youngest Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

“If you want to try cases in the civil world medical malpractice is a good place to be,” Thopmson said. “So that’s one aspect of it, having the opportunity. I’ve been fortunate to have some pretty tremendous successes,” including multimillion-dollar medical malpractice verdicts in five of the last six years.

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

A: Ask me about my family. I’ve got three absolutely wonderful little kids. Or ask me about the outdoors.

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

A: When I was in high school I did theater, musical theater. My senior year I got roped into being on the mock trial team. That was wonderful. It was like, wow this is like theater except for smart kids. That started me on the path toward thinking that being a trial lawyer was what I wanted to do.

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

A: These days I find myself spending most of my time on my e-reader reading the New York Times and Politico and trying to not get depressed about the state of the world and trying to think about what can we do to make this a better world for our kids and our grandkids.

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: People who only want to talk about themselves.

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

A: Help people who are in some of the darkest times of their lives.

Q: Least favorite?

A: How adversarial things can be. By and large, we in the medical malpractice bar in Minnesota are fortunate to have a pretty collegial relationship. But the thing that I like the least is when it does get nasty and too adversarial.

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

A: Other than spending time with my kids, definitely the outdoors. I love to mountain-climb.

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

A: We live in the southwestern corner of Plymouth, so we can walk to Lake Minnetonka. Going down to downtown Wayzata would be where I would take somebody.

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

A: [Ciresi Conlin partner] Kathleen Flynn Peterson. She practices law the right way. I never met anybody who has a better relationship with such a wide variety of colleagues. She always insists on being of the highest ethical character. Her commitment to ensuring that she and the people around her are developing the next generation of talent and the next generation after that is remarkable.

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

A: That the court system is overrun by frivolous lawsuits and people who represent folks who have been injured are in the business of handling frivolous lawsuits. If I spend five or 10 minutes telling people about the cases that I’ve handled, it’s eye-opening, the extent to which medical negligence is a serious problem in our society.

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

A: When I was in high school and law school I read the book “A Civil Action” so many times that the spine fell apart. Love that book.

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