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Breaking the Ice: Finance background offers litigator an edge

Todd Nelson//November 6, 2019

Breaking the Ice: Finance background offers litigator an edge

Todd Nelson//November 6, 2019

Name: Craig Krummen

Title: Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig

Education: B.B.A., finance, Iowa State University; J.D., University of Iowa College of Law

Craig Krummen’s aptitude for finance may be his greatest asset in complex commercial litigation and intellectual property litigation.

Having majored in finance with an accounting emphasis, Krummen said, gives him a distinct advantage in analyzing damages reports when opposing counsel may rely on expert witnesses.

“Where a lot of the commercial litigators and intellectual property litigators that I go up against have a shortcoming is understanding damages claims,” Krummen said.

Krummen has built a national practice in his specialties in the five years since a jury awarded a verdict on all liability claims in favor of client Kuryakyn Holdings Inc.

That result earned Krummen and Tiffany Blofield, who this year  joined Greenberg Traurig from Winthrop & Weinstine, Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year honors.

Two years as vice president and deputy counsel at Marvin Windows has been valuable in understanding how to collaborate with in-house counsel, Krummen said.

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

A: Ask me where I’m from. I grew up in a small town in rural Iowa in the middle of the farm crisis. I interned during college for congressman Fred Grandy, who played Gopher on “The Love Boat.” He had a phrase for it, “rural dismantlement.”

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

A: I’ve always been a big believer in justice and figuring out how to redress unfairness. I was pretty good at problem solving and at advocacy. If you can converge the ability to solve problems, to advocate and to seek redress for unfairness the law is probably your ticket.

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

A: “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.” His mother taught him that what he was experiencing in the South was the result of a social condition that needed to be redressed. It wasn’t the natural order of things.

Q: What’s a pet peeve of yours?

A: The proliferation of false narratives — I believe it’s on the increase in politics, in litigation matters — really bothers me.

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

A: Righting an injustice or seeking redress for unfairness and making sure that the harm is redressed.

Q: Least favorite?

A: Trying to find balance in a profession that not always but certainly can become all consuming.

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

A: Going on vacation with my family over spring break. We usually go to Florida, close to the Gulf. We live in our third older Victorian home that we’ve restored, so restoring old homes and preserving those is a passion.

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

A: I would take you to some of the smaller (rural Iowa) communities. It has recovered from the ’80s but still is struggling to provide economic opportunity for the next generation.

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

A: The biggest influence when I was younger was an assistant dean at the University of Iowa, Tom Senneff. He was a practicing trial lawyer for two decades before that job, perhaps the wisest attorney that I was ever around. He recruited me in my first week of my first year of law school. It was probably best thing that ever happened to me in terms of mentorship.

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

A: People think that the practice of litigation and trial work is an individual accomplishment. In reality we, the first chairs, are heavily dependent on forging a committed team and the victory belongs to the team.

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

A: The movie and the book by Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I didn’t appreciate the depth and the wisdom in that book until I read it the second time, to my daughter who is showing the DNA of a lawyer-to-be.

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