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Molly Jean Given is a partner in the Minneapolis office of Bowman and Brooke. (Submitted photo)
Molly Jean Given is a partner in the Minneapolis office of Bowman and Brooke. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: ‘Wheels work’ expands device liability practice

Name: Molly Jean Given

Title: Partner, Bowman and Brooke

Education: B.A., English and American Studies, Colby College; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Molly Jean Given, partner in the Minneapolis office of Bowman and Brooke, believes her medical device clients will benefit from the auto products liability work she’s taken on over the last year.

Given did “wheels work” in recreational vehicles when she started at the firm before focusing on product liability cases involving devices.

“It helps keep you fresh to have different types of products because you might learn something that they do in auto that they never do in device and try that,” Given said.

Auto products liability cases often involve travel to inspect vehicles and incident scenes, Given said.

Medical devices continue to be a mainstay for Given, who previously earned Minnesota Lawyer Up & Coming Attorney honors for chairing medical device trials.

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

A: A little humor and a lot of kindness.

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

A: I was one of those kindergartners who told people I wanted to be a lawyer. Teachers in elementary school would remark to my parents that I had a strong sense of justice, which was influenced by stories about my great-grandfather, who prosecuted and defended mobsters in St. Paul in the ’30s and a healthy dose of “Matlock” at night growing up.

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

A: Every night I read a story out of the “Elephant and Piggy” compendium book with my toddler.

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: Disorganized writing. I like bullets and subject matter topics that are underlined. People tend to write in stream-of-consciousness in their e-mails. You can say what you’re trying to say and can say it in a stronger way when you give it some nice organization.

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

A: I like the storytelling aspect of trial work, putting together themes within the boundaries of the law and the facts and then going through the performance part of it.

Q: Least favorite?

A: This is maybe not specific to being an attorney but is essential to being one for me right now and that’s day care drop-off. It’s the absolute worst.

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

A: I like to travel with family. We have in-laws and parents who live in Hawaii and on Sanibel Island in Florida, so we get there almost every year. We take a couple trips to the North Shore with the kids.

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

A: I grew up in the Twin Cities, and pretty much always take somebody for a Jucy Lucy. I live by the Mississippi River in St. Paul, so I pretty much always take them on a walk along the river on both sides between the Ford and Lake Street bridges and hit up Minnehaha Park along the way.

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

A: The women trial lawyers at my firm have been my inspiration. In particular Sandra Ezell, in the Richmond office. I tried two device cases with her and now am doing auto work with her; and Kim Schmid and Alana Bassin. They’ve been extremely generous with their time and patience.

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

A: They think it would be boring, but my job isn’t boring. I think I was second-year doing inspections of Yamaha Rhinos on mountaintops in national parks and deposing top surgeons in their field. I’ve been to factories where they make medical devices.

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

A: I generally try to avoid lawyer shows and books, but I’m definitely partial to the movie remakes of the Grisham novels in the ’90s.

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