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Angela Beranek Brandt
A career highlight for Angela Beranek Brandt was serving as president of the National Association of Women Lawyers in 2018. (File photo)

Breaking the Ice: Competition a motivator in litigation practice

Name: Angela Beranek Brandt

Title: Partner, Larson King

Education: B.L.S., University of South Dakota; J.D., Hamline University School of Law

 

Angela Beranek Brandt, partner at Larson King, finds competition to be a motivator in her trial litigation practice.

“Litigation is sort of like sports for adults,” Brandt said. “It’s competitive. There’s strategy and preparation and desire and drive.”

As national trial counsel for a Fortune 100 company, Brandt is anticipating an out-of-state trial scheduled for the fall involving mask and respirator litigation. The mass tort case predates the coronavirus pandemic and the focus on personal protective equipment. Brandt has served as lead counsel in more than 75 arbitrations and trials.

A career highlight, Brandt said, was serving as president of the National Association of Women Lawyers in 2018, earning recognition as a Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year. Brandt said she was most proud of bringing together leaders of diversity ally organizations “to work on women’s issues generally and also specifically as they relate to diverse lawyers and lawyers of color.”

 

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

A: I respond very well to humor or good-natured sarcasm.

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

A: Growing up I was determined to be a doctor. I grew up in a rural small town, Miller, S.D. I had a scholarship out of high school where I was pre-accepted to medical school. College physics made me change my mind and understand that my skill set was more in reading and writing and analysis. So my junior year of college I switched majors and took the LSAT. It worked out very well.

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

A: The most recent book I finished was one my eighth-grader was reading for school, “Mississippi Trial, 1955,” based on the events around the murder of Emmit Till.

Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?

A: When people get a little too comfortable on airplanes. Especially when they put their bare feet in places.

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

A: I enjoy the challenge of finding creative ways to solve problems for my clients. I like that my job is a profession. The most fun is being in a jury trial.

Q: Least favorite?

A: The adversarial process can be grating at times.

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

A: I love to cook, although during the quarantine it probably feels like I’ve cooked as much as I want to in the short term. I like going out boating and fishing when we have the really nice weather like we’ve been having lately.

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

A: I think of my hometown still as Miller, S.D. I would take them out to my family farm, which is on the prairie. It’s just peaceful and beautiful.

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

A: [Lawrence] “Larry” King. He was our managing partner when I came to Larson King and was an incredibly gifted trial lawyer and a wonderful person. He mentored me in a way that supported me but wouldn’t tell you what to do or how to do it. He unfortunately passed away 2014.

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

A: That because you’re a lawyer you know the answer to every legal question. People understand that doctors have a specialty but I don’t think that there is a broad understanding that lawyers also have different specialties.

Q: What is your favorite depiction of the law or the legal profession in popular culture?

A: During the quarantine I binge-watched “Goliath.” Billy Bob Thornton and Nina Arianda play these great characters that have flawed personal lives but manage to pull out these big legal victories. It’s nothing like the way the legal profession actually works but it’s good entertainment.

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