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Marcus Laman
Marcus Laman

Breaking the Ice: M&A attorney pivoted to pandemic relief

Name: Marcus Laman

Title: Partner, Taft’s Minneapolis office

Education: BBA, business, University of Wisconsin – Madison; MBA, University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

When Marcus Laman’s M&A practice slowed as pandemic-related shutdown orders closed many businesses last spring and summer, the partner in Taft’s Minneapolis quickly got up to speed on another acronym — PPP, as in Paycheck Protection Program.

Laman said he, like other business attorneys and even litigators, quickly turned into PPP attorneys, helping clients navigate the federal loan program designed to help businesses keep workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic and other relief options.

“It was a daily task keeping up with that and making sure your clients had the best and most current information,” Laman said. “It wasn’t close to anything I had done previously or most of my colleagues.”

Mergers-and-acquisitions volume began returning to normal in the fall, Laman said. He helped two local companies sell then, one a consumer products company with a strong online presence and the other a consulting company.

 

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

A: It used to be to tell me about someplace exciting you’ve visited. That’s challenging with everybody on lockdown, so tell me about some fun travel plan you have lined up once it’s safe to travel again.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: I was business and psychology major. I wasn’t ready to commit yet to heading out into the workforce because I hadn’t found something that I really enjoyed, but I did enjoy being a student. I thought, “Why not go to some type of grad program?” It was between law school and a grad program in psychology. I thought that a law degree may be more universally applicable, so that’s the path I chose. I wanted to be a business attorney. There were a few areas that I thought would be helpful to learn at the Carlson School, in particular finance and accounting, so I chose the dual degree.

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

A: I’m due to become a new dad in the next couple weeks, so anything and everything related to caring for a newborn is what I’m reading.

Q: What’s your pet peeve?

A: Tardiness.

Q: What’s the best part of your work?

A: Our clients are closely held companies that have been in a family through a couple of generations. When they decide to sell, it’s often the biggest professional and sometimes personal decision that they’ve made in their lifetime. To be able to counsel someone through that process is very fulfilling.

Q: What do you least like about it?

A: Time sheets.

Q: What’s a favorite activity away from work?

A: Anything outside. Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting.

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

A: I’m from Eau Claire. Carson Park is where Wisconsin-Eau Claire plays football and baseball. I spent a bunch of time there as a kid playing baseball and football. It used to be home to the Eau Claire Braves, and Hank Aaron started his minor league career there. It’s pretty cool to play on the field where Hank Aaron started.

Q: Is there an attorney or judge whom you most admire? Why?

A: My dad practices law and I admire him a lot. We do different things, but he’s been instrumental in terms of where I am now.

Q: What’s a misconception that others have about your work as an attorney?

A: The question that I almost always get is, so you spend all time reading or writing contracts? That is certainly a big part of being a transactional, and especially as you progress in your career you spend much more time strategizing with or counseling your clients.

Q: What’s a favorite novel, movie or TV show about lawyers or the legal profession?

A: The movie “Dark Waters.” The attorney and the firm it’s about is Taft, the firm that we [Briggs & Morgan] merged with last year.

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