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David R. Marshall, Fredrikson & Byron P.A.
David R. Marshall, Fredrikson & Byron P.A.

The POWER 30: David R. Marshall

Having three brothers and a father who was a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, David Marshall grew up with many spirited discussions around the dinner table. He took a class from his father on defamation law and had a lot of fun.

But he became interested in another field, commercial law, and joined Fredrikson & Byron P.A. in 1987. “I lucked out in getting into a firm that’s been terrific for me personally and for the community. It has a great culture. If you like and respect people, it’s fun to be with them and practice on a daily basis,” Marshall said.

His practice consists of commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, banking and financial services. He also represents lawyers and law firms on various matters.

Shareholder disputes have a long track record, Marshall said. They depend on the frequency of transactions by the company and so may slow down occasionally.

Although there have been several shareholder disputes in the news lately, Marshall is talking not about buy-outs but about times where the company has taken a position the shareholders deem unfair to them. Those sometimes evolve into class actions, he said.

For instance, a large medical device company became involved in a $13 billion putative class action involving a transaction. After several years and appeals, the district court denied certification, then the case was resolved confidentially.

“Generally you have a finite number of shareholders who sue the case out putatively on behalf of all the shareholders, so the [class] certification is important,” Marshall said. Without a class the main plaintiffs’ claims can be resolvable, he added.

Marshall noted that Fredrikson & Byron has a big emphasis on pro bono, and it facilitates lawyers getting involved in a really effective way. He has represented Mary Jo Copeland at Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis.

“A really interesting project is a volunteer conciliation court referee program in Scott County. It’s a tremendous learning experience even for more seasoned lawyers to take off your advocacy hat,” he said.