ark Briol was 19 when he made a life-changing decision. An aspiring boxer, he lost a crucial fight on a decision that went against him and decided to leave the sport for higher education.
He transferred that drive and energy to law school and went on to graduate first in his class at what is now Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He’s had his own Minneapolis law firm for 33 years: Briol & Benson, PLLC, which practices across the country, mostly for businesses and shareholders.
Wanting to do “complicated law,” Briol started in securities litigation. He tried cases and won, building a national reputation. Then he took his practice beyond business and securities. He started to add lawyers “with extraordinary cases,” and many have stayed for 20 years or more.
In other cases, Briol represents about 40% of the counties in Minnesota in MDL litigation and in the northern district of Ohio against manufacturers, distributors and pharmaceuticals for fraudulent business practice in pushing opioids on the public, thereby costing counties enormous sums of money on health care.
A settlement has been reached and lawyers are in the process of administering an “extremely complicated payout,” Briol said. “We sign new documents every other week.” The first tranche is $342 million. Briol’s co-counsel Motley Rice is the administrator.
Briol also is suing the Mall of America for an incident that shocked the state. Emmanuel Aranda threw a then 5-year-old boy off a third-floor balcony, likely intending to kill him. But the child survived with severe head trauma and multiple broken bones. Briol’s case alleges that the mall was negligent in its security. He represents the child and also the mother, who was in the immediate vicinity and witnessed the assault on her son. The matter’s trial date has been moved to January.
As the legal profession returns to a semblance of pre-COVID-19 normality, Briol sees two pressing issues. The first is getting jury trials going again. The second is the workplace environment. “How do you get people to come back to the office?”