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Mark Bradford
The Great Northern Innocence Project named Mark Bradford its 2022 volunteer of the year. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Partners find ‘new excitement’ at new firm

Mark Bradford didn’t want to face “what ifs” at the end of his legal career. That’s partly why he joined with three other experienced lawyers to launch their new firm, Bradford Andresen Norrie & Camarotto.

The firm opened in early January in Bloomington, Bradford said, with himself as a commercial litigator and appellate specialist; Scott Andresen, construction litigator; Jonathan Norrie, employment consulting and litigation attorney; and David Camarotto, a generalist.

“We’re all in that 45 to 50 range,” Bradford said. “We had all been at Bassford Remele for at least 15 years. And we just wanted to inject a new excitement into our careers and undertake a new challenge.”

Bradford has argued nearly 100 appeals in state and federal courts. The Great Northern Innocence Project, where he has done pro bono work for years, named Bradford its 2022 volunteer of the year. He recently won post-conviction relief after a two-week evidentiary hearing for a client wrongly convicted of second-degree murder.

Name: Mark Bradford

Title: Partner, Bradford Andresen Norrie & Camarotto

Education: B.A., economics and management, Beloit College; J.D., DePaul University College of Law

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: Usually something like “Hey, how are you?” will suffice. When I’m breaking the ice with somebody, I usually start with a compliment, like, “Hey, I like your shoes.”

Q: Why law school?

A: Out of college, I was a commercial loan analyst at a bank, and didn’t love it. This was when you could get advertisements over your fax machine. I got a $50 off coupon on an LSAT prep course and said, “Maybe I’ll take this LSAT test and see if law school might be interesting.” The rest is history.

Q: What are you reading?

A: “The New Jim Crow,” by Michelle Alexander, about the mass incarceration of minority communities in the United States.

Q: Pet peeve?

A: My wife would tell you my biggest pet peeve is being late. I love to be early. It drives me crazy when people are late. My other pet peeve two spaces after a period.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: The best part of my work right now with this new firm is the collaboration with my colleagues. We’re in temporary space while our permanent home is being built out. We’ve got folding tables next to each other, a dartboard on the wall and we talk about our cases. That will probably go by the wayside when we move into our permanent home and have offices, but the collaboration’s been the greatest.

Q: Most challenging?

A: As a lawyer, it’s that somebody is always on the other side telling you how wrong they think you are. And as any lawyer does, I like to give 100% to my clients. I strive for perfect briefs, perfect arguments, so sometimes getting sleep is the hardest part. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about questions that a panel of the Court of Appeals may ask tomorrow during oral argument.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: I do CrossFit every morning. I like to cook. I just ran my 11th marathon.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: I’m from Oak Park, Illinois, west of Chicago. Frank Lloyd Wright built a number of homes there that are fascinating to walk through. Ernest Hemingway lived in Oak Park for quite a while, so there’s an Ernest Hemingway museum. The high school is fun, because it’s just gargantuan, 4,000-plus kids. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, went to Oak Park High School.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: At Bassford Remele, Lewis Remele was a great mentor, friend and terrific attorney. I try to emulate his civility and the friendly approach he takes when he meets people. My old partner, Patrick Sauter, who’s now retired, taught me how to try cases.

Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?

A: “Twelve Angry Men” is an interesting movie about how juries make decisions. “My Cousin Vinny,” very practical lessons for lawyers can be gleaned from that movie.

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