Minnesota Litigator profiles are of Minnesota civil litigators whose practices are somewhat “niche” and who therefore are not as widely known as the depth of their expertise might deserve. Jake Holdreith has had more than twenty years of civil litigation experience in two large Minnesota law firms, but his practice is national so it’s possible you have not come across him. Jake’s practice is extraordinary and Jake is extraordinary.
Question: How long have you been at the Robins Kaplan law firm?
Jake Holdreith: I started at Robins in February, ’01, so I guess that makes it 14 years. And before that I was at Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly for about eleven years.
Question: Before that?
Jake Holdreith: No. I summer clerked at Oppenheimer. Although when I started at Oppenheimer they had a wonderful trial program where they ran you through the state attorney general’s office for three months to defend drivers’ license revocation administrative hearings, for people who had either failed the breath test or refused the breath test, and were trying to get their licenses back, which is really stacked in favor of the state and almost impossible to lose if you were representing the state. These proceedings were really used as a discovery vehicle by DWI attorneys who were anticipating the criminal case and using the administrative revocation hearing as a way to cross-examine the cop and find out what the testimony was going to be like at the main event.
A very wonderful way for a trial lawyer to gain a lot of courtroom experience.
Question: So that was a program at Oppenheimer back in 1990?
Jake Holdreith: Yes. I think everyone who was assigned to a trial department would be assigned a rotation through that program.
I was the very first one in my class so before I even started worked at Oppenheimer, I did work at the AG’s office for three months.
Question: Does Robins offer any such program?
We do not have a program like that. We try to get our trial associates to trials, with us in trials for clients, as early as possible but we don’t have a formal program. In our pro bono program, we have some trial opportunities. It is not required but there are opportunities there.
Question: As a seasoned veteran of two major Minnesota law firms, are you of the opinion that large law firms are more or less fungible, similar institutions, just because they’re in the same business and include the same kinds of people, or do the firms have unique personalities?