Serving the needs of our clients with caring, collaborative, and client-focused attorneys is always top of mind at Lommen Abdo. Hearing about his experiences, we knew Christopher Scott would fit right in on our team, and we are delighted to welcome him to the firm. Christopher’s practice is focused on insurance defense, civil litigation, professional liability, personal injury, and medical malpractice.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Christopher and discuss his path to Lommen, his biggest successes, how his past experiences have shaped his legal practice, and more.
Describe major career and life decisions which led you to your current position. How have these experiences shaped the way you engage with clients?
My parents have always stressed the importance of education and pushed me toward a professional career. Coming from humble beginnings, I always thought a legal career would be my path. I started my undergraduate studies majoring in Political Science, and ended up adding a double major in Sociology, which connected my education with my passion for social issues.
When I started law school, I thought I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, because that’s what you see the most in TV and media and I knew I wanted to do work in criminal defense, police misconduct, civil rights, etc. However, I also wanted to keep my options open and explore more facets of law, because I’ve found it’s important to have an understanding of a broad range of practices, even if it’s not my expertise. I clerked at the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office while in law school, which gave me a great initial experience and understanding of working with clients, and the complexities of the criminal justice system.
After graduation, I began my legal career in the Housing unit at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, where I had the opportunity to use my legal expertise to help people who had nowhere else to turn. It taught me how to interact with clients, who often were dealing with many outside struggles in addition to facing homelessness. It was a real eye opener seeing firsthand how, unfortunately, the law isn’t always sympathetic to people’s situations.
After a few years, I joined a small private firm in Minneapolis where I had the unique opportunity to work on the George Floyd case, Daunte Wright case, and other impactful civil rights litigation. This was a really great chance to do work I have been passionate about my whole life, often taking a step back and realizing, “Okay, this person is really depending on me to deal with one of the most difficult situations of their life.”
After some time, I realized that I wanted to join a larger firm and start the next phase of my career. Having the ability to walk down the hall and get immediate feedback and expertise from experienced attorneys is so valuable, and I was ready for the structure and support that larger firms often provide. Lommen checked all my boxes, and I’m really looking forward to building a long career here.
What motivates you as a lawyer?
Solving a client’s problem is a huge motivator. My competitive spirit drives me to ensure my clients see a positive outcome in the end. When I worked in housing, I was able to keep a roof over clients’ heads who were facing eviction. It may seem small to many, but it’s huge for someone feeling they have nowhere else to turn.
I’m also really motivated by structured argument. Oral argument fascinates me because it offers the opportunity for differing opinions to be heard respectfully, a trait so often lost in greater society today. And attention to detail – I can sit in an office for hours on end looking for that “needle in the haystack” piece of information that helps a client’s case. Structured argument and effective communication are such key factors in making progress, both in any given legal matter and in broader society as a whole.
Tell us a few of your biggest successes as a lawyer.
Within the first three years of my career, I had the opportunity to argue at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court. I have also won pretty significant settlements for clients who have lost loved ones, and clients who have suffered in hospitals through medical malpractice. Getting to be involved in the teams representing George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and Winston Smith taught me a lot. Being at a point in my career that I can start to volunteer and mentor at law schools is really rewarding, too.
What unique perspectives do you bring to your practice?
As a Black man, I have a unique perspective that has shaped my understanding of the law and how it interacts with many of my clients. There are not a lot of Black attorneys in Minnesota and it is unfortunate to see how people of color are so often involved in the legal system yet reflected so little in the actual practice. There’s a degree of feeling heard and understood that comes with clients of color working with lawyers of color. My experiences have allowed me to have a really true sense of empathy with my clients and I continue to learn from each of them every day.
It’s also very important to me to listen and pay attention to my clients’ stories. Having worked with people in really difficult life situations, I learned that while this may just be one case for a lawyer, for a client it can be one of the most difficult situations they ever experience.
What is your client philosophy?
Beyond listening, I think managing expectations is incredibly important. Often, clients think their legal issue will be resolved in a day, but you have to be realistic. It’s important to manage client expectations to establish a healthy working relationship and mutual respect in order to reach the most desired outcome.
What are you most proud of?
I didn’t grow up with attorneys in my family or friend circle that so many of my law school classmates and legal colleagues enjoyed. I was often intimidated by the practical knowledge I felt I lacked and there were certain things I heard in law school that were fairly discouraging. Now I can look back and say “I made it.” I’m pretty proud of that, and seeing the progression of my career so far.
I’m also proud of being a lawyer in general. I think it gives you a unique perspective on the world around you. You really learn how the institutions around us work, and how to challenge them. Having the ability to work towards that progress; I’m very proud to be in a profession that can have that kind of impact.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I had a pretty cool opportunity to have breakfast at the Governor’s Mansion with Governor Walz. And maybe it’s a bit more well-known than I’d like, but I am deathly afraid of heights and spiders. Please don’t ask me to kill any spiders around here!
Lommen Abdo President Marc Johannsen welcomes Christopher to the firm, and had this to say about him, “Christopher is a great addition to the Lommen Abdo team. His compassionate and collaborative approach to his practice will be a great fit at the firm, and will serve our clients well.”