Dennis O'Toole

Dennis Discusses His Practice

I view my practice quite simply:  I enthusiastically represent small businesses!

My wife, Nancy, has reminded me that I told her right after graduating from law school that my goal was to represent small business owners.  After working for an appellate judge for a year, I went to work for a few years in Duluth and then moved to Grand Rapids to join my present law firm.

For several years, I concentrated on civil trial work, but always made sure that I handled a fair amount of business and real estate transactions.  My trial practice gradually changed so that most of my cases involved business, construction, environmental and commercial real estate issues.  After a while, more and more clients wanted me to represent them in business transactions, whether in setting up corporations and other business forms or handling sales and purchases of businesses and business real estate.  I was confident that my trial experience gave me a commonsense grasp of how to structure business deals to avoid disputes, or at least put my clients in a good position to favorable resolve disputes that did come up.

Realizing that I had less and less time for trial work, I gave up the Civil Trial Specialist designation that I earned at the time this certification was first recognized in Minnesota.  I soon found that being away from the constant hustle-bustle of trial law and being able to have some control of my own schedule freed me up to be much more available to respond to the needs of my business clients and have time to put more creativity into the work I was doing for them.

Working with men and women who put their financial well-being on the line every day gives me a continuing respect for the entrepreneurial culture of northern Minnesota.  In return, it is not enough for me to plug a few words into the blanks on tired old forms – that is not legal service.  My philosophy is that my clients deserve more than “paint-by-numbers” legal services.  I strive to understand a client’s business sufficiently to offer creative legal advice, document drafting, and negotiation assistance that fits not only that client’s particular business, but the way my client views his or her business.

Should a client be put in a situation where a litigation attorney is needed, I take pride that I practice with some of the most experienced and practical trial lawyers in the area.  No other law firm in Itasca County has attorneys who have received Civil Trial Specialist certification or have the years of civil trial experience offered by Lano, O’Toole & Bengtson.