A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.
BLAKE NELSON, HELLMUTH & JOHNSON
Title: Managing partner
Attorney Blake Nelson, the new managing partner at the Hellmuth & Johnson law firm in Edina, is focusing on leading the firm to continued expansion with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Nelson succeeds Chad Johnson, who had been managing partner since the firm's inception in 1994. Johnson's tenure saw the firm, which represents individuals and businesses, grow to one of Minnesota's 25 largest law firms, with 40 attorneys and 80 total employees, and build its 42,000-square-foot headquarters.
Nelson, who joined Hellmuth & Johnson in 1997, has concentrated on the construction industry while representing privately held business of all types. He is chairman of the firm's construction law group. Nelson traces his interest in construction to growing up working at his family's lumberyard and construction business in a small central-Minnesota town. "My father was a shrewd businessman, and that was something that I saw from an early age," said Nelson, who found a similar entrepreneurial mind-set at Hellmuth & Johnson. "We've tended to run our firm more like a business. Our goal has always been to be nimble and innovative and sort of a partner with our clients."
Nelson, who earned his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law, said his goals include pursuing growth through making strategic lateral hires, maintaining the firm's positive workplace culture and undertaking marketing initiatives.
QWhy did you want to become a lawyer?
AI was an English major in my undergraduate studies. One thing that appealed to me about practicing law was its focus on communications skills and the ability to write and convey and argue. That was one area that I was inspired by in deciding that law school would be a good fit.
QDid you get much hands-on construction experience at your family's business?
ABy the time I got old enough to be useful in that area, my father had decided that the education he was helping to pay for would be better served in the office. Hands-on was more in estimating and project planning, waiting on customers and things like that, vs. being out swinging a hammer.
QWhy should clients consider bringing their business to Hellmuth & Johnson?
AIf you become a client of our firm, a business or individual client, you would quickly learn we have a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude where we get to know your business or your situation inside and out. You're not going to get passed around to five different attorneys.