Television ads featuring Jack Prescott and his Twin Cities law firm's tagline — "This is all we do, and we do it well" — made him Minnesota's best known and busiest bankruptcy attorney over several decades.
Prescott, a practicing attorney for more than 50 years until 2009, died March 4. He was 87.
In 1986, about a year after lawyers were allowed to appeal to the public, Prescott began doing television commercials. He crafted the catch phrase to get around the laws of the day that forbid lawyers from advertising that they are "specialists."
The pitch became seared on the minds of television viewers, sometimes running 25 times a week on Channel 9, and included his declaration of being "the busiest bankruptcy lawyer in Minnesota."
The ads worked, Prescott said in a 2002 Star Tribune interview, because he looks honest. "They seem to do better during the soaps. I don't know why," he said.
By 2001, Prescott's firm was handling roughly 3,000 bankruptcy cases a year, representing about 20 percent of all such cases in the state.
"You can't talk about bankruptcies in Minnesota without talking about Jack Prescott," Ernest Peake, an attorney at another firm that dealt frequently with Prescott's clients, said in the early 1990s.
Bankruptcy, Prescott said, is "a little bit like a confession. Making the decision to come see us is the hardest part. Usually when they walk out of here they have a smile on their face."
Prescott graduated from Wilson High School in St. Paul and attended what is now the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, graduating in 1951.
While studying law at night, he worked for his father's collection agency in St. Paul during the day, serving papers and making collections. Soon after law school, he was drafted into the Army and served two years.
After the military, Prescott returned to law, first doing legal work for finance companies and ultimately shifting solely to bankruptcy in 1975. Richard Pearson joined the firm in 1983.
Prescott & Pearson has continued after its founder left the practice in 2009.
It is based in New Brighton — midway between the bankruptcy courts in Minneapolis and St. Paul — and includes offices in Eagan, Maple Grove, Woodbury and Eden Prairie.
Among the firm's roster of lawyers and paralegals is Prescott's son, Scott. Jack Prescott is preceded in death by a brother, Scott, who worked in the Prescott firm from 1958 until his death in 1970 at age 40 from liver failure.
Along with son Scott, Prescott is survived by his wife, Lisa, sons Craig and Tommy, and daughter Yun. Services have been held.