Minneapolis attorney Chris Madel, who has run high-profile internal investigations for the Minnesota Vikings and other prominent organizations, is leaving his job at Robins Kaplan LLP to start his own downtown firm.

Madel PA will start doing business on Monday, he said. Madel, the former chair of Robins Kaplan’s business litigation department, is bringing six colleagues from his former firm.

The Waseca native said he is striking out on his own after nearly 17 years at Robins Kaplan to fulfill a lifelong goal. “I’ve always wanted to have my own law firm.”

Madel said his firm will specialize in complex commercial litigation, internal investigations and white-collar criminal defense and already has five jury trials scheduled for the coming year.

Veteran Minneapolis attorney Joseph Friedberg said it’s challenging to start a private law firm from scratch, but he commended Madel on the team he assembled — which includes attorneys Jenny Robbins, Aaron Thom, Cassandra Merrick and Sam Ellingson, and paralegals Amanda Booth and Morgan MacDonald. “In addition to being a really great litigator, the guy’s a great transactional lawyer,” Friedberg said. “I’ve never seen that combined in a lawyer before.”

Madel began his career as a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s antitrust division in Washington, D.C. Since returning to Minnesota in 2000, Madel has defended clients in notable criminal cases. Alongside B. Todd Jones, a Robins Kaplan partner who later became U.S. attorney, Madel helped Twins legend Kirby Puckett win acquittal on assault charges in 2003.

Robbins will assume the role of managing partner at Madel PA while continuing to represent Madel in a long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department over data withheld from FOIA requests filed in 2012 and 2013. A federal judge recently ordered the government to negotiate with Madel in the case.

“It’s always nice when you can bring your own lawyer with you,” Madel said.


Twitter: @smontemayor