Phil concentrates his litigation practice on fiduciary and wealth transfer disputes, disputes arising out of closely-held businesses, and complicated matters involving telecommunications and technology. He has handled and tried complex cases across the country. He works with clients to set a litigation strategy early in a case, and then aggressively implements that strategy to win or settle the case.
Phil’s cybersecurity practice focuses on data governance, contract obligations, transactional due diligence and breach response.
As a wealth transfer litigation partner, Phil works closely with the firm’s private client and estate planning lawyers when wealth transfer, probate administration, and trust issues end up in litigation. Phil represents trustees, conservators and guardians, minority shareholders, and individuals involved in these types of disputes. Phil also serves as a mediator in complex disputes arising out of trust administration, probate proceedings, and management of closely-held business.
As part of Taft’s Privacy and Data Security group, Phil is active in the security area as member of InfraGard (Minnesota chapter), a partnership between U.S. businesses and the FBI focusing on the development, management and protection of infrastructure. He also serves on the Cyber Security Summit’s board of advisors.
In Phil’s 20 years practicing in the telecommunications area, he has represented clients before the FCC, more than 20 state public utilities commissions, and in federal and state courts nationwide.
Phil is a Qualified Neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice for both adjudicative and facilitative dispute resolution.
Phil received his B.A. in music and political science from Trinity University, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He obtained master’s degrees in public affairs and political science, and earned his J.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is licensed to practice in Minnesota and Iowa.
Honoree, Best Lawyers in America, Litigation – Trusts and Estates (2024)
Honoree, North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association (2020 & 2022)
Qualified Rule 114 Neutral – Facilitative and Adjudicative – for the State of Minnesota
Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US)
All Service Areas
- University of Minnesota Law School (1995)
J.D., cum laude
- University of Minnesota, M.A. (1996)
- University of Illinois, M.A. (1991)
- Trinity University, B.A. (1990)
cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
- State - Iowa
- State - Minnesota
- Federal - 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Federal - 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Federal - 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Federal - District of Minnesota
- Federal - Eastern District of Michigan
- Federal - Northern District of Iowa
- Federal - Southern District of Iowa
Phil’s representative work includes:
- Assisted the due diligence team for a large transaction on risks arising out of privacy obligations, cybersecurity and data security.
- Helped a client successfully challenge a family member’s alleged undue influence of another family member with diminished capacity.
- Represented individuals in several interrelated disputes arising out of the control of a closely held business. The claims included corporate waste, minority shareholder oppression, defamation and invasion of privacy
- Assisted a large, consumer-facing company in working through response and remediation issues caused by a cyber attack.
- Advised an entity subject to Gramm-Leach-Bliley on its contracts with vendors who obtained access to customer information.
- Advised clients as they evaluated their cyber insurance needs and coverage options.
- Represented long-distance carrier in federal court regarding access charge compensation claims related to calls to chat lines and conference bridges.
- Represented telecommunications carriers state public utility proceedings addressing state and federal rights and obligations.
- Obtained order from federal district court in California sanctioning plaintiff for spoliation of forensic evidence and ordering adverse jury instructions.
- Obtained a favorable trial verdict on behalf of a trust beneficiary.
- Represented an individual in a defamation case arising out of a family dispute.
- Represented client, pro bono, in obtaining damages for $86,885 due to improper home inspection.
- Represented long-distance company in state commission complaint proceeding against company not properly certificated by state commission.
- Represented plaintiff in dispute arising out of letter of intent to sell business.
Speeches and Publications
- Author, “The SEC’s Proposed Cybersecurity Rules: Is Your Company Ready?” Cyber Security Summit Newsletter, June 14, 2023.
- Co-author, “Don’t Say Breach,” Cyber Security Summit Newsletter, Feb. 9, 2021.
- Co-author, “Minimizing Risk in Loan Participation Litigation Following COVID-19,” Taft Law Bulletin, March 27, 2020.
- Author, “Cyber Due Diligence Increasingly Important in Business Transactions,” Taft Law Bulletin, Nov. 22, 2019.
- Author, “The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018: It’s Time for Businesses to Get Serious,” Taft Law Bulletin, July 9, 2018.
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Hennepin County Bar Association
- Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US)
- St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation