Robins Kaplan Names Brendan Johnson Chair of National Business Litigation Group

September 11, 2023

National trial law firm Robins Kaplan LLP announced today that partner Brendan Johnson has been named chair of its National Business Litigation Group. Johnson, a longtime Robins Kaplan partner and co-chair of the Government and Internal Investigations Group, replaces Jason Pfeiffer in the role. 

“Brendan is an incisive strategist, a fearless advocate, and a widely admired leader,” said Ronald Schutz, chair of the firm’s Executive Board. “All of those qualities—and more—make him the ideal person to lead our Business Litigation Group forward.”

Johnson joined Robins Kaplan in 2015, after serving as the United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota, a role in which he also held a seat on the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and chaired the Department of Justice’s Native American Issues Subcommittee. As U.S. Attorney, he conducted groundbreaking prosecutions of cases involving human trafficking and violence against Native American women. At Robins Kaplan, he has represented a range of business and policy interests, while drawing on his prosecutorial experience as co-chair of the firm’s Government and Internal Investigations Group. He will continue in that role. 

Johnson will continue his active trial practice while serving in the new role. In the past six months, he has led trial teams from South Dakota to San Francisco, securing a recent multi-million-dollar jury verdict. Although South Dakota will always be home, his litigation practice now has him spending most of his time on the road trying high-stakes litigation matters throughout the United States. In ranking him in tier one nationally, Chambers USA quoted a recent client saying, "Brendan has excellent judgment. He is one of the most gifted trial attorneys I have seen work." Johnson was recently listed in Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Litigators in America and in 2021, The National Law Journal selected him as a National Litigation Trailblazer.

The Business Litigation Group that Johnson now leads includes more than 100 attorneys across all seven of Robins Kaplan’s offices. It continues to attract elite talent and try landmark matters, including a Ponzi scheme case in which it secured the largest jury verdict in Minnesota history, leading to an award of more than $1 billion against BMO Harris Bank in June.

“Excellence is the standard at Robins Kaplan. We have successfully tried some of the most significant cases in the United States, and that isn’t going to change,” said Johnson, who maintains offices in Minneapolis and Sioux Falls. “That history will be a guide as we continue to aggressively represent our clients in high-stakes litigation.”

Pfeiffer, Johnson’s predecessor, will remain at the firm and focus exclusively on his active litigation practice, including his nationally recognized work in disputes arising from industrial disasters.

Brendan V. Johnson


Member of Executive Board
Chair, National Business Litigation Group
Co-Chair, Government and Internal Investigations Group

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