Since neither Crump nor Romanucci are barred in the state of Minnesota, “We needed someone who is a top-notch, first-class civil rights attorney in Minnesota,” said Crump. “The person everyone kept talking about is attorney Jeff Storms. He is one of the best discoveries I made across America.”
GENUINE RELATIONSHIPS AND TRUST
Storms refers to himself as an East Coast “blue collar kid.” The son of a New Jersey police officer, Storms was a prep national wrestling champion in high school. He landed on the Division I team at Davidson College in North Carolina. His wrestling career ended abruptly due to a serious neck injury. The injury, he said, “knocked me down several pegs in terms of my ego. It made me re-evaluate who I was as a person. Instead of the successful ascent I had been experiencing, it gave me some adversity to overcome. It changed how I related to people and how I value people.” Although he said he always knew as a kid that he’d probably become a lawyer (“I was argumentative,” he said), he believes he is a better, more concerned, more collaborative lawyer because of his sports injury. “I realize that I can’t do these things alone. I need people to help me with cases and refer me cases and support me and I love helping other people succeed.” University of St. Thomas law alumna Kaarin Nelson Schaffer ‘06 J.D. attests to Storms’ congenial and supportive nature. “He is really patient and makes time for people,” she said.
Schaffer was the trustee for George Floyd’s next of kin in the case against the City of Minneapolis. The family selected her from among other attorneys after a recommendation from Storms. “When I had a concern, he would help me figure it out. I saw him do the same thing for the families,” Nelson Schaffer said. “These families don’t know what a 1983 case is. Jeff always took the time to explain the law in a way that made sense. He is an excellent lawyer.” Storms says he is intentional about taking time with his clients because their matter is not just another case. He believes being a good lawyer requires building genuine relationships and trust, a belief that was fostered during his time in law school at St. Thomas. “Our professors and mentors stressed the human side of the
law,” Storms said. “Not only was there a focus on understanding and pursuing a client’s individual needs and interests, but we were challenged to be mindful of how our chosen pursuits fit within the broader context of social justice.” Storms added that one thing life experience has taught him is that “as I go through the current success related to my practice, all that success can go away quickly if you don’t handle your practice the right way or if your ego becomes overinflated.” As the sun began to set behind the memorial statue erected at the Daunte Wright intersection, more than three hours after the start of the event, Storms was still there, mingling and supporting the family. Indeed, he has made his vocation a life commitment.
Page 16 St. Thomas Lawyer
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