Meet HCBA Member. . . Chris Grgurich

by Nick Hansen | Sep 26, 2018
Ballard Spahr attorney Chris Grgurich is not a firefighter, but he enjoys putting out fires. He has fixed complex problems in a variety of areas throughout his career, including as in-house general counsel, loss prevention attorney, and in the areas of complex securities and shareholder litigation matters.   He’s also the current chair of the HCBA Professionalism and Ethics Section and an attorney member on the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.  “It is a pure joy to advise my colleagues and private clients with their legal issues, often times mitigating or preventing problems before they’ve completely gone off the tracks,” he said. 

Born in Peoria, Illinois, Grgurich went to Eureka College for undergraduate work and then to the University of Illinois for a dual J.D./MBA program. In law school, he was not sure what area he wanted to specialize in, but after summering at Lindquist & Vennum—which is now Ballard Spahr—in 2002, he found his niche in securities and the city of Minneapolis seemed like a perfect Midwestern fit for him. The sophisticated practice area coupled with the career opportunities and family-friendly environment were cause enough for him to overlook the brutal Minnesota winters.  “All those factors swirling around brought me here,” he said. 

Grgurich became involved with the HCBA after one of his mentors asked him to help run the Professionalism and Ethics section.  Years later, Grgurich took over as chair of the section and also became General Counsel of Lindquist, where his indoctrination into the world of in-house counsel to a law firm was essentially a “trial by fire.” However, he found that he enjoyed advising his partners and associates and the work on behalf of the firm commenting that “you walk into your office and there is a red light on the phone —  you never know what it's going to be, what's exploding or what fire to put out. It's kind of fun. I tell people every day is another day of excitement and adventure. You would never really know what it’s going to be,” he said. 

Having excellent mentors was crucial to honing Grgurich’s lawyering and trial skills, and they also stressed the importance of getting involved in the local legal community. “I was very fortunate to have some of the very best lawyers in the state take an interest in helping me develop my trial skills and my understanding of the securities and professional responsibility areas” he said.  And according to Grgurich, getting involved in the bar association was a critical part of becoming integrated into the local legal community. “I would tell new lawyers that if you don't have someone in your shop who you enjoy working with and who you view as a mentor ... then you want to connect with people you went to school with and the associations. It’s critical,” he said. 

In fact, Grgurich suggests that newer lawyers looking to hone their presentation skills and knowledge of particular practice areas partner up with more seasoned colleagues in their office.  “Years ago I learned that entrepreneurial partners are always willing to co-present at CLEs, especially if you volunteer to put the presentation materials together,” Grgurich says with a smile.  

No doubt, working in multiple areas of the law has challenged Grgurich in many different ways. But he loves that aspect of his job. “The longer I practice the more I realize how much I don’t know.  That’s why they call it the “practice of law.”  It's a constant learning process, but to be able to help sophisticated clients like corporations dealing with shareholder and breach of fiduciary claims and attorneys and law firms grappling with ethical and related issues - it’s an absolute privilege to be able to serve and learn from these savvy sophisticated clients.”