Nose for Business

Stephen Ling's past informs his present

Published in 2010 Minnesota Rising Stars Magazine — January 2010

Stephen Ling’s first job out of law school was at a wireless telecommunications consulting firm where he provided legal services to the company’s business clients. He’s now also a real estate entrepreneur. So when clients retain him to handle corporate transactions or real estate matters, they know they’re working with someone who understands business. 

As he offers legal advice, Ling always tries to keep his clients’ business objectives in mind.

“There are so many attorneys who get caught up in the legal aspect of things that they forget these are people trying to run a business and suggest things that don’t make any business sense,” says Ling, a shareholder at Severson, Sheldon, Dougherty & Molenda in Apple Valley. “I help clients find a way to minimize their business risk and solve their problem at the same time.”

Having business experience helps Ling relate to his clients and build stronger bonds with them, which keeps them coming back. He recently landed a big case from a past client, who was one of 130 investors tangled up with Investment Properties of Minnesota. The plaintiffs claimed that the Brooklyn Park-based firm did not deliver on its promised 20-30 percent returns on investment properties in Florida and Illinois. 

Teaming with litigators at his firm, Ling sued and won a $22.7 million verdict from a special master appointed by the Hennepin County District Court. 

When he’s not practicing law or taking care of his own business interests—Ling says he doesn’t need much sleep—he serves on the Bethany Christian Services adoption agency board. He’s also a devoted golfer and manages his church’s softball team. 

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