Ben VandenBerghe is a commercial and general civil litigator with experience in state and federal trial and appellate courts, arbitrations, and mediations. Ben has a results-oriented, practical approach to litigation and dispute resolution. Ben represents clients ranging from Fortune 100 multinational companies to individuals and small business owners. Ben’s core practice is the representation of small and medium sized businesses dealing with contract, construction, employment, insurance coverage, regulatory, leasing, real estate, and creditor-debtor disputes. Ben also handles environmental compliance and disputes, and Ben has a robust elder law practice including protecting vulnerable adults, administration of trusts and estates, and all manner of related litigation.
What do you like about your work?
I profoundly enjoy navigating conflicts, so I feel fortunate to be in a profession that allows me to earn a living by taking problems off my client's plate and solving them.
What drew you to the idea of practicing law?
When I served overseas in the Army, I was exposed to countries and cultures that lacked the history of fundamental laws and guaranteed rights we enjoy in the United States, and that experience left me with a sense of wonder and obligation to understand our legal system. I subsequently studied history at the UW on the GI Bill and developed strong research, writing, and debate skills. Law felt like a natural fit for me, and my experiences in law school reinforced my inclination to practice as a civil litigator.
Who is your favorite lawyer?
James Otis. He was a renowned lawyer in Massachusetts, a revolutionary patriot, and an esteemed orator who coined the phrase: "Taxation without representation is tyranny." He was also an advocate in his belief that basic rights were inalienable to all regardless of race. I admire the courage it took to stand as a leader and represent ideals of patriotism and equality at a time when expressing those views was truly dangerous.
When was the last time you said "no" to a client?
I say no to my clients all the time. One of the most important services we provide is acting as a sounding board for bad ideas. I am never embarrased to tell my clients we cannot or should not take a particular course of action, but I freely admit that message is often hard to hear. It is perhaps the highest form of praise for a client to take advice that is contrary to their first inclination, and laywers are well suited to give such advice because of our experience and dispassionate role.
What skills and experiences have you acquired that make you comfortable and qualified in your practice?
Many people believe that good lawyering is about finding the right case or being persuasive, and while both are critical, I believe the most important traits for a business counselor or an individual advocate are being able to fill any role on a team with confidence and grace along with the capacity to keep a level head in challenging circumstances. Every day, I use lessons and approaches to teamwork I learned while serving in 2nd Ranger Battalion and in US Army Ranger School. My primary roles at Montgomery Purdue are serving as a business advisor and managing a team working on litigation. In both roles, it is critical to be willing to lead, participate, or follow as the situation changes. I believe my ability to be flexible in different roles, to assume leadership on demand, and to think critically under pressure are all firmly rooted in foundations I built in the Rangers.