Minnesota Law

Fall 2021
Raising the Bar

Class Notes

News about your classmates and colleagues

Do you have news you would like to submit to update your classmates and colleagues about your career or a life happening? Send it to lawalum@umn.edu for publicaton in Class Notes!


John J. Michalik has published a book titled The Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899: Scientists, Naturalists, Artists and Others Document America’s Last Frontier. The work explores the lives and adventures of the group of experts who participated in an expedition of the Alaskan territory.


Paul Legler received multiple recognitions for his book Half the Terrible Things. The novel was selected as a finalist for the Midwest Book Awards, Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards, and the Eric Hoffer Book Award.

Tom McDonald, as a member of the Board of Lawyers Committee, played a role in moving Kristen Clarke’s nomination to head the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to confirmation. Clarke was confirmed by the Senate in May 2021. Ambassador McDonald is an attorney with Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Washington, D.C.


Jon Hoganson was named a “Leader in Their Field” in the Chambers USA Awards 2021. He is a shareholder practicing in the areas of banking, real estate, and general corporate law at Winthrop & Weinstine in Minneapolis.


Timothy Barnett was named a “Leader in Their Field” in the Chambers USA Awards 2021. He is a shareholder at Winthrop & Weinstine in Minneapolis, with a practice focused on commercial lending.

Todd Urness was named a “Leader in Their Field” in the Chambers USA Awards 2021. He practices law at Winthrop & Weinstine in Minneapolis, where he focuses on tax credit financing and syndication, as well as real estate development and transactions. 


Kathryn Graves was named a 2020 North Star Lawyer by the Minnesota State Bar Association. Graves is a family law attorney at Henson Efron in Minneapolis.

Ronald Woessner joined Jackson Spencer Law, a Dallas-based employment law firm, as senior counsel. His practice focuses on advocacy for employee rights. 


Tom Thomas joined Vincerx Pharma, Inc. in Palo Alto, California, as general counsel and chief legal officer. His practice focuses on corporate finance and securities, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital transactions, technology transactions, and executive compensation.


John F. Docherty was appointed to serve as magistrate judge for the District of Minnesota. Previously, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota.


Michael C. Glover joined DeWitt in its Minneapolis office. Glover practices in the areas of transportation and logistics, business, labor and employment, and litigation.


Toni Halleen published a book titled The Surrogate. The novel explores questions regarding family, love, and relationships. Halleen was inspired to write the book after taking a family law class with Professor Judith Younger during her time at Minnesota Law.


Jim Chosy received the 2021 Exemplar Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. Chosy is the senior executive vice president of U.S. Bancorp, the parent company of U.S. Bank.

Nancy Staudt has accepted a position as the Frank and Marcia Carlucci Dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and vice president of innovation at RAND, a California-based research and public policy organization. Staudt was formerly dean of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law 


Neil Ayotte was appointed to serve as senior vice president, general counsel, and chief compliance officer at Nuwellis  in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Chad Baruch, of Johnston Tobey Baruch in Dallas, was named to Best Lawyers in America for the third consecutive year. His practice includes civil, criminal, and family law appeals.

Toni Michelle Jackson joined Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office as a partner in its litigation and labor and employment groups, as well as the firm’s state attorneys general practice. Previously, Jackson served as deputy attorney general of the public interest division at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.

Christine A. Long was elected to serve a two-year term as assistant chief judge in the Third Judicial District of Minnesota. She has served on the bench since 2010.


Suzanne Spellacy joined the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx as general counsel. Spellacy oversees areas involving risk management, employment law, contract negotiations, dispute resolution, and league rules and regulations. 

Daniel Tschida was selected one of four finalists for the 28th Annual Great American Think-Off. The question at the center of the contest was “Which is more important: to win or to play by the rules?” Tschida is a teacher at Columbia Heights High School in Minnesota.


Scott Neilson was named a 2020 North Star Lawyer by the Minnesota State Bar Association. Neilson is the national coordinating counsel at Henson Efron in Minneapolis.

Brian Nomi retired after 28 years of service in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the U.S. Army. After serving three overseas deployments, Nomi is now focusing on his private practice in Camarillo, California.


Benjamin Mulcahy was named to the Hollywood Reporter’s 2021 Power Lawyers list, which highlights the top 100 lawyers in Hollywood. He is employed by DLA Piper in Los Angeles, where he is a partner in the intellectual property and technology practice. He is also cochair of the firm’s national advertising team. 


Matthew McBride was named a “Leader in Their Field” in the Chambers USA Awards 2021. He practices at Winthrop & Weinstein in Minneapolis, where he focuses on business and commercial litigation and financial services litigation.


Steven Wang is a new partner at Davis Polk in its Hong Kong office. He focuses on corporate clients, providing services relating to capital markets, securities law, and mergers and acquisitions.


Abigail Nesbitt was named an In-House Counsel 2021 honoree by Minnesota Lawyer for her work with public corporations. She is the vice president of the legal division at Huntington Technology Finance, Inc.in Minneapolis.


Kristen Ludgate was appointed chief people officer at HP, Inc. In this role, Ludgate leads HP’s global human resources organization, which includes employee experience, workforce planning, talent acquisition, people development, compensation and benefits, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Marya Robben was named lead of the Lathrop GPM trusts, estates and legacy planning practice group. She works out of the firm’s Minneapolis office and primarily practices in the areas of estate planning, estate and gift taxation, fiduciary representation, probate administration, trust formation and administration, and guardianship and conservatorship law.

Cameron R. Seybolt of Fredrikson & Byron in Minneapolis was appointed Minnesota State Chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). ACTEC is a nonprofit association of more than 2,500 highly credentialed trust and estate lawyers.


James R. Cho was appointed to serve as a U.S. magistrate judge in Brooklyn federal court in New York. Cho is the first Korean American to serve on the Eastern District of New York bench.

Ryan Hoch was named an In-House Counsel 2021 honoree by Minnesota Lawyer for his work with public corporations. He is the assistant general counsel for CHS Inc., headquartered in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

Bryan Phillips was appointed to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota board of trustees. Phillips currently serves as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, and chief compliance officer for Inspire Medical Systems, Inc. in Golden Valley, Minnesota.


Asmah Tareen was elected shareholder of Fredrickson & Byron and has joined the firm’s Minneapolis office. Tareen is a member of the technology and data, intellectual property, and life sciences groups at the firm.


Rachel C. Hughey was appointed to the bench of Minnesota's Fourth Judicial District in Minneapolis. Previously, Hughey was a partner and shareholder at Merchant & Gould, where she specialized in intellectual property litigation.

Nicole Narotzky joined the Minneapolis office of Greenberg Traurig, where she is a litigator for the firm’s products liability, pharmaceutical and medical devices, and health care practice. Narotzky has 15 years of experience in product liability litigation for medical device companies.

Jaimala Pai was named an In-House Counsel 2021 honoree by Minnesota Lawyer for her work with public corporations. Pai is the vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of ACIST Medical Systems in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.


Jaime Driggs was named a 2020 North Star Lawyer by the Minnesota State Bar Association. Driggs is a family law attorney at Henson Efron in Minneapolis.

Jenny Lindstrom joined Mitesco, Inc. in Minneapolis as chief legal officer and secretary to the corporation. Previously, Lindstrom served as the executive vice president and general counsel at Radisson Hotel Group.


Peter Carlson was named an In-House Counsel 2021 honoree by Minnesota Lawyer for his work with private corporations. Carlson is general counsel and corporate secretary at the Minneapolis office of the Nerdery, a digital business consultancy. 

Anthony Novak was elected to serve as president of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association for 2021–22.

Sarah Peterson received the 2021 Susan D. Quarles American Immigration Lawyers Association Service Excellence Award, as well as a presidential commendation from the organization. Peterson is founder of SPS Immigration in Minneapolis.

Katharine Woomer-Deters graduated from Leadership North Carolina, a leadership-development program that selects professionals from a variety of sectors across the state. Woomer-Deters is staff attorney at the North Carolina Justice Center, a statewide anti-poverty nonprofit in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Jessica Hutson Polakowski was elected to serve on Reinhart’s board of directors for a three-year term. She works in the firm’s Madison, Wisconsin office, where she is a shareholder in the intellectual property litigation and litigation practice groups. 


Joshua Colburn was named one of 40 Under 40 by the Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal. Colburn is a partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath in Minneapolis and an adjunct professor at Minnesota Law.

Rebecca Ruan-O’Shaughnessy was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to serve on the California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council. In addition to this, Ruan-O’Shaughnessy has been vice chancellor of educational services and support at the California Community Colleges chancellor’s office since 2020.

Ryan Scherz was named head coach of the River Falls High School football team. Scherz is a high school teacher in River Falls, Wisconsin and is the owner of Scherz Legal Solutions.


Andrew E. Brehm joined Burwell Enterprises, Inc. as deputy general counsel in its Minneapolis office. Previously, he served as deputy general counsel for Minnesota Coaches, Inc. and affiliated companies.

Betsy Flanagan was named the managing principal of Fish & Richardson's Twin Cities office. Her practice focuses on complex patent litigation with an emphasis on life sciences, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical litigation.

Sarah Odegaard was named a 2021 Rising Star by Southern California Super Lawyers. Odegaard is an associate with Snell & Wilmer in its Orange County, California office. She focuses on product liability litigation  and consumer warranty and consumer fraud–based litigation. 


Sean Foss joined First International Bank & Trust in Fargo, North Dakota as its corporate legal counsel. Foss currently serves as president of the Cass County Bar Association and is a member of the North Dakota Supreme Court joint procedure committee and State Bar Association of North Dakota ethics committee. 

Kyle Hawkins, former solicitor general of Texas, has returned to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as a partner in the firm’s litigation department. Hawkins also is a member of Gibson Dunn’s appellate and constitutional law practice group. 

Timothy W. Schmidt was elected to the board of directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel, Wisconsin. Schmidt is senior counsel at Komatsu Mining Corp., based in Milwaukee.

Stacy Deery Stennes was elected president of the Minnesota Association for Justice. She is a partner at Conlin Law Firm in Minneapolis. 


Brianna Blazek joined Moss & Barnett in its Minneapolis office. Blazek has wide-ranging business law experience representing privately held businesses on entity formation, corporate governance, operating agreements, website policies, trademarks, and employment law.

Lindsey Nieuwsma was appointed to a judgeship in the South Central Judicial District by Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota. Previously, Nieuwsma acted as a judicial referee and magistrate in the South Central Judicial District.

Benjamin Winger joined DLA Piper’s restructuring practice in its Chicago office. Winger focuses on corporate restructuring, bankruptcy, and insolvency proceedings. 


Catlan McCurdy founded McCurdy, LLC in Minneapolis in April 2021 to provide nimble, personalized service in intellectual property and technology transactions. 


Lariss Maldonado was selected as a Diversity & Inclusion Honoree by Minnesota Lawyer. Maldonado is senior counsel and vice president at Wells Fargo. She is also the vice chair of the board of directors at the ACLU of Minnesota and chair of the Twin Cities Diversity in Practice Professional Development Committee.


Eric Friske was reappointed by Governor Tim Walz to the Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience, and Interior Design. Friske is an attorney at Henson Efron in Minneapolis, where he represents individuals and corporations in trust, estate, and business disputes. 

Casey D. Marshall was elected a shareholder of Bassford Remele, a Minneapolis firm. Marshall is a litigator who represents corporations and individuals in commercial disputes and helps families, businesses, and individuals navigate trust and estate conflicts.


Michael Burke joined Fox Rothschild in Minneapolis as an associate in the litigation practice. Burke represents clients through all stages of business and commercial disputes.

Hakeem Onafowokan joined the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team as vice president of corporate legal. In this role, Onafowokan focuses on intellectual property, sponsorship and lease agreements, and legal research and analysis. 


Olivia M. Cooper joined Winthrop & Weinstine in Minneapolis as an associate in the firm’s business and commercial litigation practice. Cooper is also an adjunct professor at Minnesota Law.

Jennell K. Shannon joined Jackson Lewis as an associate in Minneapolis. Shannon represents employers in labor and employment disputes and litigation, including class and collective actions and wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower actions.

Mitchell Sullivan joined DeWitt in its Minneapolis office. Sullivan specializes in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and real estate law.


Zachary W. Berger joined Fox Rothschild in Warrington, Pennsylvania as an associate in its real estate department. Formerly, he served as an associate attorney at Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald.

Emily Collins joined Croke Fairchild Morgan & Beres as an associate. She is based in Milwaukee, where her practice centers on transactional law with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, funds, securities, corporate governance and disclosure matters, and general corporate work. 

Paul Gaus was honored by Super Lawyers as a 2021 Northern California Rising Star in business litigation. Gaus is an associate at Downey Brand in Sacramento, where he focuses his practice in bankruptcy and insolvency, business litigation, intellectual property litigation, and real property and land use litigation.

Alexander King joined Katten Muchin Rosenman in Chicago as an attorney in the firm's financial markets litigation and regulatory enforcement group. Previously, King worked at FINRA investigating insider trading in the options markets. 

Benjamin Streckert was named an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Wisconsin Law Journal. He counsels family-owned and closely held businesses as an attorney with Ruder Ware in Wausau, Wis. 

Roxanne N. Thorelli was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award by Volunteer Lawyers Network, Ltd. Thorelli is an associate in Fredrikson & Byron’s Minneapolis office.


Anna Barton was elected to serve as secretary of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s New Lawyer Section. Barton practices in the litigation and labor and employment groups at Maslon in Minneapolis.


Jackie Fielding co-authored a report for the Brennan Center for Justice exploring how mass incarceration perpetuates cycles of poverty. Fielding’s report was also featured in Crime Report, a prominent criminal justice digital publication. 

Gillian L. Gilbert joined Bassford Remele in Minneapolis. Gilbert practices in the areas of commercial litigation, employment law, and trusts and estates litigation. 

Khuram M. Siddiqui joined Bassford Remele in Minneapolis. Siddiqui practices in the areas of general liability, construction, and professional liability.