Our Team

Experienced. Diverse. Collaborative. Successful. These are just a few of the ways to describe our team. Together, our staff provides a new and better way to serve clients, and individually we each contribute to this mission in our own way. When you choose Sapientia, you may work with an individual, but you benefit from the collective wisdom of our team.

Sonia Miller-Van OortVicki BitnerMark ZitzewitzJeffrey C. BrownJonathan A. StraussSudha A. RajanLorenz (Larry) FettSarah OquistChris E. RoyalKenn H. Fukuda
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Sonia Miller-Van Oort

T: 612.756.7125

E: SoniaMV@sapientialaw.com

About

Rated by Super Lawyers 

Sonia Miller-Van Oort is a highly respected and accomplished litigation attorney. She has worked on a variety of litigation involving commercial disputes, product liability cases, non-competition and non-solicitation matters, breach-of-contract cases, invasion-of-privacy matters, franchise disputes, tortious interference claims, and misrepresentation and fraud claims. Having represented clients nationally, regionally, and locally, Sonia has a breadth of experience briefing and arguing dispositive and non-dispositive motions, negotiating settlements in complex matters, and trying cases both in state and federal court. Sonia’s clients most value her strong oral advocacy abilities, negotiation skills, and practical, yet innovative approach to addressing their needs.

Sonia’s skills both inside and outside of the courtroom have been recognized by her peers and adversaries alike. In 2002, Sonia was selected as one of only ten attorneys in Minnesota to be recognized as an “Up and Coming Attorney.” She was subsequently named a “Rising Star” by Minnesota Law and Politics in 2005, 2006, 2008, and a “Super Lawyer” in 2013. And in 2007–2008, Sonia had the distinguished honor of being elected the 89th President of the Hennepin County Bar Association (one of the 15 largest county bar associations in the country), serving as the Association’s first Hispanic President and the second youngest President in its history.

Not only is Sonia committed to her legal practice and meeting her clients’ needs, she is also committed to public service. Over the years, Sonia has provided pro bono assistance to numerous clients, including representation of parents, guardians ad litem, and children caught in foster care and custody disputes. Her commitment to community is also reflected in the variety of non-profit boards of directors on which she has served: the Hennepin County Bar Foundation, Volunteer Lawyers Network, University of Minnesota Legal Services, and the Notre Dame Club of Minnesota. Sonia also serves on the School Board of the Hopkins-based Spanish-immersion public charter school, International Spanish Language Academy, and is currently serving her second term as Chair of that Board. Sonia feels a strong allegiance to her law school and was honored to be asked to serve on the Indiana University Alumni Board of Directors for several years. She remains connected to her law school presently by serving as the Chair of its Latino Alumni Advisory Board.

Also very importantly, Sonia likes to have fun. She enjoys playing with her two children, helping her husband build cool furniture, playing competitive tennis, dancing the night away, and cheering on the Notre Dame football team.

  • Memberships/Affiliations

    Council on Litigation Management

    Defense Research Institute

    Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association

    National Association of Professional Women

    Minnesota Women Lawyers

    Hennepin County Bar Association:

    President (2007–2008)

    President-Elect (2006–2007)

    Treasurer (2005–2006)

    Secretary (2004–2005)

    Executive Committee (2004– 2009)

    Board of Directors (1998– 2009, 2010– present)

    Community Relations Committee (Chair: 2002– 2004; Co-Chair: 2001–2002)

    Finance & Planning Committee (2003–2008)

    Leadership Institute Planning Committee (2003– 2005)

    Nominating Committee (1999–2004)

    Program Assessment Committee (2002–2003)

    Delivery of Legal Services Committee (Co-Vice-Chair: 2000–2002)

    New Lawyers Section (Chair: 1999–2001)

    Minnesota State Bar Association:

    Board of Governors (1998–2004; 2006–present)

    Operations Committee (2009–present)

    Diversity Implementation Task Force (2006–present) (Co-Chair:  2009–present)

    Governance Committee (2007–2009)

    Food & Drug Section (Treasurer: 2002–present; Secretary: 2001–2002)

    American Bar Association:

    National Council of Bar Presidents (2007–2009)

    National Affiliate Assistance Team, Young Lawyers Division (1999–2000,2002–2003, 2004–2006)

    Lawyers with Disability Committee, Young Lawyers Division (Co-Vice Chair: 2003– 2004)

    Litigation Committee (Co-Vice Chair: 2002–2003)

    Co-Coordinator, Young Lawyers Division Pilot Project-Taking Hate Out of the Classroom (2001–2002)

    Co-Coordinator, Young Lawyers Division Pilot Project– Operation Arbitration (2000–2001)

  • Civic Involvement

    International Spanish Language Academy, School Board (Chair 2009–2011)

    Hennepin County Bar Foundation — Board of Directors

    Volunteer Lawyers Network – Board of Directors

    Indiana University School of Law– Alumni Board of Directors

    Notre Dame Club of Minnesota — Board of Directors

    University of Minnesota Student Legal Services– former Board of Directors

    Youth Empowerment Summit– Minneapolis, Founder

    Helping Kids Belong Project — Coordinator

    “We the Jury” Project — Coordinator

    Immaculate Heart of Mary – Lector, Volunteer Teacher

  • Representative Experience
    • Tonicstar, Ltd. v. Lovegreen Turbine Services, Inc., 2006 WL 2472826 (D.Minn)
    • Leucadia v. Intermas, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2334 (D.Minn)
    • Berczyk v. Emerson Tool Craft, et al., 291 F. Supp. 2d 1004 (D.Minn. 2003)
    • Hammel v. Eau Galle Cheese Factory, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7515
    • Hammel v. Eau Galle Cheese Factory, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 11380
    • In Re: Welfare of S.N.R., 617 NW 2d 77 (Minn. App. 2000)
    • Halloran v. FranChoice
    • Brambillas v. Underwriters of Lloyds of London
  • Publications/Presentations
    • “Millennials in the Workforce: Making the “In it for me” Employee In It For You,” CBIZ & Flynn Gaskins & Bennett Seminar, 5/09
    • Panelist,” Women as Leaders in the Legal Profession,” Visions of Women’s Leadership Conference, University of St. Thomas, 10/08
    • Speaker, “Judicial Elections—the Changing Landscape,” American Association of University Women, 11/06
    • “Strategic and Long-Range Planning for Organizations” — 2005 NAPABA National Bar Leadership Institute (IL)
    • “Trends in Non-Compete Litigation” — Firm Seminar, November, 2004
    • “State Farm v. Campbell: The Last Word on Punitive Damages?” — Firm Seminar, September, 2004
    • “Finding & Motivating Members” — 2004
ABA Young Lawyers Division Fall Conference (TX) & Western Regional Conference (CA)
    • “Top Ten Changes in the ADA”- 2004 ABA Young Lawyers Division Mid-Year Meeting (TX)
    • “Where are We with the ADA”- 2003 ABA Young Lawyers Division Fall Conference (PA)
    • “Is Adoption of the ‘Inevitable Disclosure’ Doctrine Inevitable in Minnesota Courts?” Firm Seminar, 12/03
    • “Defending a Medical Device Claim”- MSBA CLE, 6/03
    • “Taking Hate Out of the Junior/Senior High School Classroom”- 2002 ABA Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference (CO)
    • “Operation Arbitration”- 2001 ABA Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference (AK)
    • “Goal-Setting: Achieving Your Personal Goals”- 2000 ABA Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference (TX)
    • “Youth Empowerment Summit”- 1999 ABA Midwest Regional Conference (WI)

Education

J.D., cum laude, Indiana University—Maurer School of Law, Indiana Law Review (1997)

B.A., Dean’s List, University of Notre Dame (1993)

Moscow State University (Summer Program 1992)

Court Admissions

State of Minnesota

State of Iowa

U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota

U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Honors/Distinctions

“Thought Leader,” Future Firms, Indiana University– Mauer School of Law (2009)

“Minnesota Rising Star” by Law & Politics (2005, 2006, 2008)

“Star of the Quarter” by American Bar Association Young Lawyer Division (2006)

Awarded “Distinguished Service Award” by Notre Dame Club of Minnesota (2006)

Selected by Minnesota Lawyer as 1 of 10 “Up and Coming Attorneys” (2002)

Personal

Favorite travel spot: Israel

Favorite sport: Tennis

Theme song: “Unwritten” by Natasha Benningfield

Favorite part of being a lawyer: Developing litigation strategy and implementing it to get the desired result

Vicki Bitner

T: 612.756.7118

E: VickiB@sapientialaw.com


About

Vicki Bitner comes to Sapientia Law Group with more than 20 years of experience defending and prosecuting lawsuits and appeals in the state and federal courts.  She has represented individual, corporate, government, and non-profit clients in a wide range of litigated matters, including contract and employment disputes, breach of fiduciary duty, minority shareholder disputes, unfair or deceptive trade practices, rights to intellectual property, and rights under statutory schemes including those governing gaming (casinos) and health care.  She has significant experience representing clients in litigation over actions taken by state and federal government agencies.

Vicki represents her clients with diligence, perseverance, and creativity, and in doing so has brought scores of cases to a favorable resolution.  She began practicing law in Washington, D.C., as an attorney with Covington & Burling and as a special prosecutor with the federal government, before returning to her home state of Minnesota.  She then joined Briol & Associates in Minneapolis, where she practiced civil and commercial litigation for 12 years.  She is licensed to practice in Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

  • Reported Cases
    • Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. v. Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of the City of St. Louis, et al., 2010 WL 4320256 (E.D. Mo. October 22, 2010)
    • Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. v. Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of the City of St. Louis, et al., 2010 WL 2802129 (E.D. Mo. July 15, 2010)
    • President Riverboat Casino ‐ Missouri, Inc. v. Missouri Gaming Commission, 304 S.W.2d 291 (Mo. App. W.D. Mar. 2, 2010).
    • Cedar Fair v. Minntertainment Company, 2007 WL 1674830 (Minn. Ct. App. June 12, 2007)
    • Cedar Fair v. Minntertainment Company, 2006 WL 2474025 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 29, 2006)
    • United Health Care Ins. Co. v. Advance PCS, 316 F.3d 737 (8th Cir. 2002)
    • United HealthCare Ins. Co. v. AdvancePCS, 2002 WL 432068 (D. Minn. Mar. 18, 2002)
    • Cleveland v. KFC National Mgmt. Co., 948 F. Supp. 62 (N.D. Ga. 1996)
    • Memorial Hospital v. Childers, 896 F. Supp. 1427 (W.D. Ky. 1995)
    • Methodist Hospitals, Inc. v. Indiana Family and Social Servs. Admin., 860 F. Supp. 1309 (N.D. Ind. 1994), aff’d, 91 F.3d 1026 (7th Cir. 1996)
    • Kansas Health Care Ass’n v. Kansas Dep’t of Social and Rehab. Servs., 31 F.3d 1536 (10th Cir. 1994)
    • Kansas Hospital Ass’n v. Whiteman, 835 F. Supp. 1556 (D. Kan. 1993), aff’d, 36 F.3d 1106 (10th Cir. 1994)
    • Texas Hospital Ass’n v. National Heritage Ins. Co., 802 F. Supp. 1507 (W.D. Tex. 1992)
    • National Treasury Employees Union v. United States, 927 F.2d 1253 (D.C. Cir. 1991)
  • Representative Experience
    • Represented national gaming company on issues arising under a Redevelopment Agreement (RDA) with the City of St. Louis relating to development of casino and hotel. Member of the trial team that represented the company in litigation with the City and related agencies. Drafted two related appeals, including one from an adverse decision of the Missouri Gaming Commission (client prevailed). Handled briefing of contract issues involving claim for attorneys’ fees under the RDA (client prevailed). Case settled.
    • Represented numerous state government agencies in lawsuits brought by health care providers under the federal Medicaid Act. Past clients include the states of Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas, among others. Extensive involvement in all aspects of these cases, including successful trial, motion, and/or appellate work in a number of jurisdictions.
    • Represented major non-profit in multi-party litigation in Minnesota federal court involving the provision of pharmacy services to its members. Managed all aspects of the representation, including the taking and defending of many depositions in multiple states, and substantial motion practice in Minnesota and Washington, D.C. Litigation spanned over two+ years. (Case settled.)
    • Member of a team of experienced attorneys appointed to conduct federal investigation of the U.S. Department of Interior concerning allegations that the agency had reached improper decisions on Indian gaming matters. Duties included work before grand jury impaneled in Washington, D.C. Investigation concluded with extensive written report (no prosecutions brought).
    • Ongoing representation of small businesses and their shareholders in numerous matters, both litigation and advisory, arising under contracts, employment laws, and state statutes governing the conduct of shareholders in closely held companies.

Education

George Washington University National Law Center
J.D., high honors, 1989
Order of the Coif
Editor-in-Chief, The George Washington Law Review

University of Minnesota
B.A., 1984

Clerkships/Appointments

Honorable Oliver Gasch
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
Law Clerk, 1989–90

Office of the Independent Counsel,
Washington, D.C.
Associate Independent Counsel (special prosecutor), 1998–99

Bar and Court Admissions

Minnesota Supreme Court
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. District Court – District of Columbia
U.S. District Court – Minnesota

Personal

Favorite travel spot: Nisswa, Minnesota

Favorite sport: Football

Favorite part of being a lawyer: Coming up with the winning argument.

Favorite charity: Animal Humane Society.

Theme song: Vivaldi – Winter

Little known fact: My favorite season is winter.

Mark Zitzewitz

T: 612.756.7111

E: MarkZ@sapientialaw.com

About

Mark is an experienced trial lawyer and problem-solver. He has represented Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized and small businesses and individuals throughout the country. Mark has represented clients in the telecommunications, healthcare, food-service, transportation, manufacturing, and financial industries.  He has handled claims involving commercial disputes, product liability, premises liability, insurance recovery, antitrust and competition claims and personal injury.  He has also served as outside general counsel to companies, providing a broad range of transactional, corporate and litigation advice.  Mark has trial experience in both state and federal courts, has represented clients in venues throughout the United States, and has handled all aspects of complex litigation in trial and appellate courts and through alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Mark believes that clients should expect exceptional service and value from their attorneys.  He enjoys getting to know his clients at every level so he can be mindful of broader goals and values in resolving any dispute.

Mark has been an active member of the Minnesota legal community, serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and a college mock trial judge. He was elected by his peers and recognized as a “Rising Star” by Minnesota Law and Politics magazine each year from 1999–2006. He has also shown a commitment to pro bono work and public service.  Mark was also selected as a 2013 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer magazine.

Outside of the office, Mark is an avid sports fan and enjoys traveling, fishing, boating and coaching youth sports.


Education

J.D, cum laude, University of Minnesota (1998)
Minnesota Law Review, Editor
B.A. magna cum laude, St. Olaf College (1993)

Court Admissions

Minnesota
United States District Court, District of Minnesota
United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Personal

Favorite Travel Spot: Montana
Favorite Team: University of Minnesota Gophers Basketball
Little Known Fact: Worked as a chef for 2 years
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: Giving a closing argument
Favorite charity or non-profit: Special Olympics

Jeffrey C. Brown

T: 612.756.7108

E: JeffB@sapientialaw.com

About

Jeffrey C. Brown is an intellectual property attorney with Sapientia Law Group. In addition to his law degree, he has earned his B.S. in Microbiology and his M.B.A. in Business Management.

Jeff is a registered Patent Attorney and focuses his practice in the areas of patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, including procuring intellectual property rights and resolving those rights in litigation. He has also developed substantial expertise and regularly counsels clients on IP licensing and ownership issues. Prior to joining Sapientia, Jeff practiced with large and small firms in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Jeff also serves as a Conciliation Court Judge in Hennepin County and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law. Jeff has professional experience outside of law in the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries where he worked for twelve years. Jeff brings his understanding of these industries and business in general to the table when counseling his clients on both IP and general commercial matters. In 2003, Jeff was named a “Rising Star” by Minnesota Law & Politics magazine.

  • Memberships, Affiliations, and Professional Activities

    American Bar Association
    National Bar Association
    Minnesota State Bar Association
    Hennepin County Bar Association
    Georgia Bar Association
    Atlanta Bar Association
    Former Member, Council on Black Minnesotans
    Former Chairman of the Board of Directors, Minneapolis Urban League – 1999 — 2002
    Former Chairman of Hennepin County Bar Association Diversity Committee – 2004 — 2005
    Adjunct Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law, Summer 2009–2011

  • Publications and Presentations

    Author, Law Protection That Lasts, Architect, February 2008.

    Author, Yours, Truly, Why bother to register designs with the U.S. copyright office? An attorney breaks it down, Architect, September 2007.

    Author, Too Close for Comfort, A high-profile copyright infringement case shows how courts think about architecture, Architect, November 2007.

    Speaker, Protecting Your Clients’ Content: The IP Challenges of Music, Media and Business Practice in Cyberspace, Liability on the Internet: File Sharing and Beyond, Hamline Spring IP Symposium, May 10, 2007.

    Author, Chirco et al. v. Crosswinds Communities, Inc., et al., Architect, March 2007.

    Author, Copyright Infringement Liability for Video-Sharing Networks, Intellectual Property Litigation, ABA Section of Litigation, Vol. 18, No. 2, Winter 2007.

    Author, Mixed Results When U.S. IP Law Goes Traveling Abroad, Executive Counsel, Vol. 4, No. 1, January/February 2007.

    Author, William Hablinski Architecture v. Amir Construction: Copyright case highlights subjective aspect of calculating damages, Architect, February 2007.

    Author, Copyright Infringement Liability for Video Sharing Networks: Grokster Redux or Breaking New Ground under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, The Computer & Internet Lawyer, Vol. 23, No. 12, December 2006.

    Speaker, Parody as a Fair Use Defense to Copyright Infringement, AIPLA Copyright Road Show, June 13, 2003.

    Speaker, Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Profession, Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association CLE, March 2001, 2003, and 2005.

    Author, Patents; Copyright; Cyberspace, 15 Intellectual Property Journal 263 (2000)

    Speaker, American Inventors Protection Act of 1999, National Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law Section, July 2000

Education

J.D., Indiana University—Maurer School of Law (1995)
B.S., Indiana University, Bloomington, Microbiology (1980)
M.B.A., Houston Baptist University, Management (1986)

Court Admissions

Minnesota
Georgia
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota
U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Honors/Distinctions

“Minnesota Rising Star” by Law & Politics (2003)

Personal

Favorite travel spot: US Virgin Islands
Favorite sport: Football
Theme song: “Peter Gunn” by Henri Mancini
(Previously) Little Known Fact: Worked as a carnival barker as a kid at the Indiana State Fair (“Step Right Up and Try Your Luck…!”)
Favorite part of being a lawyer: Despite its now negative connotation thanks to Charlie Sheen: Winning!
Favorite charity or non-profit: St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Jonathan A. Strauss

T: 612.756.7110
E: JonS@sapientialaw.com


About
Jon has thirteen years of experience litigating product liability, commercial, privacy, construction, bid protest, employment, environmental, securities, and insurance matters.  He has tried numerous cases, although he regularly obtains dismissal for his clients through summary judgment.  As local, regional and national counsel for Fortune 500 corporations, he regularly works with litigation managers, assisting them to develop appropriate budgets for litigation.  Jon has also argued and won appeals before the Minnesota and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Jon is a highly decorated attorney.  He has been named a “Rising Star” by Minnesota Law and Politics five times (2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009), and named one of ten “Up and Coming Attorneys” by Minnesota Lawyer  in 2002.  In 2007 Jon also won the Raeder Larson Public Service Award for outstanding service to the public through pro bono legal work.  For his pro bono efforts on behalf of individuals that had been on the I-35W bridge when it collapsed.  In 2009, Jon was a recipient of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s most prestigious honor, the Professional Excellence Award, which is awarded annually to the members who have demonstrated substantial efforts to advance the legal profession and the administration of justice.

Jon’s strong belief in helping those without the means to receive adequate representation has led him to assist in several high profile pro bono matters, including freeing a death row inmate in Texas, helped several debtors through complex bankruptcy proceedings, and representing victims of the I-35W bridge collapse.

Jon is committed to improving his profession.  Throughout his entire career, he has been active in the state and county bar associations, and is currently on the presidential-leadership track for the Hennepin County Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the local county bar association.  Jon also shares his knowledge of the law as an Adjunct Professor at William Mitchell College of Law teaching a seminar regarding product liability.

Jon likes to have lots of fun. He is an avid Packer and Badger fan, and enjoys the pain that the Wisconsin teams inflict upon us here in Minnesota.  When not cheering for his teams, Jon is an avid foodie and a passionate food critic.  Finally, Jon was once a juggler and magician—performing for children’s birthday parties!  He does his best to sharpen those skills with his two young boys.

  • Representative Experience
    • Honeywell v. Lutz Roofing Company, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2011: Successfully obtained affirmance holding that client was entitled to indemnity and insurance from subcontractor in construction matter.
    • Cleary v. Honeywell, Supreme Court of New York, 2003: Obtained summary judgment dismissal for temperature controller manufacturer in scald case.
    • Allstate Insurance Co. v. Empire Comfort Systems, Inc., State of Minnesota District Court, 2003: Successfully defended furnace manufacturer in products liability trial.
    • Siemens Transp. Systems, Inc. v. Metropolitan Council, 2001 WL 682892 (Minn. Ct. App. June 19, 2001): Fought off bid protest in trial regarding light rail vehicles in Minneapolis.
    • Reynolds v. Pennsylvania Higher Educ. Assistance Agency, 425 F.3d 526 (8th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, Educational Credit Management Corp. v. Reynolds, 127 S.Ct. 46 (2006): Won trial and two appeals resulting in discharge of debtor’s student loans. See Jonathan Strauss is Honored for Pro Bono Service. As a result of Jon’s work on this case, he was awarded the Raeder Larson Public Service Award by the Minnesota State Bar Association.
    • AEI Net Lease Income and Growth Fund XX Limited Partnership v. Anthony R. Alvarez, 2001 WL 710587 (Minn. Ct. App. June 26, 2001): Successfully argued before state appellate court in commercial landlord collections dispute.
    • Guy v. Cockrell, 343 F.3d 348 (5th Cir. 2003): Defended Texas defendant in federal habeas appeal, eventually resulting in his removal from death row.
  • Professional Recognition
        2009 recipient of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s most prestigious honor, the Professional Excellence Award, which is awarded annually to the members who have demonstrated substantial efforts to advance the legal profession and the administration of justice.

    2007 recipient of the Raeder Larson Public Service Award from the Bankruptcy Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. This award recognizes outstanding service to the public through pro bono legal services and honors the recipient’s dedication to a system providing equal justice for all.

    “Up & Coming Attorneys” Award — One of 10 selected by Minnesota Lawyer for 2002

    Rising Star — Selected by Minnesota Law & Politics for 2002, 2003, 2007 — 2009

  • Memberships
        Hennepin County Bar Association
        Plebicite Committee, 2012–2013
        Board of Directors, 2003 — 2010
        Co-Chair, Litigation Committee, 2004 — 2006
        Chair, Finance and Planning Committee, 2007 — 2008

    Hennepin County Bar Foundation
    Board of Directors 2009 — present
    Vice President (Presidential track) 2012–2013

    Minnesota State Bar Associations
    Assembly Member, 2004 — 2008, 2010
    Legislative Committee, 2004 — 2006
    General Policy Committee, 2006 — 2008, 2010
    Speaker — Bankruptcy Section October 1999 — Student Loan Discharges

  • Civic Involvement

    Member, Jewish Community Relations Council/Domestic & Civic Affairs Commission — 2000

    Treasurer, Dan Rogan for Robbinsdale City Council, 2004 — Present

    Adjunct Professor, William Mitchell College of Law, Business Practicum 2008

    Parents Advisory Committee, Shirley G. Moore Lab School, 2009 — Present

    Mentor, College Possible, 2011 — Present


Education
JD, Northwestern University School of Law (1997)
B.A. Phi Beta Kappa, University of Wisconsin, Madison (1994)

Court Admissions
State of Minnesota, 1997
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, 1997
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, 1999
Supreme Court of the United States, 2006

Personal
Favorite Travel Spot: Bora Bora
Favorite Sport: Baseball
Theme Song: “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead” by Warren Zevon
(Previously) Little Known Fact: Is not really a big fan of spiders
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: An intense oral argument
Favorite Charity or Non-profit: Admission Possible
Friends Describe You As: Passionate about life and loyal

Sudha A. Rajan

T: 612.756.7117

E: SudhaR@sapientialaw.com

About

Sudha represents businesses and individuals in a range of transactional, litigation, and estate planning matters, including corporate formation, corporate governance, financial transactions, dissolutions, and mergers and acquisitions. She reviews, drafts, and negotiates contracts and agreements, such as member control agreements, partnership agreements, and licensing agreements, for her clients. Her litigation experience includes  contractual relationships, collections, employment discrimination, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, construction, and alternative dispute resolution. She also creates will-based and trust-based estate plans.

Sudha’s work experience includes practicing law at a large Minneapolis law firm, volunteering as a clerk in family court, and information technology consulting. She is passionate about wellness, health, and diversity issues, particularly within the legal profession. Sudha excels at drawing on her eclectic background to find creative solutions for her clients.

For fun, Sudha enjoys crafting, yoga, dancing, and reading. She loves trying new things, especially new cuisines, and is very lucky to be married to a chef who cooks her fabulous meals.

  • Memberships and Community Activities

    Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Board Member 2012–2015, peer mentor for law students and attorneys

    Hennepin County Bar Association

    Minnesota State Bar Association

  • Publications/Presentations
    • “Attorney Specialization: Good for the Attorney, the Profession, and the Public,” Bench & Bar of Minnesota, coauthored with Judge Kevin S. Burke, March 2012
    • Member, Drafting Committee for Minnesota Statutes on Receiverships and Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors, drafters of  Minnesota Statutes Chapter 576
    • Panelist, “New Lawyer Series: Building a Successful and Balanced Career,” April 2012
    • Panelist, “The Practice of Being: Mastering Stress and Finding Meaning as a Lawyer,” March 2011
    • Panelist, “The New Lawyer Experience, Maintaining the Work-Life Balance: How Busy Lawyers Stay Sane,” January 2010


Education

J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, Health Law and Bioethics Certificate

  • Dean’s List, 2008–2009
  • Peer Support Network Coordinator
  • Judicial Externship, the Honorable Kevin S. Burke, Hennepin County District Court

B.A., Comprehensive Honors and Distinction, Political Science, LGBT Studies Certificate, University of Wisconsin– Madison

Court Admissions

State of Minnesota

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Personal

Favorite Travel Spot: Anywhere with a beach, including Santorini, Miami, and southern California

Favorite Sports: Yoga, Dance

Favorite TV Show: 30 Rock

Theme Song: “Born This Way,” by Lady Gaga

Little Known Fact: Sudha used to perform, choreograph, and teach Middle Eastern dance.

Favorite charity or non-profit: Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers

Lorenz (Larry) Fett

T: 612–756-7107
E: LarryF@sapientialaw.com


About
Lorenz started at Sapientia in April 2011, practicing in civil litigation with an emphasis on civil rights, privacy and employment law. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state courts, as well as some tribal courts. His reason for joining Sapientia? He was particularly attracted to the talent and personalities of Sapientia’s legal team, and hopes he lives up to the implied wisdom of the name and the great legal crew.

Lorenz (or “Larry”) began his career as a litigator in 1977 in Marshalltown, Iowa, and enjoyed the baptism by fire experienced by those who find themselves a few months from law school immediately trying cases before not one but two judges who would later be appointed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He heeded Greeley’s admonition and moved from Iowa to California, practicing at a noted construction defect firm in San Diego, and from there moved back to the Midwest, practicing with the Minneapolis law firms of Lockridge Grindal Nauen, Parsinen Kaplan Rosberg & Gotlieb, and Holstein Law Group. He is admitted to practice in Minnesota, Iowa, California, the Eighth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court, and select tribal courts in Minnesota.

Larry took a writer’s retreat in 2002 to the extreme, and began writing fiction and installing wood floors. Since then, he received several awards, including Honorable Mention in the 2002–2003 Loft Mentor Series; second place in the 2003 SASE/Ache Literary Magazine Annual Fiction Contest for the short story “in the i of my dog” (yes, he does have a dog); and Honorable Mention in the 2004 Writer’s Digest 73rd Annual Writing Competition (over 18,000 entries) for the short story “The Speckled Tongue.”

Larry was raised on a farm and still farms in both Iowa and Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1973, with a B.A. in English; received his law degree, with distinction, from the University of Iowa in 1976; and now lives in St. Paul with his dog Scooter, his mother Bonnie Belle, and his daughter Cora Belle.


Education
J.D., With Distinction, University of Iowa College of Law (1976)
B.A., English, University of Iowa (1973)

Court Admissions
State of Minnesota
State of Iowa
State of California
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

Personal
Favorite travel spot: Any place between here and the Rockies, especially northwestern Nebraska (don’t laugh if you’ve never been there!)
Favorite sport: Any kind of racing.
Theme song: The Unclouded Day
Favorite part of being a lawyer: Helping my client win the lawsuit, of course, but also taking that stress out of my client’s life, and hopefully finding that one case that really makes a difference.
Favorite Charity or Non-Profit: Church
Friends Describe Me As: Intense, Technical, and Analytical
Favorite Quote: “Go west, young man, go west!“
(Previously) Little Known Fact: I like horses and rode every day when I was younger and had a horse, a standardbred bay I bought injured off the track and kept on our farm to herd cattle and scare the daylights out of me and my friends.  With him I raced the neighboring quarter horses and he was never beaten in any distance over a half mile.  I named him Tony after my Uncle, who was a bouncer and a schoolteacher.

Sarah Oquist

T: 612.756.7112
E: Sarah@sapientialaw.com

Sarah is an attorney and executive coach with Sapientia Law Group. Her unique history of experience provide her with the invaluable insight both in legal matters and in coaching and consulting.

Sarah is an attorney with more than 12 years of experience specializing in banking, commercial finance, international banking, employment and Indian law. As an attorney, Sarah’s extensive background allows her to assist corporate entities, business owners and individuals with a wide range of matters, including commercial lending, domestic and international finance and trade, contracts, and employment-related issues.

Sarah is also a certified executive coach and management consultant and works primarily in this role at Sapientia.  As a consultant, Sarah works with top executives, management teams and tribal entities to enhance leadership capacity, improve accountability, and create goal-oriented action plans that accomplish results. Sarah’s diverse, extensive background and understanding of employment law make her uniquely qualified to meet her clients’ needs for organizational and management consulting services.

Sarah has been described by one CEO as “a leader who thinks strategically …  and combines an out-of-the-box way of seeing things with clarity and determination toward measurable outcomes and impact.” Throughout her career, Sarah has coached numerous executives and business leaders to improve and enhance their lives in the areas of productivity, management, career satisfaction, and personal and professional development.

Sarah brings to her coaching practice a deep-seated belief in aligning the human spirit with its values to identify ways for her clients to be more energized, efficient and effective in reaching their goals, and she brings an intense, sustained focus because of her unwavering belief in the abundant capacity of the leaders with which she works. Through one-on-one coaching, Sarah helps her clients to identify their professional and personal goals and create action plans that are aligned with their core values to ensure that they realize their full potential and achieve the success they desire.

Sarah is an avid seeker of the human spirit and a strong facilitator of enjoying life to the fullest. Her coaching has been consistently described as providing a safe insightful space for clients to be seen, heard and inspired.

A former CEO herself, Sarah understands the complexity of running a company and the competing demands leaders face every day. As a skilled listener and facilitator, Sarah provides an opportunity for top executives to openly discuss challenging issues, to identify key areas for organizational growth and alignment, and to engage and focus management teams on achieving the organization’s goals and vision. Sarah’s unique experience with issues of leadership, diversity, and employment law make her an inspiring motivational speaker. Sarah also provides coach mentoring and consultation for new coaches seeking certification.

Sarah is a graduate of various leadership programs including the Coaches Training Institute’s ten-month Leadership Program and the University of Nevada Reno’s Executive Development Program in Critical Issues and Strategic Planning. Sarah serves on a number of organization boards including the Lyon College’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee and YouthCARE. She also volunteers in many organizations including the Volunteer Lawyers Network’s employment law advice panel and the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association.

One of Sarah’s favorite quotes is by Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

 

  • Membership and Affiliations
    • Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) — Member
    • Minnesota Coaches Association — Member
    • International Coaches Federation — Member, Certified Personal Coach
    • Twin Cities Human Resource Association (TCHRA) — Member
    • Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (MAIBA) — Member, former Vice-President, Treasurer, Board of Directors, Scholarship Golf Tournament Chair
    • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) — Member, former Vice-President & Board of Directors
    • Lyon College Alumni Association — Former President, Vice-President, Executive Committee
    • American Bar Association (ABA) — Member of Labor & Employment Division, Letter of Credit Subcommittee, former Law Student Division
    • Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) — Member, former Board of Directors
    • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) — Member, former Assembly, Governance Committee, Diversity Committee
  • Presentations and Publications
    • Co-Leader, “Lean into Connection” (semi-public workshop on connecting with others more efficiently & effectively during our busy lives, January 2011)
    • Panelist, “Candid Advice for New Lawyers” (Minnesota CLE, January 2009, July 2009)
    • Panelist, “Retention & Beyond: Diversity Challenges & Solutions in Minnesota’s Legal Workplaces” (Minnesota CLE and Minnesota State Bar Association Diversity Committee, 2004)
    • Sarah Oquist, Reproduction Constitutes a Major Life Activity under the ADA: Implications of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Bragdon v. Abbott, 32 Creighton Law Review 1357 (1999)
  • Civic Involvement
    • Volunteer Lawyers Network, Volunteer Employment Law monthly phone advice team
    • Lyon College Board of Trustees — Executive Board, Student Life Committee Chair, Personnel Committee; former positions — Institutional Advancement Committee, College President Search Committee, Church Relations Committee, Trustee Membership Committee
    • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe — Standing Finance Review Committee responsible for providing advice to Treasurer/Secretary of the Tribe
    • Creighton University Alumni Advisory Council — Former Member
    • Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Clinic — Former volunteer
    • Youth Empowerment Summit (Minneapolis) — Panelist
    • Christ Presbyterian Church — Member; former positions: Deacon, Wedding Coordinator


Education, Program & Certifications

Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, The Coaches Training Institute

Associate Certified Coach, International Coach Federation

Certified Facilitator, The Leadership Circle Profile (360° leadership development & assessment system)

Graduate, The Coaches Training Institute’s ten-month Leadership Development Program

Graduate, University of Nevada Reno’s Executive Development Program in Critical Issues & Strategic Planning

J.D., cum laude, Creighton University School of Law

-Creighton Law Review: Assistant Editor
–Negotiation Competition: School & Regional Finalist, National Qualifier, Student Team Coach, Board Officer
–Client Counseling Competition: School & Regional Finalist, Board Officer, Tournament Director

B.A., English, Lyon College
–Sigma Tau Delta (English honor society)

Honors/Distinctions

Minnesota’s Top 20 “Up & Coming” Lawyers (2007), awarded by Minnesota Law & Politics

Patterson Decade Award (2003), alumni award for professional achievement

Outstanding Leadership within the University & Community Award (1999), awarded to one student from all seven Creighton University professional schools for distinguished leadership

Outstanding Service to the School of Law Award (1999), awarded by law school faculty to one student for distinguished service to the law school

Court Admissions
State of Minnesota
U.S. District Court, Minnesota

Personal
Favorite travel spot: Africa
Favorite sport: Golf
Theme Song: “Come from the Heart” by Kathy Mattea
(Previously) Little Known Fact: To date, only enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe to obtain law degree
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: solving problems for others so they can focus on their vocation and enjoy their lives more fully
Favorite Charity or Non-Profit: it’s difficult to choose a favorite

 

Chris E. Royal

T: 612.756.7113
E: ChrisR@sapientialaw.com


About
Chris Royal’s practice centers on business law, including real estate and commercial transactions; commercial litigation; entity formation, governance and compliance; and tax and financial matters. His client base includes entities, business owners, property owners and commercial tenants, and financial institutions.

Chris is a true business-minded attorney, having a background in accounting, corporate management, and state government financial oversight and compliance prior to commencing private legal practice.  These experiences enhance his appreciation for the legal implications of commercial issues and his ability to craft effective business solutions to commercial legal issues.  Chris embraces close relationships with many clients — often providing continuous general legal counseling and advice from entity formation through growth stages and financing activities to owner succession and other liquidity events.

Efficiency, versatility, and fun are Chris’ trademarks, as illustrated by his wide variety of life experiences.  Chris graduated high school less than two months after turning sixteen, and during the next year he traveled to study abroad and play American football professionally in France. Outside of his legal practice, Chris enjoys traveling as often as possible, listening to music of many varieties, and joining friends for water-related activities.

  • Representative Experience
    Transaction-Based

    • Assisted client with purchase of resort property in northern Minnesota.
    • Assisted client with corporation formation and service agreements to provide IT support to national fitness company.
    • Assisted client with formation of entity and joint venture agreement with multi-national media conglomerate.
    • Prepared workout/forbearance documents for lender with four related borrowers involving six loans totaling $2.9 million secured by various parcels of commercial and residential real property.
    • Prepared loan documents for loans totaling $2.8 million secured by charter school property in central Minnesota.
    • Prepared loan documents for $1.8 million construction and development loan secured by commercial/retail property in the suburban Twin Cities.
    • Prepared loan documents for loans totaling $4.6 million secured by hotel property in the suburban Twin Cities.
    • Prepared loan documents for transaction involving assumption of a $1.75 million loan and the origination of two loans totaling $1.4 million secured by an assisted living facility and residential development property located in the suburban Twin Cities.
    • Assisted in representation of lender in a workout/loan modification of $6.2 million in related loans secured by commercial property in south suburban Twin Cities and assisted lender with engagement of receiver for property to have rents pay past due property taxes and insurance.
    • Represented lender in a workout/foreclosure of $1.8 million of multiple loans secured by a meat processing facility in southern Minnesota. Assisted lender in subsequent sale of property.
    • Prepared loan documents for origination of $16.0 million loan to refinance and develop first phase of largest development of commercial, single-family and community property building lots on the west coast of U.S.
    • Prepared loan documents for origination of separate multi-million dollar loans in various states including Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.

    Litigation-Based

    • Successfully secured proper valuation of client’s claim in Chapter 13 case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
    • Successfully defended summary judgment award in Minnesota Court of Appeals.
    • Successful loan recovery and foreclosure activities for commercial clients and financial institutions.
    • Navigated commercial clients through contract disputes and industry-specific regulatory compliance.


Education
J.D., cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School (2001)
– Dean’s List honor for academic years 1999 – 2000, 2000 – 2001.
– Nominated for Best Brief and Orals Tournament competitions for Moot Court.
– Elected class representative to Law Council; elected Treasurer of Law Council.
– Member of Law School Technology Committee.

Bachelor of Accounting, University of Minnesota-Duluth (1994)

Court Admissions

State of Minnesota, 2001
State of Wisconsin, 2010
US District Court for the District of Minnesota, 2009

Personal
Favorite travel spot: Vancouver, BC
Favorite sport: All team sports
Theme song: Vikingman by Rodrigo y Gabriela
(Previously) little known fact: 15 years old during first 8 months of senior year of high school
Favorite part of being a lawyer: Helping others
Favorite charity or non-profit: Finnegans

Kenn H. Fukuda

T: 612.756.7103
E: KennF@sapientialaw.com


About
Kenn’s legal background involves litigating business issues, intellectual property (patent) matters, real estate disputes, and privacy matters. In particular, he has experience in various courts in Texas and Minnesota, as well as the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. His experience to date has focused on motion practice, brief writing, working with expert witnesses, and trial practice. He also has experience drafting contracts.  He has been quoted or noted in various media outlets regarding his privacy practice, including in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Star-Tribune, ABA Journal, City Pages, WCCO Radio, Finance & Commerce, and TVSpy.  For his work advocating on privacy matters, he has been selected as a 2013 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer magazine.

In addition to practicing law at a large national firm, Kenn’s work experience prior to joining Sapientia includes working for a Fortune 1000 company in a sales capacity. His role involved developing strategies to increase sales and implementing those plans to increase market share and grow the company. As a result of his business sense and entrepreneurial spirit, Kenn is well equipped to assist clients in crafting business-minded solutions to every day legal problems.

Kenn likes to have fun, and does a myriad of different things to accomplish that. He rides Harleys, is an amateur musician, and is a die-hard sports fan. He also loves the State Fair, and eating all the great Fair food. Finally, he loves to patronize local establishments to enjoy good food and drink with friends.


Education
J.D, With Distinction, University of Iowa College of Law (2008)
Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice, Writer
The University of Iowa Center for International Finance and Development, Staff Member
Thomas Tang Moot Court, Regional Participant

M.A. Sociology, The University of Texas-Austin (2005)

B.A. Anthropology, The University of California-Berkeley (2002)

Court Admissions
Minnesota
United States District Court, District of Minnesota
United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Memberships and Affiliations
Hennepin County Bar Association, Board of Directors
Minnesota State Bar Association
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights, Commissioner
Japanese American Citizens League, Board of Directors
Texas Exes, University of Texas Alumni Association, Life Member

Personal
Favorite Travel Spot: Edinburgh, Scotland
Favorite Sport: Baseball
Theme Song: Dream Big, by Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband
Little Known Fact: I once had lunch with a group of Secret Service Agents attached to former Vice President Al Gore.
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: The thrill of the courtroom!
Favorite charity or non-profit: Young Life