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.

Ken EdstromLorenz (Larry) FettSonia Miller-Van OortTowle NeuSarah OquistChris E. RoyalJonathan A. StraussRobin Wolpert
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Ken Edstrom

T: 612.756.7108
E: kene@sapientialaw.com
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Rated by Super Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Rated Attorney

Ken has 34 years of experience in insolvency, corporate disputes, debt restructuring, bankruptcy financing and commercial litigation. Ken represents businesses seeking to protect their financial rights. Ken also represents individuals and businesses experiencing or seeking to avoid financial difficulties.

Ken has practiced in the Twin Cities his entire career. He represents all sides in bankruptcy proceedings and has been debtor’s counsel on some of the most significant Chapter 11 filings in Minnesota over the past 30 years. He also represents creditors’ committees and secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, and he has litigated adversary actions in bankruptcy courts around the country.

Ken is a frequent lecturer and writer on topics involving the bankruptcy rights of individuals and businesses. He is licensed in Minnesota, Arizona and numerous federal and bankruptcy Courts around the region and the country, including the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Ken is one of only six attorneys in Minnesota to be certified in business bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification, a certification he has held since the year 2000. In addition, Ken has been voted as a “Superlawyer” by his peers (only 5% of all attorneys are so designated) for eleven years in a row and for 14 of the past 15 years.

  • Memberships/Affiliations:
    American Bar Association
    American Bankruptcy Institute
    Minnesota State Bar Association — Bankruptcy Section
    Hennepin County Bar Association — Debtor-Creditor Committee
  • Recent Reported Cases
    • Dakota County v. Milan, (In re Milan), 2016 BL 312159, B.A.P. 8th Cir., No. 16–6012, 9/22/16 ).
    • In re Acuity Medical, Bankr. Minn. Bky. No. 15–40126.
    • Analog Technologies Corp. v. Knutson, 2015 Minn.App. LEXIS 624 (Analog III).
    • In re Premier Healthcare Services, Inc., 2015 Bankr. LEXIS 865.
    • In re Next Generation Media, 524 B.R. 824 (Bankr. Minn. 2015).
    • Allred v. Hauser (In re Jundt), 2014 Bankr. 2729 (Dist. S.D.).
    • In re Coyote Creek, LLC, Bankr. Minn. Bky. No. 13–36053.
    • Analog Technologies, Inc. v. Knutson, 2013 Minn.App. 1158 (Analog II).
    • Honsa v. Petrilak, Bankr. Minn. Adv. No. 12–03324 (Constantine).
    • KFC Corporation v. Wagstaff Minnesota, et al., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 372 (Dist. Minn.).
    • Ries v. Legendary Marine (In re Genmar Holdings), 481 B.R. 500 (Bankr. D. Minn. 2012)
    • In re Keely and Grabanski Land Partnership, L.P., 455 B.R. 153 (8th Cir. BAP 2011).
    • Analog Technologies Corp. v. Knutson, 2011 WL 1236164, Minn.App., April 05, 2011 (Ross) (Analog I).
    • Lee v. Haukaas (In Re Haukaas), 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 2930.
    • In re Kladek, Inc., d/b/a The King of Diamonds, Bankr. Minn. 10–35032 (Kressel).
    • In re Next Generation Media, Inc., Bankr. Minn. 10–40097 (Kressel).
    • Manty v. Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd., Minn. Adv. 10–03071 (Kishel).
    • In re: Talon Manufacturing, Inc., Bankr. Minn. 10–42155 (Kressel).
    • In re Veblen West Dairy LLP, 434 B.R. 550, Bankr. S.D. 2010 (Nail).
    • In re Smith, Bankr. No. 09–47382 (Bankr. D. Minn. 2010).
    • Swift & Co. v. Elias Farms, Inc., et al, 539 F.3d 849 (C.A.8 (Minn.)
  • Publications/Presentations
    • “The Nifty Nine: The Most Important Bankruptcy Cases Decided by SCOTUS.” Co-Author: Minnesota CLE 2017
    • Chapter on Bankruptcy Issues, “Family Law Financial Handbook” Minnesota CLE, 2016
    • “The Effect of Law v. Siegel on the Ability to Deny Claims of Exemption” American Bankruptcy Institute Consumer Committee News, Spring 2015
    • “The Intersection of Family Law and Bankruptcy”- Minnesota Bankruptcy Institute 2014
    • “Contingent Property Interests in Bankruptcy” – Minnesota Bankruptcy Institute 2013
    • Association of Attorneys and Real Estate Executives: “New Bankruptcy Realities” presentation, April 2012
    • Co-Author, “To Be Paid or Not to be Paid, That is the Question” — Minnesota State Bar Association CLE 2012
    • Minnesota State Bar Association Bankruptcy Deskbook – “Exemptions;” 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018
    • “Individual Chapter 11s in Minnesota After BAPCPA: Uncharted Territory” — Minnesota Continuing Legal Education webcast (co-author), 2011
    • Chapter 11 First Day Motions in Minnesota, an Introduction ” (co-author), September 2010
    • State Capital Group Legal Blog: “BAPCPA Fails to Live up to its Advance Billing.http://bankruptcy.scglegal.com/2012/08/bapcpa-fails-to-live-up-to-its-advance.html, August 2011
    • “First Circuit Bucks Majority on Discharge of Unlisted Debt in No-Asset Case” – ABI Journal, Vol. XXVII, No. 9, November 2009
    • Outline: MSBA presentation, In re Addison, Minnesota State Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section, November 18, 2008
    • “Hidden Traps of Small Business Chapter 11s” – Minnesota State Bar Association CLE, 2008;
    • “Section 522(o): Can You Change the Law if You Leave the Language the Same?” – American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) Committee News, April 2008
    • Numerous other articles and CLE outlines authored over the years on insurance law, landlord-tenant law and bankruptcy law

J.D., University of Minnesota Law School (1983)
Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, Moorhead State University (1980)

Court Admissions
State of Minnesota, 1983
State of Arizona, 2015
District of Minnesota, 1983
Multiple Other District Courts
Eighth Circuit, 1983
United States Supreme Court, 1986
United States Tax Court, 1996


“Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics (2006 — 2017)

Favorite travel spot: Paris
Favorite sport: Horse Racing, if that is a sport
Theme song: Whatever Gets You Through the Night
Favorite part of being a lawyer: Improving the lives of my clients
Favorite charity: My Church
Little known fact: One of my brothers was born a year and a day before me and another was born a year and a day after me.

Lorenz (Larry) Fett

T: 612–756-7107
E: LarryF@sapientialaw.com
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Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Rated Attorney

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.

Interview with Larry Fett on WCCO Radio. Read More about this story.

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

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.

Sonia Miller-Van Oort

T: 612.756.7125
E: SoniaMV@sapientialaw.com
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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, 2014, and 2015. 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. Sonia is currently an officer of the Minnesota State Bar Association and will be the state’s first Hispanic Bar President in 2017.

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 served for eight years on the School Board of the Hopkins-based Spanish-immersion public charter school, International Spanish Language Academy, serving as Chair for two years and an officer for several. 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, as well as the Latino Alumni Advisory Board.

Also very importantly, Sonia likes to have fun. She enjoys playing with her two children, helping her husband design 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:

    Treasurer (on leadership track to be President in 2017)

    Board of Governors/Assembly (1998—2004; 2006—2011)

    Operations Committee (2009—present)

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

    Governance Committee (2007—2009; Chair 2011–2015)

    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)

    (Former) Hennepin County Bar Foundation — Board of Directors

    (Former) Volunteer Lawyers Network – Board of Directors

    (Former) 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)
    • “The Lawyerist”- 2015 Podcast #32: Sonia Miller Van Oort’s Non-Traditional Law Firm


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. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court


“Top Attorneys in Minnesota,” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2015)

“Top Women Attorneys in Minnesota,” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2014)

“2014 Attorney of the Year,” by The Minnesota Lawyer

“Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics (2013, 2014, 2015)

“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)


Favorite travel spot: Israel

Favorite sport: Tennis

Theme song: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

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

Towle Neu

T: 612.756.7122
E: TowleN@sapientialaw.com
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Rated by Super Lawyers
Towle (pronounced “toe·wool”, not “towel”) is an experienced real estate attorney with a diverse private practice background who enjoys getting his hands dirty. He represents lenders, buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords, brokers, and property managers in all facets and sizes of real estate transactions, construction projects, and property management.

Working for other medium-sized law firms in the Twin Cities his first eight years of practice, Towle initially litigated on behalf of owners, contractors, and developers in complex, multi-million dollar disputes, as well as smaller, residential claims. Eventually, he transitioned from a litigation practice to a transactional-based practice where he represented lenders and developers in all aspects of drafting, negotiating, closing, and administering construction and term loans; negotiating construction contracts, commercial leases, purchase agreements, 1031 exchange documents, and declarations of restrictive covenants; and due diligence review, including title and survey, environmental, and corporate compliance.

Prior to joining Sapientia, Towle had his own successful solo practice for seven years in which he continued to serve his client base in all of the above aspects of real estate transactions, negotiations, and related lending arrangements.

Towle’s unique background, including both transactional and litigation work for institutional lenders and developers, as well as small contractors and residential owners, gives him valuable insight when advising his clients. This, combined with his own experience as a business owner, reinforces and fuels Towle’s commitment to client responsiveness, creative solutions, and cost-effective service.

  • Representative Experience
    • Represented a national bank in the $70,000,000 development of The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, a 70-tenant lifestyle shopping center located in Maple Grove, Minnesota.
    • Represented a national bank in a $12,300,000 construction and term loan for development of an office building in Hennepin County, Minnesota.
    • Represented a national retail company in its receipt of $36,000,000 STAR bond funds for the construction of a 235,000 sq. ft. store at The Legends at Sparks Marina retail development in Sparks, Nevada.
    • Represented the owner and developer in the land purchase and development of the Autobahn Motorplex in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
    • Represented a lender in a $15,000,000 loan for the construction of an ethanol plant.
    • Represented a Twin Cities real estate group in the sales of four apartment complexes for a total of $7,600,000.
    • Represented the developer in the construction financing of Grant Park, a 27-story condominium tower and adjacent townhomes in downtown Minneapolis.
    • Represented the owner in its $2,000,000 purchase and construction of a retail space in Minneapolis.
    • Represented the buyer in its purchase and leasing of several office buildings in the Twin Cities metro area ranging in value from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.
    • Represent a property management company in connection with its operation of several apartment communities in the Twin Cities.

J.D., with distinction, University of Iowa College of Law (1999)
B.S., Dean’s List, Northwestern University (1995)

Court Admissions
State of Minnesota

Favorite Travel Spots: Laos and a secret location in the Colorado Rockies
Favorite Sport: Mountain Biking. Yes, it’s a sport. Theme Song: Live Wire by Mötley Crüe
Favorite Non-Profit: IFP of Minnesota
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: It’s a profession where having gray hair is a good thing.
Little Known Fact: Directed the feature film Heart of Wilderness

Sarah Oquist

T: 612.756.7112
E: Sarah@sapientialaw.com
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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)


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

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
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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
    • 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.


    • 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.

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

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

Jonathan A. Strauss

T: 612.756.7110
E: JonS@sapientialaw.com
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Rated by Super Lawyers

Jon has eighteen 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), named one of ten “Up and Coming Attorneys” by Minnesota Lawyer  in 2002, and a Super Lawyer in 2015.  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, including serving as President for the Hennepin County Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the local county bar association.  Jon also shared 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, 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

    Named a Super Lawyer for 2015

    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

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
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 2015

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: College Possible
Friends Describe You As: Passionate about life and loyal

Robin Wolpert

T: 612.756.7103
E: robinw@sapientialaw.com
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Robin Wolpert has extensive experience in the field of political law and government ethics. As former in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company, Robin has advised and guided participation in the political process and navigated complex regulatory environments in virtually every state in the country, including at the federal level as well. Robin has managed compliance with federal, state, and local campaign finance laws and reporting requirements; pay-to-play rules; lobbying disclosure requirements for in-house and external lobbyists; and gifts, entertainment, and travel rules. Robin understands how important it is to continually evaluate and enhance policies, processes, and training to drive best practices throughout a company to keep pace with changing legal standards and experiences in the political arena. She also understands the special challenges for government contractors and sales teams. Robin empowers corporate officers and employees to conduct themselves with the highest standards of integrity to avoid the legal and reputational risks of noncompliance. She also represented entities subject to government investigations for possible violations of state election laws.

In addition to her corporate experience counseling on political processes, Robin also has a depth of experience litigating in private practice on behalf of companies, individuals, and municipalities. She has done so at the district court level in both state and federal courts in the areas of commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, and municipal defense.

Adding further to Robin’s comprehensive legal career, Robin also practiced in the area of appellate advocacy as a county prosecutor for approximately three years, and earned the distinction of being named one of the “2012 Attorneys of the Year” by The Minnesota Lawyer while in that role.

Robin is a member of the executive committee of the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and was an ethics investigator for many years before she joined the Board. She currently serves on the Commission of Judicial Election for the State of Minnesota, as well as the Board of Directors of Minnesota CLE. As a former prosecutor, she regularly conducted training on prosecutorial ethics. She has also co-chaired and served on the campaign committees of numerous judicial candidates for statewide office in Minnesota. She completed her tenure as an officer of the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society after serving as the Chair of that organization in 2015. Robin is currently serving as the President of the Minnesota State Bar Association and will be the Association’s 104th President during the 2016–2017 term.


  • Professional Recognition

    Named “2017 Attorney of the Year” by The Minnesota Lawyer, click here

    Named “2013 Attorney of the Year” by The Minnesota Lawyer, click here

    Named “Minnesota Rising Star,” by Minnesota Law & Politics (2011)

    Amicus Service Award, International Municipal Lawyers Association

    Lawsuit of the Year, Minnesota Law & Politics (2008)

    Minnesota Citizens Commission For The Preservation Of An Impartial Judiciary (Governor Al Quie, Chair), Reporter 2006-07

  • Memberships

    Immediate Past President, Minnesota State Bar Association:
    President (2016–2017)
    President-Elect (2015–16)
    Treasurer (2014—2015)
    Secretary (2013—2014)
    Executive Committee (2013—2017)
    Board of Directors (2013–2017)

    Chair, Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board
    Executive Committee, 2015-present
    Board of Directors, 2013-present

    National Conference of Bar Presidents
    Executive Council, 2017-present

    Commission On Judicial Selection (10th Judicial District) (2011–2016)

    Minnesota CLE, Board of Directors (2015- 2016)

    Minnesota County Attorneys Association
    , appellate practice committee (2013–15)

    Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society:
    Chair (2015)
    Vice-Chair (2014)
    Secretary (2013) Treasurer (2012)

    Minnesota State Bar Association, Appellate Practice Section Chair (2011–12)
    Vice-Chair (2010–11)
    Secretary/Treasurer (2009–10)
    Board (2008-present)

J.D., cum laude, Cornell Law School (2001)
Ph.D., Political Science, University of Chicago (1995) B.A., Colby College (1985)

Court Admissions
State of Minnesota
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Favorite Travel Spot: Langkawi, Malaysia
Favorite Sport: Downhill skiing
Theme Song: Mahler 5
(Previously) Little Known Fact: I am a former college professor and I love working with the next generation.
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: Empowering my clients to achieve their goals and partnering with them to create options for success both inside and outside the legal process.
Favorite Charity or Non-profit: Urban Ventures in Minneapolis
Friends Describe You As: Creative and passionate about serving clients, the legal profession, and the public.