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.

Demetria DyerKen EdstromLorenz (Larry) FettNick LeonardValerie JohnsonSonia Miller-Van OortTowle NeuKatie TholkesChristopher ProczkoJonathan A. StraussRobin Wolpert
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Demetria Dyer

T: 612.756.7126
E: DemetriaD@sapientialaw.com
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Demetria Dyer assists clients in resolving a wide variety of business and commercial litigation issues. She has experience with matters involving shareholder disputes, fraud, employment law, corporate governance, Title IX, bankruptcy, information privacy, and general contract disputes. Demetria helps guide clients through all stages of federal and state civil litigation.  Demetria is also a member of Sapientia’s COVID-19 Business Counsel team and is knowledgeable about both state and local relief programs available to small businesses that are impacted by the pandemic.

Prior to joining Sapientia, Demetria served as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas Fraser of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota. In this role, she performed legal research and analysis, drafted opinions, and assisted with trial and hearing preparation.

While in law school Demetria also served as a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Michael J. Davis at the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. As an extern, Demetria conducted legal research and analysis and drafted memoranda and opinions.

Outside of work, Demetria is an avid volunteer in her community. She frequently speaks to groups of young people and mentors diverse law students. Demetria also loves taking group fitness classes and spending quality time with family and friends.

J.D., Cum Laude, Mitchell Hamline School of Law (2019)
B.A., Concordia University St. Paul (2013)

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

Favorite Travel Spots: California
Favorite Sport: Dance
Theme Song: Formation by Beyoncé
Favorite Non-Profit: Legal Aid
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: Impeaching a witness on cross examination
Little Known Fact: I loved taking dance classes so much during undergrad that I almost received a minor in dance.
Friends describe you as: Loyal and Passionate

Ken Edstrom

T: 612.756.7108
E: kene@sapientialaw.com
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Ken has over 37 years of experience in insolvency, corporate disputes, debt restructuring, bankruptcy, receiverships, assignments for the benefit of creditors, 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 fifteen years in a row and for 19 of the past 20 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
    • Case commentary published by the MSBA’s Bankruptcy section: IN RE LUEBBERT, 987 F.3D 771 (8TH CIR. 2021) FEBRUARY 9, 2021: read more
    • “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 — 2021)
AP Rated by Martindale Hubbell

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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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.

Nick Leonard

T: 612.756.7113
E: Nickl@sapientialaw.com
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Nick has 20 years of experience providing counsel to businesses and their leaders. His clients have come from many different industries. He has represented companies in technology (medical device, biotechnology, computer hardware & software), hospitality (restaurants, breweries, hotels, and sports & fitness), recreational vehicles, medical, advertising and media, construction, and manufacturing. He has a unique ability to use his knowledge and experience across industries.

After several years as an attorney with two large national law firms, Nick launched his own entrepreneurial path and led businesses as CEO and General Counsel. He has also advised other entrepreneurs and business clients acting as their “outside” General Counsel.

As a result, Nick brings real-life entrepreneur experience and business knowledge and is consciously aligning to business strategies and objectives when advising and drafting entity formation and corporate governance documents; managing mergers and acquisitions; drafting policies and procedures; and guiding clients through regulations.

Nick is a patent attorney who understands technology and brings extensive intellectual property expertise when advising on creating IP ownership, protecting assets, policing potential infringers, and managing licensing and commercialization efforts.

Nick is very comfortable handling all sizes of commercial litigation from managing extremely large, complicated patent lawsuits to representing clients in small administrative and licensing hearings. He is efficient at obtaining resolutions by effectively working with a team of litigators. As a former General Counsel and business owner, he is sensitive to efficiency and being cost-minded when pursuing his clients’ interests.

Nick is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get things done. Prior to joining Sapientia, Nick created several successful businesses, including award-winning sports bars in New York City and Los Angeles. While he has lived on both coasts, he now calls Minnesota home. Lately, he has been enjoying building out his garden and finding adventure outdoors with his husband John.

J.D., cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School (1999)
B.A., cum laude, Saint John’s University (1995)
Member of the U.S. Patent Bar (2000)

Court and Bar Admissions
State of Minnesota
U.S. District Court for District of Minnesota
U.S. Patent and Trademark

Favorite Travel Spot: Travelled to 6 of 7 continents and over 50 countries: most fascinating was Israel, favorite return spot is Paris
Favorite Sport: Volleyball: played and coached at all levels
(Previously) Little Known Fact: Grew up in Walnut Grove, MN (home of Little House of the Prairie)
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: Helping people and businesses find solutions to difficult problems

Valerie Johnson

T: 612.756.7115
E: valeriej@sapientialaw.com


Valerie Johnson is the most recent addition to our Legal Support Professional Team.  She joined the firm in October 2018 after having worked in the legal field for over 17 years.  Her primary legal support role relates to business litigation, but her past includes work in the areas of construction defect, personal injury, torts, and dram shop matters.  Valerie also assists with certain firm administration tasks. 

Valerie enjoys the sense of a supportive, fun family created by the entire office and learning new things every day.  In her spare time, Valerie enjoys spending time with family, friends and pets, boating, four-wheeling, gardening, camping, hiking, canoeing, downhill skiing, reading, cooking and yoga. 

Favorite Travel Spot: Austria
Favorite Sport: Downhill skiing
Theme Song: Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
Favorite part of being a Legal Administrative Assistant/Paralegal: Enjoy the variety of tasks and working as a team for the benefit of the client
Favorite charity: Church
Little known fact: I come from a family of 8 kids

Sonia Miller-Van Oort

T: 612.756.7125
E: SoniaMV@sapientialaw.com
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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 served as the first Latino President of the Minnesota State Bar Association and fifth female President in 2017–2018. In September 2020, Indiana University-Mauer School of Law presented Sonia with its Distinguished Service award in recognition of her extraordinary service to the legal community.

Not only is Sonia committed to her legal practice and meeting her clients’ needs, she is also committed to public service. Sonia was appointed by the ABA President to serve on the prestigious ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary as the 8th Circuit representative; in this capacity, Sonia and the 14-member committee volunteer significant time evaluating presidential nominees to the federal court and issuing ratings to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Department of Justice, and the White House. 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.

Those who know Sonia know she takes her fun seriously. In addition to playing many board games with her husband and two nearly-grown children, Sonia loves travel, 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


“Distinguished Service Award” from Indiana University- Mauer School of Law (2020)

“Top Attorneys in Minnesota,” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2014–2020)

“Top Women Attorneys in Minnesota,” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2014–2020)

“Top 100 Minnesota Highstakes Lawyers” (2019)

“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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Towle is a business and transactional attorney with more than 20 years of experience. His practice focuses on real estate, asset and stock transactions, new business creation and expansion, outside general counsel services, and lending. He provides strategic legal counsel to a wide range of clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, in various industries, from commercial finance and real estate development to life sciences and manufacturing.

Towle started his legal career 20 years ago at a prominent construction litigation firm in Minneapolis, but eventually transitioned to real estate transactional and lending work. Prior to joining Sapientia in 2015, he was also the owner of an independent filmmaking business and a solo practitioner. Coupled with his transactional and general counsel experience, this unique background and gives Towle invaluable insight to understanding his clients’ needs and concerns and fuels his commitment to client loyalty, cost-effective service, and creative solutions.

General Counsel Services

Towle works closely with his clients on day-to-day operational and growth issues, as well as finding creative solutions to critical business decisions, including company formation, ownership structure and change, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, contracts and licensing, private equity and financing, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial business transactions. In this capacity, he prides himself on being a loyal and trusted confidante to his clients, which gives them the freedom to focus on their business priorities and strategic decisions, not legal concerns.

Towle is also a member of Sapientia’s COVID-19 Business Counsel team formed in response to the pandemic. He combines his lending and transactional experience with his knowledge of the COVID-19 federal loans and financial assistance available to small businesses that are impacted by the pandemic, including those programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Transactional

Towle also has significant experience representing owners, developers, and lenders in all aspects of real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, construction lending, and project management, including drafting, negotiating, closing, and administering construction and term loans; negotiating construction contracts, commercial leases, purchase agreements, and declarations of restrictive covenants, and review and analysis of title and survey, environmental, corporate compliance, and all other due diligence.

  • Representative General Counsel Experience
    • Outside general counsel to a foreign, publicly traded company expanding into the U.S. life sciences industry focused on developing technology for mental health diagnosis and monitoring. Draft and negotiate business-development agreements, including product development contracts, consulting agreements, NDAs, data sharing and clinical trial agreements, and sales and licensing contracts.
    • Represent the developer of a 400-acre residential garage condominium and road track project in rural Minnesota.
    • Represent a property management company in connection with its operation of several apartment communities in the Twin Cities.
    • As outside general counsel, oversaw internal investigation of alleged breach of fiduciary duties by executive officer.
  • Representative Transactional Experience
    • Represented the lender of a $70,000,000 construction and term loan for the development of a 70-tenant lifestyle shopping center in the Minneapolis metro area.
    • 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 in Sparks, Nevada.
    • 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 a 27-story condominium tower and adjacent townhomes in downtown 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.

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

Katie Tholkes

T: 612.756.7150
E: katiet@sapientialaw.com


Katie Tholkes is a paralegal at Sapientia Law Group.  She primarily provides support to the firm’s litigation team, but also has experience in regulatory compliance, real estate, and other transactional matters.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Macalester College and a Paralegal Certificate from Hamline University.  She is also a member of the Minnesota Paralegal Association, the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, and LEX National Paralegal Honor Society.

The things Katie most enjoys about her job are the opportunity to learn something new from each and every case, and being able to contribute to such a dedicated and creative team of attorneys and support staff to meet the needs of clients.  Outside of work, Katie enjoys cooking and baking, reading both fiction and nonfiction, and spending time with family and friends.

Favorite travel spot: Ireland
Favorite sport: Speedwalking through the skyway
Theme song: “Running with the Wolves” by Cloud Cult
Favorite part of being a Paralegal: There’s a lot of variety in the work I do, which means I get to learn about many different types of businesses and areas of law.
Favorite charities: Fistula Foundation and Backpack Project MN
Little known fact: I read cookbooks for fun. 

Christopher Proczko

T: 612.756.7117
E: ChristopherP@sapientialaw.com/a>
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Christopher has nearly a decade of experience in courts across the country, litigating matters involving commercial disputes, public records requests, privacy interests, insurance, civil rights, corporate shareholder disputes, and media access rights. He is highly respected by both the bench and the bar as a fierce advocate and careful strategist. Christopher has briefed and argued dispositive and non-dispositive matters, negotiated settlements in complex matters both before and after commencement of a lawsuit, and guided clients to solutions that minimized their risk of exposure to both potential liability and unnecessary litigation cost. 

In addition to his dedication to his clients, Christopher is committed public service and equal access to the justice system. This belief in helping those without the financial means to receive adequate representation has led him to represent prisoners pursuing excessive force claims against their prison, independent publications responding to litigation threats and legal permanent residents fighting their forced removal and deportation to stay in the United States.

Before joining Sapientia, Christopher practiced at an AmLaw 100 firm in Minneapolis. He has been active in the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association throughout his career, and he currently serves as an Executive Board Member. Christopher served as a judicial clerk to Hon. Richard H. Kyle, Hon. Tony N. Leung, and Hon. Katherine M. Menendez, all in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Christopher is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt training at Rebel Jiu Jitsu in Eagan, Minnesota. Beyond that, he has collected a full range of hobbies over the years: he rides a fixed gear bike (with brakes—he’s not a maniac), is a pretty good disc golf player, used to shoot pool much better than he does now, and is struggling to teach himself to play the ukulele.

J.D., William Mitchell College of Law (summa cum laude 2011)
B.A., St. Olaf College (2004)

Court and Bar Admissions
State of Minnesota 2011
U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota

Favorite Travel Spot: London, England
Favorite Sport: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Ultimate Frisbee
Theme Song: “Nobody Speak” by DJ Shadow featuring Run The Jewels
(Previously) Little Known Fact: I really, really do not like horses
Favorite Part of Being a Lawyer: Finding exactly the right words
Favorite charity/non-profit: Reporter’s Committee for a Free Press

Jonathan A. Strauss

T: 612.756.7110
E: JonS@sapientialaw.com
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Since 1997, Jon has been litigating product liability, commercial, privacy, defamation, 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 is an accomplished business litigator, criminal defense attorney, and appellate practitioner. With her unique blend of government, in-house, and private sector experience, Robin develops creative problem-solving strategies and, where necessary, manages litigation seamlessly from trial through appeal.

Robin handles a diverse mix of criminal and civil lawsuits and appeals, focusing on constitutional law, defamation, business fraud and misappropriation, money laundering, Title IX, data privacy and cybersecurity, and business compliance. She represents clients in litigation involving private parties or the government, including cases with parallel criminal and civil proceedings, civil and criminal appeals, and investigations.

Robin has extensive experience in compliance with federal and international anti-bribery and anticorruption standards—including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), UK Bribery Act, and anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws. In addition, she spent much of her career advising and litigating on behalf of state and local government as a prosecutor and outside counsel.

Always passionate about public service, Robin oversees Minnesota’s attorney disciplinary system as Chair of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.

Robin is Past President of the Minnesota State Bar Association. She is a former college professor, teaching law and judicial politics at the University of South Carolina and Georgetown University

  • Memberships/Affiliations

    National Conference of Bar PresidentsExecutive Council (2017-present)

    Chair, Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (2017-present)
    Executive Committee (2015-present)
    Board of Directors (2013-present)
    Investigator (2007–12)

    Criminal Justice Act Panel, District of Minnesota

    Minnesota State Bar Association:

    • Immediate Past President (2017-present)
    • President (2016–17)
    • President-Elect (2015–16)
    • Treasurer (2014–15)
    • Secretary (2013–14)

    Commission on Juvenile Sentencing For Heinous Crimes (2016–18)

    Minnesota State Bar Association Criminal Law Section Council, 2017-present

    Commission On Judicial Selection (10th Judicial District) (2011–16)

    Minnesota County Attorneys Association, appellate and best practices committees (2013- 15)

    Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society:

    • Chair (2015)
    • Vice-Chair (2014)
    • Secretary (2013)
    • Treasurer (2012)

    Minnesota State Bar Association Appellate Practice Section Council Chair (2011)

  • Professional Recognition

    Named 2018 D & I Honoree by The Minnesota Lawyer click here

    SuperLawyers, 2017, 2018

    Named “2016 Attorney of the Year” by The Minnesota Lawyer, click here

    Named “2012 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


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.