Board of Directors
Capitol City Law Group LLC
A.L. Brown is a trial lawyer who has successfully represented employees who have been mistreated by their employers, criminal defendants who are being prosecuted by the government, and those who have had their civil rights violated.
A.L. has worked as a law clerk to a federal judge, an associate in one of the nation’s best trial firms, legal counsel to a corporation, Chairman of the Saint Paul Human Rights Commission, Co-Chairman of the Innocence Project of Minnesota (IPMN), and member of the Executive Board of the Minnesota State Bar Association. He now brings all of that experience and knowledge to represent his clients, and to his work on the IPMN Board.
Gray Plant Mooty
Jon Hopeman is a highly regarded trial and appellate attorney in state and federal courts with emphasis on white collar criminal defense. His practice also includes corporate compliance investigations.
From 1983 to 1994, Jon was an Assistant United States Attorney in Minneapolis, where he also served as Senior Litigation Counsel. Since leaving the U.S. Attorney’s office, he has defended persons charged with securities fraud, political corruption, environmental crimes, bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, terrorism, murder and arson. He has conducted investigations for companies of fraud, bribery, Medicare fraud, theft of corporate assets and foreign corrupt practices.
Jon is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Jon has won more than 50 jury trials in federal court and has won more than 50 cases in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Lindsey Thomas, M.D.
Retired - Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office
Lindsey C. Thomas, MD is a board certified forensic pathologist and assistant medical examiner at the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office in Minneapolis, serving Dakota, Hennepin and Scott counties. She got her BA from Oberlin College in Ohio, her MD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and did her anatomic and clinical residency at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Thomas completed her forensic pathology fellowship at Hennepin County. Lindsey is on the Boards of Directors of the Minnesota Coroners’ and Medical Examiners’ Association and of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) and is the chair of NAME’s Government Affairs Committee. She is on the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Department of Justice, Organization of Scientific Area Committees, Subcommittee on Medicolegal Death Investigation and is on the board of the Innocence Project of Minnesota.
On a personal note, Dr. Thomas is married to her Kalamazoo Central high school sweetheart, David Lauth, an attorney at UnitedHealth Group. They have three children, who, like all Lake Wobegon children, are well above average. She is an avid reader, a recent convert to running (well jogging really) having completed a marathon and 2 half-marathons in the last 8 months, and an enthusiastic if not particularly talented downhill skier.
Xcel Energy Inc.
Jim Altman is the Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Xcel Energy Inc. Jim graduated from the University of Iowa School of Law in 1982 and started working at Dorsey & Whitney that same year in the litigation department. In 1987, Jim began working at NSPM, working primarily in the area of litigation. After NSP’s merger in August of 2000 with New Centuries Energy to form Xcel Energy, Jim became the litigation practice leader. In November of 2005 Jim became Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Xcel Energy. In this role Jim supervises Legal staff, provides legal advice to senior management and has overall responsibility for the Company’s litigation.
Jackie Cherryhomes-Tyler, Inc.
A graduate of Augsburg College, Ms. Cherryhomes has been involved in the civic life of Minneapolis for over 30 years. From political involvement to community organizing, Ms. Cherryhomes has had a positive and enduring influence on Minneapolis.
Ms. Cherryhomes’ passion for community development was ignited when she moved to North Minneapolis over 30 years ago. She immediately became involved in organizing her community around issues of crime and safety. She then became Development Director of the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council, working to develop and manage over 120 units of low income housing in North Minneapolis.
Ms. Cherryhomes was elected to the Minneapolis City Council in 1989. During her twelve-year tenure on the City Council (1990-2002), she represented the 5th ward, the most economic and ethnically diverse area of the City of Minneapolis. In 1994 her peers elected her as President of the City Council, a position she served in for eight years.
Mr. Cohen is a senior managing director for CarVal Investors, responsible for managing investments in global loan portfolios. Prior to joining CarVal in 2009, Mr. Cohen was responsible for structured finance transaction origination, analysis and execution at Garrison Investment Group. He was previously with Silver Point Capital where he deployed both debt and equity through a range of investments in various structure product and illiquid asset classes.
Mr. Cohen also co-headed the financial services group within principal finance. Mr. Cohen was previously the CEO of Franklin Credit Management Corporation, a publicly traded specialty finance company, and spent four years as the chief operating officer of MagnaCare. Mr Cohen received his J.D. from NYU School of Law and his A.B. in political science from the University of Michigan, graduating with honors and distinction.
Laurie Eibensteiner is a community volunteer who resides in South Minneapolis. A former entrepreneur, journalist and education activist, she has worked with a wide variety of corporate, academic and not-for-profit enterprises. Laurie was a Guardian Ad Litem for Hennepin County Juvenile Court and a fellow in the Annual Policy Forum at the Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. A former Canadian citizen, Laurie attended McGill University and the University of Alberta where she earned a B.Ed. She also holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and was a certified TEFL Instructor there for six years. In addition to volunteering for Innocence Project of Minnesota, she is a member of the board of directors of Way to Grow, which serves disadvantaged families in north Minneapolis and is also on the Academic Standards Committee for Cristo Rey Jesuit High school in south Minneapolis.
Lea has over 20 years’ experience within the legal information technology and services industry and holds a J.D. She is currently Vice President of Customer Support within Legal Sales & Customer Support. Prior to her current role, Lea has led teams in marketing, sales and account management and sales operations. Lea possesses unique experience in managing teams and programs across multiple customer segments and sales channels. Today she is responsible global contact centers for Reference Attorneys, Customer Service and Customer Technical Support where they handle over 1.4M customer contacts per year.
JE Hart and Associates
Mr. Hart has been an engineer since 1970, educated at the University of Minnesota, and has served at Donaldson Co, Eaton Hydraulics, MTS Systems, and as a consultant in several areas of engineering. In 1990, he co-founded DDL, Inc, which has since become the most respected testing laboratory for the medical device industry. Mr. Hart retired in 2012, and is now a consultant in engineering management and leadership. He is active as a director on several commercial and non-profit boards. He has years of experience managing personnel, consulting, leading teams and coaching staff.
He is married and is the very proud father of four fabulous children.
John boasts a variety of corporate leadership positions in the testing industry. He also has experience in mergers and acquisitions, ISO 9001 quality systems development and administration, mechanical engineering, test engineering, new business development marketing, and facilities management. John's specialties include, but are not limited to, medical device testing, medical device packaging testing, and M&A, facility development. He has years of experience managing personnel, consulting, leading teams and coaching staff.
Fredrikson & Byron, PA
Steve is a senior of counsel attorney at Fredrikson & Byron who concentrates his practice in tax litigation, business and commercial litigation, and white collar criminal and regulatory agency defense. Prior to entering private practice in the Twin Cities, he was a Department of Justice Tax Division trial attorney responsible for representing the government in tax refund and general tax litigation matters in numerous federal district courts in the Midwest and Northeast.
Steve has been a writer and a lecturer at continuing legal education and other professional seminars on such topics as tax refund litigation, opening statement, closing argument, the art of trial advocacy, the law of privilege, the death penalty, ethical issues in white collar criminal defense, bank fraud and fidelity insurance.
Judge Jeffrey J. Keyes
It was a privilege and honor to serve the United States District Court, District of Minnesota as a magistrate judge from 2008 to 2016, when I retired from the bench. During those eight years, I had the opportunity to serve as a mediator conducting settlement conferences in hundreds of cases in the federal system. I was able to assist the parties and their counsel in bringing a wide array of cases to settlement including, for example, complex business disputes, and cases involving employment, product liability, insurance, intellectual property, real estate, antitrust, securities, civil rights and consumer protection. I found that my thirty six years of experience as a civil trial lawyer in Minnesota prepared me well to guide litigants through often difficult negotiations to achieve successful resolution of these cases.
My job as a United States magistrate judge also involved overseeing and managing complex civil litigation including many class actions. This included management of electronic discovery and the resolution of attorney client and other privilege disputes often involving voluminous materials. Again, my many years of practice handling complex litigation around the country aided me in these endeavors.
As a result of these experiences I decided to join the ranks of the very qualified retired judges in Minnesota who offer their services in mediation, arbitration and special master assignments. I will operate this business independently to avoid conflicts of interest.
In addition to traditional alternative dispute resolution services described above, I will also offer consulting litigation services to law firms and lawyers who are preparing their cases for court. This may include, for example, “mooting” a difficult argument in preparation for a court appearance or appellate argument. I will also be available to assist business clients conduct internal investigations including Special Litigation Committee assignments.
Former Director, Minnesota County Attorney’s Association
John Kingrey retired after more than 14 years as the Executive Director of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. He previously was a senior vice-president with the Minnesota Hospital Association and served as a staff assistant to Governor Rudy Perpich.
Kingrey also served a combined 30 years in the Marine Corps and Army Reserves before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He currently volunteers for several veteran’s organizations. In addition to serving on the Board of the Innocence Project of Minnesota, he also serves on the Board of the Armed Forces Service Center.
Christopher W. ("Chris") Madel is regularly sought after to represent corporations, law firms, and individuals in their most sensitive and grave matters. He has represented clients in many delicate and high-profile investigations and lawsuits (civil and criminal), including trying numerous cases before juries and judges. A former Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., his substantive experience includes representing clients in substantial minority-shareholder disputes, billion-dollar claims in connection with major corporate acquisitions, alleged theft of trade secrets, computer hacking, corporate espionage, allegations of attorney malpractice and misconduct, as well as defending claims brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and other agencies relating to alleged regulatory violations and white-collar crimes. He has also represented top executives and professional athletes in extremely sensitive matters involving alleged fraud, extortion, harassment, and criminal sexual conduct, often resolving such matters privately and without any publicity.
Chris has received numerous awards for his work. He is the first lawyer that The Minnesota Lawyer selected as “Attorney of the Year” for three consecutive years (2011, 2012, and 2013). The National Trial Lawyers Association named him as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His peers have selected him as a “Super Lawyer” in every year since 2003. And in late 2012, Mr. Madel appeared on the cover of the premier issue of Attorney at Law magazine in Minnesota.
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Ed Magarian partners with clients to defend complex civil litigation brought both by private parties and the government; investigate and, where necessary, defend allegations of criminal and regulatory violations; and defend or prosecutor claims before FINRA, AAA and other venues.
Ed’s practice includes clients in various fields and industries such as banking, securities, health care, energy, education, and other nonprofits, hospitality, franchise, government contractors, food and agriculture, franchisors, among others. His commitment to client service is 24/7 because the issues his clients confront are not restricted by the clock.
Ed is a member of the firm’s Policy Committee (Board of Directors). He also serves as chair of the firm’s Professional Personnel Committee, the committee that reviews all non-partner professionals.
Kaarin Nelson Schaffer
Halunen Law Partner Kaarin Nelson Schaffer is a formidable force. Comfortable in the courtroom and at the negotiation table, she represents employees who have experienced discrimination, harassment, retaliation and other illegal conduct in the workplace. Driven by a deep and innate desire for fairness and justice, Kaarin is drawn to her clients’ stories. Giving a voice to those stories and achieving justice brings her great satisfaction, and success.
A collaborative problem-solver, Kaarin works hard to resolve cases as early as possible and has achieved six-figure settlements without even filing a complaint. It came as little surprise to her colleagues and clients when Minnesota Super Lawyers recognized Kaarin as a “Rising Star” every year since 2014.
Besides chairing Halunen Law’s Employment Practice Group, Kaarin speaks regularly at conferences and is active in the National Employment Lawyers’ Association. She is also on the Board for the Juvenile Justice Advocates International, which works with the Mexican government to eliminate excessive juvenile detention in Mexico, and continues to teach classes in American law to students in Uruguay, South America.
A Cum Laude graduate of St. Thomas University, Kaarin’s sense of fairness and justice, coupled with a steadfast commitment to advocacy for employees, have guided her life and work. Her determination, compassion, and professionalism set her apart.
Special Agent, FBI (Retired) and a Private Investigator with WayPoint, Inc.
Eileen has 24 years of investigative experience as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the Los Angeles and Minneapolis offices. Eileen’s federal law enforcement experience includes work with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and other law enforcement agencies on major white-collar investigations. Eileen participated in planning and performing complex financial investigations, and has extensive experience in asset forfeiture, court receiverships and asset identification and recovery.
During her federal law enforcement career Eileen investigated hundreds of allegations of criminal fraud involving bank fraud, bank failures, public corruption, investment fraud, mortgage fraud and securities fraud. She assisted in obtaining criminal convictions against individuals, including the some of the larger Ponzi scheme cases in region: U.S. vs. Thomas J. Petters, et. al.; U.S. vs. Trevor Cook; and U.S. vs. Jason Bo-Alan Beckman, et. al. Eileen’s work on the Petters case led to her being awarded as a co-recipient of both the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award and the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
Eileen has worked with experienced investigators from other agencies and mentored new investigators in the FBI and other agencies. Eileen has an MBA from Pepperdine University and an BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an active volunteer at the ICA Food Shelf in Hopkins, MN and a board member with the Innocence Project of Minnesota.
Julia Shmidov Latz
Julia Shmidov Law Firm, P.A.
Ms. Shmidov is a strong advocate for her clients in Minnesota Courts for the last 20 years. She started her legal career defending clients for Mr. Richard Meshbesher’s law firm and continued representing thousands of individuals since in her own firm, Julia Shmidov Law Firm, P.A.
Ms. Shmidov provides her clients with a wide array of knowledge and experience, having worked as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. Her ability to evaluate the case from different angles strengthens her clients’ case preparation and achieves solid results.
As part of her practice, Ms. Shmidov has handled civil cases, and criminal defense and prosecution. She has served on the Misdemeanor Defense Panel in Hennepin County for 15 years and chaired the Lawyer Referral and Information Services Committee. Ms. Shmidov has shared her experience by teaching other attorneys as the presenter in a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar on the necessity defense and conducted general legal seminars.
I was born and raised in Washington DC. After graduating from Cardozo High School, I attended the University of Minnesota where I had been recruited to play football in 1966. While at the University of Minnesota, I played on the last Big Ten Championship team in 1967 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Liberal Arts in 1970. Then, I attended the University of Minnesota Law School and graduated in 1973. (I wish I could say I graduated cum laude, but I graduated.)
Beginning in 1972, I clerked for a law firm in Minneapolis and eventually worked as a lawyer subsequent to taking the bar exam in 1974. From there, I worked for a firm of which I was a partner with an emphasis on Criminal Law. Then, in 1976, I started Trawick & Smith PA with George Smith and continued working there until 2016 when I retired.
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Jim Volling is one of the most respected commercial litigators in the Midwest. He is a member of the firm’s management board and the former head o fthe firm’s business litigation group.
Jim served as a judicial clerk under the Honorable Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and the Honorable Roger Robb, United States Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit. Jim has appeared in state and federal trial courts in every region of the country and he has argued appeals in several federal and state appellate court. Jim has handled disputes valued up to several billion dollars.
Jim’s broad-based experience includes extensive work in antitrust, securities and shareholder litigation, FCPA investigations and voluntary disclosures to the SEC and DoJ; consumer class actions, False Claims Act; RICO; breach of contract; breach of warranty; and lender liability. In the area of white collar criminal defense, he has handled federal and state cases alleging misapplication of bank funds, securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, government program fraud and violations of laws involving antitrust, export, customs, commercial bribery, environmental issues and the Hobbs Act. He has also handled internal investigations of suspected criminal conduct for corporations and other institutions.
Attorney, Former State Appellate Public Defenders Office
Marie Wolf received a B.A. from Macalester College, an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. She specialized in criminal appellate law, and was employed by the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender’s Office. She was also an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law, teaching the Criminal Appeals Clinic and the Legal Practicum. She is now retired, and spends her time volunteering for the Innocence Project of Minnesota and playing with her grandchildren.