Perspective Matters
The right people and teams drive results and value

We put the principles of value into practice every day. We invest in upfront collaboration, proven project management techniques, flexible billing arrangements, diverse teams, secure and forward-thinking technology, and top-drawer legal talent throughout our 13-city footprint.

The following highlights summarize key cases, transactions and other legal services that demonstrate our commitment to delivering client value. As you read through the profiles, you’ll discover the wide variety of work we do  and the strong relationships we build.

We hope you can spend a few minutes exploring this site and learning more about us, and that you come back now and then to catch up on our latest posts. Don’t hesitate to contact one of us or anyone at Stinson Leonard Street with questions.

                                               

Mark Hinderks, Managing Partner                                   Allison Murdock, Deputy Managing Partner

Banking and Financial Services View/print this section

Adam Maier advised Deerwood Bancshares, Inc. and its subsidiary bank, Deerwood Bank, in the sale of its Apple Valley, Minnesota, branch location to Royal Credit Union based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The branch sale, which closed in November 2016, involved the unique process of converting the location into a credit union in accordance with Bank Merger Act and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) statutes and regulations. Assistance with this transaction came from Ernie Panasci, Lindsey Harden and Mike Lochmann. Deerwood Bank had previously acquired the Apple Valley location as part of the American Bank of Saint Paul acquisition in 2015. Adam also advised Deerwood as the stalking horse bidder for that purchase under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

We represented Model Cities of Saint Paul in connection with its development and financing of a mixed-use condominium building in Saint Paul including both multifamily rental and commercial facilities. The housing was financed with proceeds of tax-exempt bonds, proceeds of the syndication of low-income housing tax credits and loans from Minnesota Housing and the City of Saint Paul. The commercial space was financed with a bank loan and various grants and multiple loans and grants made by the City.

Barbara Portwood, Partner in Minneapolis

In 2016, we began advising Wells Fargo Bank, National Association in loans made to construct affordable multifamily housing projects. These projects use federal low-income housing tax credits, which allow private investors to provide the equity funds that make the projects feasible. Many projects also use tax-exempt bonds or layers of subordinate debt, all with the goal of making the projects financially viable while keeping rents affordable. With the addition of Wells, we now represent three of the five largest banks in the U.S. in affordable housing loan transactions. We also represent financial institutions and corporations when they purchase tax credits for their own accounts or for syndication.

A large part of Barkley Clark‘s practice is to provide expert testimony on banking issues under the Uniform Commercial Code, in state and federal courts and before arbitration panels.  He has testified as an expert in cases involving both secured loans and payment systems. During the last year, for example, he wrote an expert report in a multimillion dollar case involving a large regional bank and its handling of a “blocked” deposit account; the defendant bank prevailed on summary judgment. Barkley also consults with law firms around the country that are involved in commercial law/banking litigation. Last year, he consulted with two large secured lenders on special UCC filing projects.

We advised California Bank of Commerce, of Lafayette, California, in the acquisition of Pan Pacific Bank, of Fremont, California. The strategic partnership formed a business bank with over $650 million in total assets as of the closing and CABC is dedicated to serving businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. The transaction accelerated California Bank Commerce’s growth strategy by capitalizing on the two institutions shared commitment to quality customer service as well as robust banking platforms and production capabilities. The bank has established low cost-deposit bases with significant focus on commercial and industrial lending.

Ernie Panasci, Partner in Denver

Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights View/print this section

We represented numerous parties in multistate bankruptcy cases in the dairy sector of the agriculture industry.  Stinson has successfully represented debtors and committees of unsecured creditors in ensuring maximum recovery for creditors while preserving going concern business operations.  Stinson’s experience in this area has allowed it to counsel clients through the notoriously volatile ebbs and flows of  the dairy business sector.

We served as lead counsel for Gas-Mart USA. Inc. and four affiliates in Chapter 11 reorganization cases pending in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. Gas-Mart and its affiliates owned and operated over 40 convenience store gas stations in five states with more than 300 employees and more than 700 creditors, including five key secured creditors and several landlords. Working with John Tittle of Tittle Advisory Group as the chief executive officer, the companies obtained debtor in possession financing, successfully overcame significant opposition by various objecting parties during the pendency of the case and made substantial progress in operations, ultimately leading to an orderly sale of all operations as a going concern to over five buyers pursuant to an active auction with many bidders.

Since 2008, we have represented numerous innocent parties targeted in litigation arising from the unscrupulous conduct of widely known Ponzi- schemers such as Tom Petters and Bernie Madoff.  Stinson has protected its clients against claims in the hundreds of millions of dollars and has obtained favorable settlements on behalf of many of those clients.

We represented Canyon Portal LLC, the owner of  a large mixed-use retail/lodging property on scenic Route 89A in the “red rock” country of Sedona, Arizona. CP had a large loan that came due on December 31, 2015, and it was having difficulty getting anyone at the servicer to negotiate an extension or restructuring of the debt. A large default charge was set to accrue on January 1, 2016. Accordingly, we filed CP into a Chapter 11 on December 31, 2015, in order to restructure the debt. The restructuring through the Chapter 11 included a material extension of an underlying long-term land lease, thereby enhancing market value. A fully consensual Chapter 11 plan was confirmed in July 2016, becoming effective in August 2016.

We competed for and won representation of the Unsecured Creditor’s Committee in the International Technical Coatings Chapter 11 filed in Phoenix. ITC is a national steel fabrication business with facilities in Arizona and Ohio. The UCC was composed of trade vendors representing approximately 55 percent of the unsecured debt in the case. During 2016, the UCC (with the aid of its financial advisors and Stinson) negotiated a full pay plan based on resolution of contentious fraudulent transfer claims. The plan became effective February 2017.

This successful, collaborative effort was led by the following attorneys:

We represent the Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors in the bankruptcy cases of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Duluth.  These cases involve complex issues of insurance coverage, creditor claims and co-party liability.  Stinson has designed and implemented cutting edge strategies to protect the interests of its clients in this developing area of bankruptcy law.

Providing counsel in the areas of financial restructuring, insolvency and creditors’ rights, Marc Albert has delivered results to debtors, creditor committees, lenders and other creditors for more than 35 years. Here are a few recent examples of his work.

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Following previous involvement as trustee in a prior dismissed bankruptcy case, Marc was appointed as Chapter 7 trustee for a debtor possessing a one-third interest in a 34-unit apartment building in the District of Columbia. Although the apartment had significant value, sale had previously been constrained due to a large number of various liens and judgments recorded against the property and two other co-owners. Through utilization of Stinson Leonard Street as his trustee’s counsel, Marc was able to secure a contract for sale for the property for more than $3 million, as well as negotiate consent for sale with various lienholders and one of the other co-owners. Following a judgment in an adversary case filed by the trustee regarding sale of the third co-owner’s interest, the bankruptcy court recently approved sale of the property free and clear of liens following an auction conducted at trial, further increasing the sale price for the property to the benefit of the bankruptcy estate.

Through the course of a dispute between a divorced couple in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, the court ordered the sale of a certain large family home in the DC area used by the couple as a rental property to multiple tenants. Citing his more than 25 years of experience as a trustee in the United States Bankruptcy Court, the court appointed Marc Albert to serve as trustee to take possession and conduct a sale of the property. In addition to Marc’s role as trustee, the firm was employed as his counsel for the matter. Over the course of a three-and-a-half month period, Marc, with the aid of other Stinson attorneys as his counsel, was able to retain a realtor, market the property, negotiate various rights of existing tenants and fully close on a $1.6 million dollar sale while preserving one owner’s rights to include the sale as a tax deferred real estate exchange.

During the course of protracted litigation between a District of Columbia funeral home and the Department of Justice involving extensive unpaid tax debt, Marc Albert was brought into the case to serve as a receiver for the business and the firm employed as his counsel. After more than a year and a half of near daily work overseeing the operation of the funeral home’s business and ensuring all current tax obligations were being met, the receiver was able to work with the business, IRS and DC taxing authorities to reach a settlement. This settlement allowed for the release of tax liens on the funeral home property and a long delayed sale of the property to successfully close, resulting in payment to both taxing authorities and conclusion of the receivership.

For more information about Marc, visit his bio.
For more information about our Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights practice, go here.

Marc Albert, Partner in Washington, DC

Corporate View/print this section

We served as counsel to Kansas City entrepreneur John Sherman in his successful bid to become a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians. The Major League Baseball team announced Sherman as a vice chairman August 19, 2016. Sherman started and developed two businesses in Kansas City. The first, LGP Services group, merged with Dynegy in 1996. Sherman later founded Inergy LP, which went public in 2001 and merged with Crestwood Holdings in 2013. He is a board member of the merged company, Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners.

We represented uniform rental and facility products company G&K Services in its sale to Cintas Corporation for $2.2 billion. As a result of the sale, G&K shareholders received $97.50 for each share of common stock held. Minneapolis-based G&K Services had more than $1 billion in annual revenue, and had 8,000 employees and 165 facilities across the U.S. and Canada.

Anne Cotter, Corporate Finance partner, assisted longtime firm client Midcontinent Communications in its acquisition of the WOW! internet, cable and phone system in Lawrence, Kansas. The deal closed in January 2017 and signals Midco’s entry into Kansas, where the company will serve more than 30,000 customers in Douglas, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties. Before this acquisition, Midco already provided telecommunications, data center and managed services, and advertising solutions to more than 350,000 customers in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Anne Cotter, Partner in Minneapolis

Founded in 1956, Shick Solutions was a family-owned, Kansas City-based manufacturer of automation systems for food products found in many of the fast-food restaurants and convenience stores we all know and use regularly. Over the last 61 years, Shick became a global industry player supplying equipment and processes to move raw materials around food industry factories.

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Led by Eric Mikkelson, a team of attorneys from multiple practice areas represented Shick as its second-generation Ungashick owner-brothers negotiated and closed an asset transaction with Breteche Industrie Group, a French private equity portfolio company. The deal gives Breteche a foothold in North America and expands Shick’s market reach in Europe and beyond.

With Reed Smith, Paul Hastings, Dinsmore, French counsel and multiple other law firms involved on behalf of multiple other parties, this cross-border transaction presented a number of unique challenges. We successfully closed on July 26, 2016. The client is thrilled with our work and the results we achieved.

In addition to Eric and the attorneys pictured below, the Stinson team also included Matthew Brincks, Charley Jensen, Michael Donohue and Suzanne Williams.

Learn more about our Corporate Finance practice.

Eric Mikkelson, Partner in Kansas City

We represented Greer Companies in connection with the sale of 44 Cheddar’s Casual Café and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen restaurant locations in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina to the franchisor. Prior to the sale, Greer Companies, a Kentucky-based hospitality and real estate development company, was the largest franchisee of Cheddar’s Casual Café and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen restaurants.

Patrick Respelier, Partner in Kansas City

Represented longtime client QTS Realty Trust (NYSE: QTS), a leading provider of secure, compliant data center, hybrid cloud and managed services, with more than 5 million square feet of data center space supporting more than 1,000 customers in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, in three significant transactions:

  • QTS’ acquisition of a data center property in Piscataway, NJ, which was acquired from DuPont Fabros Technology, Inc. and included a solar facility and state renewable energy credits.
  • A $1.2 billion amended and restated credit agreement.
  • QTS’ acquisition of its second data center in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas market, a 260,000-square-foot data facility, from Health Care Service Corporation.

Advised Spire, Inc. and its subsidiaries Alabama Gas Corporation and Laclede Gas Company with respect to the negotiation and closing of a $975 million senior credit facility and related commercial paper program.

Served as lead counsel to Two Harbors Investment Corp. (NYSE:TWO) in its $287.5 million public offering of Convertible Senior Notes. Two Harbors Investment Corp., a Maryland corporation, is a real estate investment trust that invests in residential mortgage-backed securities, mortgage servicing rights, commercial real estate and other financial assets. Two Harbors is headquartered in New York, New York, and is externally managed and advised by PRCM Advisers LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pine River Capital Management L.P.

Steve Quinlivan, Partner in Minneapolis

Energy, Environmental, Mining and Transportation View/print this section

Advise a large, multistate electric and gas utility client on environmental and real estate issues pertaining to transactions in multiple states. This includes proposed sale transactions for contaminated property, including due diligence and liability allocation. We also represent the company before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies on remediation of contaminated property, obtaining terms that limit the company’s liability for cleanup costs. We represent the company on matters in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Wyoming.

Represented Great Plains Natural Gas Co., a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc., in a contested case proceeding before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission regarding Great Plains’ application seeking to increase rates for gas distribution service in Minnesota.

Represent the subsidiary of a global Fortune 300 company in connection with a complex contaminated site in Missouri. Scope of representation includes permitting; negotiating favorable remedy selection with environmental agency; counseling client on remedy implementation and permit compliance; cleanup contractor arrangements; site team coordination.

Represented Soo Line Railroad Company, d/b/a Canadian Pacific, in an action to quiet title to the mineral rights associated with certain sections of its railroad right-of-way in Mountrail County, North Dakota. In 2014, the district court issued a summary judgment order holding that the nearly 100-year-old deeds at issue in the case granted only easement interests to CP and, thus, did not convey any mineral interests. We assisted CP in appealing that decision, and in 2015 the North Dakota Supreme Court reversed in CP’s favor, holding that six of the seven deeds granted fee simple interests, including mineral rights, to CP and vacating the lower court’s adverse decision on the seventh deed for further proceedings.

We assisted Starwood Energy Group in negotiating International Swaps and Derivatives Association Master Agreements with several swap/commodity dealers for transactions in physical electric power and natural gas and related derivatives.  These agreements will enable Starwood to sell, purchase, and hedge the output and fuel supply needs of its power plants. We also assisted Starwood Energy Group in negotiating energy management agreements and related ISDA Master Agreements for a portfolio of power plants with an aggregate generation capacity in excess of 900 megawatts.  These agreements provide for comprehensive management of the capacity, energy and fuel supply of these gas-fired plants (which operate in various regional electricity markets) by a contracted energy manager.

Jonathan Schneider serves as general regulatory counsel for the Large Public Power Council, the trade association representing the largest state and municipally owned utilities in the nation,  in matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. LPPC is the trade association that comprises the 26 largest state and municipal utilities in the nation. Matters include all general federal energy rulemakings applicable to electric utilities in the nation.

We represent a chemical distribution company in federal and state agency investigations of properties in several states, involving alleged non-compliance with risk management planning and recordkeeping; and in investigations of alleged soil and groundwater contamination from activities on company property. We helped guide an internal investigation through record review, interviews and historic document research. We also assisted our client with enhanced training and compliance programs related to environmental, health and safety, and other regulatory inspections and oversight.

We assisted the Duluth Seaway Port Authority with the preparation and adoption of an addendum to its environmental policy that will guide the port authority’s future purchase, remediation, redevelopment and sale of contaminated properties or “brownfields.”

The Bonneville Power Administration is one of the nation’s largest transmission owners and one of its largest marketers of electric energy. Every two years it holds a major proceeding to revise its rates for the sale and transmission of electricity.  In its latest proceeding, BPA’s staff has proposed to triple the rate BPA charges for hourly transmission service on its Southern Intertie, a facility linking the Pacific Northwest to markets in California. Stinson attorneys Harvey Reiter and Glen Ortman have been representing the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in opposing the rate increase—helping to put together the case against the rate increase, cross-examining the BPA witnesses and submitting briefs to the agency.  A decision on the case is expected in late July 2017.

Intellectual Property and Technology View/print this section

We represented Cobalt Boats, which prevailed in its patent infringement lawsuit against Brunswick Corp. in Virginia federal court June 21. Cobalt sued Sea Ray Boats and its parent company Brunswick in January 2015 alleging that Brunswick infringed on Cobalt’s “retractable swim step”, a partially submerged platform that allows boat passengers to easily enter and exit the water. . The jury concluded that Brunswick’s infringement was willful and returned a $2,690,000 verdict.

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This case was being closely watched in the patent and boating industries. It was one of the first to be tried following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland, where the court found that patent suits can only be filed where a defendant is incorporated or where it has committed infringement and has a regular and established place of business. Sea Ray argued it had no ties to the Eastern District of Virginia, but in a split decision the Federal Circuit denied Brunswick’s last minute request for mandamus relief three days before trial began. The claims asserted in the litigation survived an IPR invalidity challenge by Brunswick at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and Brunswick dropped its remaining invalidity allegations during trial.

Stinson attorneys B. Scott Eidson, Samir Mehta, Penny Slicer and Colin Turner and Troutman Sanders attorneys Robert Angle and David Gettings represented Cobalt.

At trial Cobalt proved that the claims of Cobalt’s Swim Step patent were infringed, and that the infringement was willful, meaning the jury concluded Brunswick’s behavior was particularly egregious. Because the jury found Brunswick’s infringement to be willful, the Virginia federal court may decide to enhance the verdict up to three times the $2.7 million awarded by the jury.

You can read more about this high-profile case in Boating Industry and Trade Only Today.

Since its introduction in 2010, the patented Swim Step has been a popular feature with Cobalt’s dealers and customers. The way it flips down below the surface of the water provides an easy way for people to get in and out of the water and also provides a bench-like seat on the back of the boat that gives boaters more room to enjoy the water. After it was introduced, Cobalt saw a steady increase in sales and demand for the feature, and it is now the most popular feature on Cobalt’s boats. During trial, Cobalt proved that the Swim Step feature helped it sell boats—and helped Brunswick sell its infringing boats as well.

 

Penny Slicer, Partner in Kansas City

B. Scott Eidson, Partner in St. Louis

Samir Mehta, Associate in St. Louis

Colin Turner, Associate in Kansas City

We represent Netsmart, the nation’s largest provider of behavioral health electronic health records, addiction treatment software, care coordination software and other health-related technology. We have assisted Netsmart in pursuing patent protection for its software and network technology used to provide electronic health records and other healthcare solutions.  We also counsel Netsmart in copyright protection for its software offerings.

We serve as co-counsel with Locke Lorde for Quebec-based BRP—a world leader in the design, manufacturing, distribution and marketing of motorized recreational vehicles and powersports engines distributed in over 100 countries by more than 4,200 dealers and distributors—in two dueling patent cases.

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In one case, we represent BRP in enforcing its family of patents against rival Arctic Cat, based on Arctic Cat’s introduction of a new line of snowmobiles employing the innovative rider position and frame assembly patents issued to BRP’s inventors.

In the second, we are defending a patent infringement case brought by Arctic Cat after BRP had started its own infringement litigation, in which Arctic Cat alleges infringement of patents related to controllers for ignition timing in engines. BRP is defending against Arctic Cat’s claims on all grounds, including non-infringement and invalidity.

We represent First Bank, a growing independent bank with over a century of heritage. Our team assists First Bank in the negotiation of fintech-related transactions, including contracts with core-service providers, telecom and internet vendors, and technology focused customer services.  We also provide guidance to First Bank on data security and privacy related matters.

We represent Saint Louis University, which partners with businesses in numerous industries to support scientific research. Saint Louis University accomplishes this by patenting inventions arising from university research, licensing the technologies to companies for commercialization and returning the licensing income to Saint Louis University to support further scientific endeavor. We file and prosecute U.S. and foreign patent applications directed to various technologies, including recombinant protein technologies, devices, cell culture and biomarkers, and preparation of patentability opinions.

Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits View/print this section

Lead by Sara Welch, we represent Cerner Corporation, the world’s largest publicly traded health information technology company providing leading-edge solutions and services for health care organizations worldwide, in the defense of multiple class and collective action lawsuits seeking overtime pay on behalf of associates who allegedly were misclassified as exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law.  Two of the cases currently are pending in Missouri state court and one case is pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.  The firm also is defending, in the federal court litigation, the enforceability of Cerner’s voluntary arbitration program.

Sara Welch, Partner in Kansas City

Stinson’s Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits attorneys assisted other firm attorneys in selling the Braas Company to Motion Industries (MI), the industrial parts group of Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC). Braas Company, a 100 percent ESOP-owned entity, is a leading multi-regional distributor of products and services for industrial automation and control, specializing in pneumatics, motion control, industrial networking, machine safety, robotics and related industrial parts.  The sale involved complex ERISA and tax issues relating to the Braas Company’s ESOP.

The Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association of Minnesota, Inc. selected Stinson to handle all of its traditional labor law and employment law needs. Following this selection, we successfully negotiated new labor contracts with Teamsters Local 974 and IAM Local 77, respectively, on behalf of the two subset dealer groups of GMADA who participate in multi-employer bargaining. The two new three-year labor contracts were successfully reached in 2016 without a work stoppage. GMADA is a membership organization that represents the majority of new car and truck franchised dealerships in the greater eight-county Minneapolis/Saint Paul metropolitan area.

Joel Abrahamson, Partner in Minneapolis

Litigation View/print this section

Led by Partner Steve Emerson, Stinson represents NorthWestern Energy, a regional natural gas and electric utility that has been sued by ExxonMobil for in excess of $100 million in property damage and lost profits allegedly arising from two electrical power outages that ExxonMobil claims shut down its 60,000 barrels per day crude oil refinery in Billings, Montana, for extended periods.

Originally filed as a putative class action regarding the trading of securities of YRC Worldwide Inc. during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, this case involved unique questions regarding class certification, unprecedented procedural issues and the use of untraditional case management strategies relating to discovery, including electronically stored information. Specifically, Stinson marshaled and found evidence to defeat class certification from literally millions of documents, and we formulated ESI strategies to level the playing field in what was otherwise asymmetrical discovery. These include new approaches with respect to identification of privilege and first peek agreements. Plaintiffs twice have sought appellate review in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and each was defeated.

Following a six-week jury trial, we obtained a complete defense verdict in a misappropriation of trade secrets case on behalf of The Bankers’ Bank, N.A., headquartered in Oklahoma City. Our client is a bankers’ bank, which is essentially a bank for banks.  Part of what our client does is to provide correspondent banking services to hundreds of small community banks similar to those services provided by the Federal Reserve

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To do so, The Bankers’ Bank utilizes correspondent banking software it developed and which it provides to its own community respondent banks. It also licenses that software to other bankers’ banks in other parts of the country to use with their respondent community banks.

Literally billions of dollars flow through this system daily.  The plaintiff is LendingTools.com, Inc., a software company that at one time had the majority of the market for correspondent banking software. LendingTools alleges that its former customers–customers that left to go to The Bankers’ Bank for their correspondent banking services–provided the trade secrets to The Bankers’ Bank, and that The Bankers’ Bank misappropriated them for its own use.

Originally LendingTools sought damages in excess of $55 million, but after The Bankers’ Bank successfully disqualified LendingTools’ first damages expert under Daubert, LendingTools’ went to trial seeking approximately $14 million in actuals, together with punitives and over $5 million in attorney fees.

We represented Peninsula and Boyd Gaming in its 2012-2016 property tax appeals for the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas. The valuation of the casino involves complex issues relating to separation of intangible assets from real estate and is establishing case law precedent for the valuation of casinos in Kansas under the new Kansas Expanded Lottery Act. We achieved a $15 million value reduction for the 2012 tax year, a $73 million value reduction for 2013 tax year, a $56 million value reduction for the 2014 tax year, and a $75 million valuation reduction for 2015 with appeals pending or anticipated. The 2016 tax year appeals are currently in process

Jarrod Kieffer, Partner in Wichita

We are representing New York State in a school-funding lawsuit brought by parents and children in eight small-city school districts across the state. Plaintiffs claim that existing school-district funding levels violate the New York Constitution, which requires the provision of a “sound basic education” for all children. Plaintiffs sought the extraordinary remedy of judicial intervention into the state’s budget determinations and alleged that New York State is obligated to spend additional billions of dollars for public K-12 education. After a three-month bench trial, the court ruled in our favor on all counts and dismissed the complaint. The matter is currently under appeal at the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division.

Real Estate View/print this section

Roers Investments LLC is a fast growing, Minnesota-based real estate investment and development company. Serving as outside general counsel, Minneapolis partner Anne Cotter and a team of Stinson attorneys have worked closely with founders Kent Roers and Brian Roers on structuring and financing for their development of nearly a dozen multifamily, student housing and senior living real estate projects in the past 18 months. Roers ended 2016 with a total portfolio comprising nearly $400 million worth of development across 20 + projects, with more than 1,800 apartment units. Roers also provides property management for its portfolio together with third-party management of 350 units and more than 135,000 square feet of commercial/industrial space. In 2017, Roers will complete construction on five projects while pursuing new developments to construct over 800 apartment units in five cities across three states.

The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball organization is the driving force behind the development of a state-of-the-art baseball complex, located next to the Negro League Baseball Museum, that will soon be home to the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy. When completed, the facilities will serve 1,000 children ages 6 to 18 participating in free baseball, softball, educational and vocational programs.

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The first of the $14 million project’s two phases—consisting of three baseball fields and one softball field, a walking trail, relocated basketball courts, relocated and renovated tennis courts and a relocated playground near the community center—opened in the fall of 2016.

The second phase will include a 50,000-square-foot indoor facility with a turf infield, batting cages, pitching mounds, restrooms, concession facilities, an event space and additional parking. Led by Partner Dave Frantze, Stinson serves as real estate counsel to the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy.

We represent Cerner Corporation, a national leader in health care technology, in the proposed redevelopment of the former Bannister Mall site, one of the biggest real estate redevelopment projects in Kansas City’s history. The redevelopment encompasses a 4.7-million-square-foot mixed-use campus, which is anticipated to create approximately 16,000 new jobs. The state and local incentives associated with the project include:

  • $773.8 million for the project to come from tax increment financing, which will capture all new property taxes and half of economic activity taxes generated by the project for 23 years
  • $317.2 million to come from “super” TIF, which captures the other half of the economic activity taxes generated
  • $654.4 million in state supplemental TIF

We represent EPR Properties (NYSE: EPR), a specialty real estate investment trust with total investments exceeding $4.7 billion in the entertainment, recreation and education segments, in all facets of its real estate needs.

Tax, Trusts and Estates View/print this section

We provide estate administration for a successful entrepreneur with a large family. We developed an innovate governance for a family limited partnership and established governance for new trusts. We also facilitate estate tax and succession planning for transfers from second to third generation.

Clary Redd, one of America’s most visible and respected trusts and estates lawyers, is and for many years has been the lead presenter in Cannon Financial Institute’s Estate Planning Teleconference Series. Now in its 15th year, these monthly teleconferences are incredibly popular among trusts and estates professionals throughout the United States, attracting thousands of participants each month.

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Each month’s discussion addresses a sophisticated estate planning or trust administration topic.  A few examples include post-mortem tax elections, designing and administering trust distribution mechanisms, family business succession planning and drafting and working with powers of appointment.

Clary also serves as co-chair of the Editorial Advisory Board and writes a very popular column in Trusts & Estates magazine. Trusts & Estates is the most widely read periodical among trust administration professionals in the United States.

Clary Redd, Partner in St. Louis

Diversity and Inclusion View/print this section

Stinson Leonard Street fosters an inclusive culture of fairness, respect and equality. Our firm is improved by the diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives of those who work here. It’s fundamental to how we deliver innovative, forward-thinking legal services to our clients and how we engage with our communities.

Our mission at Stinson is to provide an inclusive culture built on the foundation of attracting, retaining and promoting individuals of diverse backgrounds. We know that diverse teams produce better results for our clients.

PERSONNEL
Our firm is led by a diverse group of lawyers, and we view the success of our pipeline and increased promotion of attorneys who are women, people of color, LGBTQ, and who have disabilities into leadership positions as a central part of our approach. The firm is noted to have:

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  • An Executive Committee that is 50 percent female.
  • Administrative leadership of seven women and five men, and includes two leaders of color and one openly LGBT.
  • The firm recently hired a chief diversity and inclusion officer to lead a comprehensive set of initiatives, policies and practices that leverage the full potential of all our lawyers and staff.
  • In the 2017 class of 16 newly elected partners, eight were women and three were on an alternative work schedule.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION INITIATIVES
The firm has incorporated creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace as a core objective of its strategic plan.

The firm established a Diversity and Inclusion Department, led by its chief diversity and inclusion officer. The core D&I objectives that the firm will pursue in the upcoming years are:

RecruitmentEnhance the firm’s work product, competitive edge and access to top talent by obtaining a critical mass of diverse lawyers and staff by:

  • Increasing overall diversity to ensure that we bring diverse points of view in achieving the best solutions for our clients
  • Increasing leadership opportunities and development strategies for diverse lawyers
  • Helping increase law school pipeline initiatives

SuccessIncrease retention of diverse lawyers and staff by creating an inclusive, welcoming and supportive culture by:

  • Encouraging equitable and inclusive work distribution, collaboration, succession planning
  • Developing an Allies Program so that everyone at the firm feels empowered to participate in making the firm a more diverse and inclusive place
  • Establishing a champion/sponsor program to ensure diverse lawyers have influential advocates on their behalf

Engagement & GrowthEnhance business relationships and raise the firm’s brand as a leader in diversity and inclusion by:

  • Adding value to our clients through supporting our mutual desires to create a more diverse and inclusive legal community
  • Sharing our knowledge, resources, and efforts with clients and the community at large through presentations, articles, and consultations
  • Partnering with clients (where possible) to support diversity-related initiatives

AccountabilityCreate accountability and establish incentives for diversity and inclusion by:

  • Tracking and measuring various diversity-related metrics (what gets measured, gets done)
  • Creating infrastructures that mitigate the effects of bias and ensure the success of diverse lawyers
  • Breaking down silos to create integrated firm-wide solutions

PARTNERSHIPS
We are a sponsor of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, a nonprofit association of law firms and companies dedicated to attracting, recruiting, advancing, and retaining attorneys of color in the Twin Cities legal community.

We are a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a national consortium of law firms and corporate legal departments committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

  • In partnership with TCDIP and LCLD, we offer summer internship programs for 1L students designed to introduce students to the practice of law early.
  • We host a reception in our Kansas City and Minneapolis offices for first-year law students. Students are provided with résumé writing and interview tips, and they hear from diverse associates on the practice of law at the firm and within the greater community.

We have supported for more than a decade scholarships for diverse law students at three Twin Cities area law schools.

We educate, empower and promote diversity and inclusion through extensive training throughout the year for both staff and attorneys. We also host an annual Diversity Week.

We support alternative schedule arrangements for attorneys that do not remove an associate from consideration for partnership.

We support a number of pipeline initiatives designed to introduce and support high school students who are interested in legal careers.

We sponsor diversity and inclusion efforts hosted by affinity law student and bar associations throughout our geographic footprint.

RECENT RECOGNITION
For the sixth year in a row, the firm earned the Gold Standard Certification in 2016 from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for integrating women into top leadership positions. Stinson is one of only 31 firms to earn the Gold Standard Certification in 2016.

In 2016 an increased score on the Human Right’s Campaign Corporate Equality Index score of 90 out of 100 in 2016; up from 85 in 2015

Pro Bono View/print this section

For more than a century, our attorneys, paralegals and staff have volunteered time and counsel to help people in need and to make our communities stronger, more resilient, more welcoming places to live and work. We invest our pro bono resources in programs and communities around the country and the world.

PRO BONO INSTITUTE’S LAW FIRM PRO BONO CHALLENGE®

  • We are a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®, pledging to donate 3 percent of total billable hours to pro bono each year.
  • In 2016, the firm exceeded this goal, donating a total of 23,014 pro bono hours worth more than $8 million in free legal services.
  • In 2016, all of our offices and every practice at the firm participated in the pro bono program.
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PARTNERSHIPS

The Deinard Legal Clinic
Over the last 24 years, 2,723 clients from 56 countries around the world have received 112,213 hours of pro bono legal help through the Deinard Legal Clinic, located inside the Community-University Health Care Center in Minneapolis.

 

The Adopt-a-Neighborhood Partnership with the Marlborough Coalition

For eight years, firm attorneys have represented the coalition and its residents to help facilitate compatible new development and redevelopment projects, encourage rehabilitation of the neighborhood’s housing stock through the Abandoned Housing Act and nuisance actions, and restore access to health care, healthy food and recreational spaces.

In the summer of 2016, transactional attorneys in the Minneapolis office teamed up with Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance and the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council to replicate the Marlborough work in the near north and Willard-Hay neighborhoods of north Minneapolis using a grant from the Minnesota Supreme Court to MMLA.

 

FINANCIAL COMMITMENT

In 2016, Stinson was named a “Defender of Justice” for its pledge to donate $275 per attorney per year to Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s 2017-2019 Justice for All Campaign.

The firm co-sponsored its eighth Equal Justice Works Fellow at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and committed to funding its ninth EJW Fellow in fall of 2017 at a new medical legal partnership in Willmar, Minnesota.

HUMAN RIGHTS

The Advocates for Human Rights
In 2016, we logged more than 1,200 hours on 23 different AHR matters, including individual asylum matters, international impact litigation before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and research and advocacy efforts before the United Nations and other international bodies.

The Fight to End Human Trafficking
We are actively engaged in the fight to end labor and sex trafficking. Attorneys and paralegals are representing foreign national and domestic survivors of human trafficking in applying for T visas and, later, legal permanent residence. We also provide assistance with identity theft, expungement, workers’ compensation, name change petitions andother issues. Attorneys in our Denver office are participating in the new ALIGHT (Alliance to Lead Impact in Global Human Trafficking) Legal Needs Matching Project, which is using technology to connect human trafficking survivors to critical legal services in real time.

RECOGNITION

North Star Lawyers—For providing 50 hours or more of pro bono legal services, 87 Minnesota attorneys qualified for this honor in 2016.

Missouri Bar Pro Bono Wall of Fame—For providing 40 hours or more of pro bono legal services, 50 of our Missouri-based attorneys qualified for this honor in 2016.

The Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll—In 2016, five DC attorneys completed more than 50 hours to qualify for the Honor Roll, and another nine completed more than 100 hours to qualify for the High Honor Roll.

Robert C. Welch Volunteer Attorney Project Award—Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s Volunteer Attorney Project selected Partner Robin Carlson to receive the 2016 award for her pro bono work on behalf of school children in matters involving special education and student discipline.

Missouri Bar Pro Bono Publico Award and the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Gerald R. Ortbals Outstanding Law Practice Award—For legal services provided to low income individuals, victims of domestic violence, and parents and guardians, our St. Louis office was honored with these two awards in 2016.

The Advocates for Human Rights’ Volunteer Award—A team of attorneys from the firm’s St. Louis and Washington, DC offices received this award for their work documenting the Ethiopian government’s use of lethal force to respond to the peaceful protests of minority students.

Faculty of Federal Advocates’ Pro Bono AwardsFive attorneys and the firm’s Denver office were honored for their participation in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado’s Civil Pro Bono Panel Program and for their work on behalf of federal pro se prisoners.

National Client Strategies Board View/print this section

With the goal of growing and developing the firm in a way that best serves the needs of its clients in a rapidly changing legal marketplace, we announced the formation of the firm’s National Client Strategies Board. The board includes partners from the firm’s 13 offices who will engage with many of the firm’s clients and other market leaders across a variety of industries to develop innovative ways to align the firm with the evolving legal needs of businesses. Todd Noteboom, a nationally known litigator and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, will serve as chair.

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Noteboom and the other members of the National Client Strategies Board will use client and industry leader feedback to inform important firm decisions on such key issues as lateral recruiting, investments in new markets and practice areas, technological advancements and innovations, and new methods of legal service delivery.

“Lawyers tend to prefer the status quo and, when they do consider change, often make decisions about their firms in an insular way that does not involve the clients,” Noteboom said. “This initiative will go much further than client interviews and feedback. The program focuses on partnering with our clients, making meaningful changes in how we do business, and allocating our resources to better serve the firm’s clients.” The goal is more focused collaboration and communication among the firm’s practice areas and industry groups, as well as improving the quality and efficiency of client service throughout the firm’s eight-state footprint.

The National Client Strategies Board is an integral part of the firm’s strategic plan, which, among other components, identifies opportunities to form deeper client relationships through consistent delivery of high-quality, value-based legal services. “The needs of our clients are changing all the time. In order for our law firm to continue to thrive, we need to listen carefully to our clients, work more diligently to collaborate for their benefit, and look for innovative ways to deliver the high quality and efficient legal services they expect.” said Mark Hinderks, Stinson’s managing partner. “Todd is the perfect choice to spearhead this program. Borrowing on his experience and leadership, we plan to be ahead of the curve on this one.”

Todd Noteboom, Partner in Minneapolis