Taft Minneapolis Announces Leadership Change: Ryan to focus on client development & recruiting, Weinberg advances on leadership track

Taft Law’s Minneapolis Partner-in-Charge Steven J. Ryan will transition his office-level leadership responsibilities to Taft Partner Justin Weinberg, effective Jan. 1, 2021. Ryan will remain active on the firm-wide executive committee, in other firm-wide leadership activities and initiatives, and will make a strategic shift of focus toward expanding client relationships and recruiting top legal talent to Taft.  

“Five years ago, Briggs and Morgan decided to build on its outstanding 140-year history by transforming itself into a bigger, more dominant, regional firm that had all of the resources necessary to continue providing excellent service to its growing and expanding client base. I am happy to report that we accomplished that goal in January 2020 when Briggs and Morgan joined forces with Taft. After nearly 20 years in various Minneapolis leadership roles, now is the time for me to focus on firm-wide leadership initiatives and developing and expanding our outstanding and highly-valued client base in Minneapolis and the firm at large,” said Ryan. 

Ryan accepted his first leadership position as a section head in 2003 and has held various positions ever since, including chairing key committees and ultimately leading Briggs and Morgan through the combination with Taft.  

Developing a robust pipeline of future leaders at all levels of the organization has been a deliberate and thoughtful strategy and process for Taft. Weinberg is a key member of Taft’s next generation of leaders, and he has earned considerable respect within the firm through his service on Taft’s executive committee and the key role he played during the combination to build portions of the business case and align attorney compensation and partner capital structures. 

“Leadership development is a top priority at Taft. Across the entire firm, we are tailoring strategies and launching programs focused on identifying and coaching future leaders. Justin is clearly one of those leaders – and he is the right person to follow Steve’s footsteps in leading Taft’s largest office. During the next chapter of Steve’s career, engaging in firm-wide leadership initiatives, client service, business development and lawyer recruitment are the highest and best uses of his time,” shared Taft’s Chairman and Managing Partner Robert J. Hicks.  

Weinberg led a two-year renovation of the Taft Minneapolis office, which spanned 93,000 square feet across four floors in the IDS Center. The project, which required a full demolition of the space, was designed to optimize collaboration with clients and among Taft colleagues. The state-of-the-art renovation is a reflection of Taft’s modern law firm brand.

“At Taft, we constantly challenge ourselves to reimagine how we deliver outstanding client service and how we position the firm and our attorneys to serve as the trusted advisor to our clients in an ever-changing marketplace. For me, that means collaborating with Taft’s practice areas, fellow partners-in-charge, and operations teams to chart a course built on integrity, servant leadership and innovation,” said Weinberg. 

Weinberg serves as outside general counsel to a variety of clients and industries; however, the majority of his work arises from real estate development and construction. In addition, he serves many clients in the areas of liquor licensing and regulatory issues and hospitality. During the 2008 recession, he shifted his focus to representing banks and institutional lenders in workouts, lender liability, and foreclosures – a practice he continues to maintain. A frequent guest lecturer, Weinberg is often requested to present on industry topics relating to commercial real estate, commercial foreclosures, and agribusiness, among other topics. He graduated St. Cloud State University with a B.A., magna cum laude, and earned his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. 

Ryan is a noted practitioner in the areas of banking and finance, capital markets and real estate. He regularly represents mezzanine funds and other junior capital providers in connection with their debt and equity investments, including unitranche and second-lien financings. Additionally, he counsels professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Wild on real estate, financing and other related projects. He regularly represents real estate industry clients, including public and private real estate investment trusts (REITs), in connection with financings and other capital markets transactions. Ryan received his B.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He received his law degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.

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