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In-House Counsel: Sebastian Stewart

Sebastian Stewart has seen the practice of law from both sides now. After a decade in private practice, he joined the Minnesota attorney general’s office, and in 2009 joined the state Department of Human Services. It’s there that he’s found a home.
“I get a lot more satisfaction from the public sector,” said Stewart. “It’s awe-inspiring to see how many people and programs this office touches.”
Stewart currently leads the department’s contract service, developing contracts that protect the public and program beneficiaries, and ensuring that the contracts are legally enforceable, provide clear vendor duties whose performance can be measured, and that reduce the state’s risk exposure.
In 2018, his first as director of the Contracts Office, he increased the Contracts Office’s capacity 66 percent by hiring additional legal staff. He also implemented procedures to strengthen partnerships within DHS and with other state agencies, resulting in a greater understanding of how contracts affect DHS programs and services.
Stewart sees himself as a Minnesotan first, meaning he puts the state’s welfare at the top of his to-do list. He recently worked on a $35 million contract with a Fortune 500 company that brought his knowledge and finesse to bear.
“We were able to reach a mutual agreement on a number of important issues that we had been somewhat apart on,” he said. “Those types of contracts are very gratifying for us.”

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