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Mahesha Subbaraman

2019 Up & Coming Attorneys: Mahesha Subbaraman

If he achieves nothing else in his career, a Mahesha Subbaraman amicus brief has the distinction of prompting Chief Justice John Roberts to reference the 1986 comedy, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” from the bench in a civil liberties case. ­

That’s hardly his only achievement. He’s fairly confident that the appeal he filed for Public Record Media to shake loose Minnesota’s Amazon HQ2 bid was a prime catalyst behind its ultimate release.

“Realizations don’t often happen by magic,” the appellate defender said. “­They happen because an issue has been brought into the public spotlight.”

­The University of Minnesota Law School alum served stints at both Robins Kaplan and the Institute for Justice before establishing his solo practice in 2015. Since then, he has built a solid reputation as civil liberties and right-to-know champion. He is among the leading legal voices on the state’s Government Data Practices Act and knows a thing or two about the federal Freedom of Information Act, as well.

“In both of those instances, the ability of the governed to hold their political leaders accountable through access to government and agency information is crucial,” he said.

Like any attorney, Subbaraman takes his fair share of paying cases. But what energizes him, he said, is the not-so-lucrative work that challenges government to do what it should. His career goal, he said, is to become a “top-notch Supreme Court litigator,” at both the state and federal levels.

“­The reason why I do the paying work,” he said, “is so that whenever there’s someone whose rights have been trampled on, or someone who is making a reasonable request that either the government or the court system is simply not listening to, I can make that person’s voice heard.”

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