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Mike Rosow
Mike Rosow

Breaking the Ice: Seeing opportunity, precedent in Petters case

Name: Mike Rosow

Title: Shareholder, Winthrop & Weinstine

Education: B.A., government and mathematics, University of Redlands; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Mike Rosow didn’t wait for opportunity to knock. Rosow, then a senior associate, instead rushed to knock on a partner’s door when he heard that Winthrop & Weinstine would be local counsel for a hedge fund that lost $323 million in Tom Petters’ Ponzi scheme.

More than a decade later, Rosow and Winthrop & Weinstine have represented multiple parties in “claw back” suits from trustee dealing with Petters’ bankruptcy liquidation.

Rosow welcomed the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ Sept. 14 reversal on behalf of clients Steve Papadimos and his wife, Chris Kanios, a prosecutor and physician, respectively, in Ohio.

The 8th Circuit set a precedent in rejecting the presumption that transactions related to a Ponzi scheme are irrefutably fraudulent, Rosow said. It did so as well in ruling that the federal prejudgment interest rate of about 1% a year rather than the state’s 10% rate applies to fraudulent transfers.

“We’re super-excited about the first ruling,” Rosow said. “I think the more significant, long-term importance of the case is going to be that second portion.”

Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A: I’m pretty direct and to the point. So just being direct and to the point about what’s going on and what’s on your mind is the best way.

Q: Why did you study law and pursue it as a career?

A: My father was a lawyer. He just retired at the end of 2019. He for 40 years was outside city counsel for the city of Eden Prairie and other municipalities. … The things that he was able to do, the way that he was able to live his life, were really important and really inspirational to me.

Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A: “Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero” about a unique brand of ultra-racing, running more than 26 miles but with a donkey alongside.

Q: What do you like best about your work?

A: Most clients that I work with are relatively sophisticated commercial entities. They have sophisticated work that is intellectually challenging and interesting. They’re typically very nice people as well.

Q: What do you like doing away from work?

A: I have a teenager and an almost-teenager, boys, so we do quite a bit of stuff with their school, their sporting activities and their Scouting. I spend way too much time running, biking and swimming.

Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A: I live in Minneapolis right by the lakes, so I would take people to Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska and the parks and beautiful green spaces that we have.

Q: Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you most admire—and why?

A: My father: The commitment that he had to his clients, the way that his clients spoke about him. We had his retirement party and client after client talked about the way that he impacted their lives, the way that he provided guidance that allowed their business to flourish. … The way that he did it with class and respect and dignity is something that I’ve lived up to and tried to model myself on.

Q: What’s a misconception people have about working as an attorney?

A: My group works with a lot of lending clients in connection with bad loans. So we get the misperception that we’re evil debt collectors. … What we really try to do is work with the lender and the borrower to facilitate a resolution … that returns a return to the lender who had lent money but provides the borrower with a way out of that situation.

Q: What’s your favorite depiction of the law or the legal profession in popular culture?

A: “My Cousin Vinny” and Joe Pesci, particularly his blue tuxedo and his treatment of his fiancee as a hostile witness.

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