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People & Practices: July 19, 2021

Kristine McKinney

Kristine McKinney

Fish & Richardson has named Kristine McKinney to be its new chief operating officer. McKinney replaces current COO Richard J. Anderson, who served in the role for the past eight years and is stepping away as part of a planned succession.

McKinney has been with Fish since 2016, previously serving as the firm’s first chief legal talent and inclusion officer. Under her leadership, the firm has lived its values, naming its most diverse class of principals ever in 2021 and being selected as a Best Law Firm for Women for the fourth consecutive year by Seramount (formerly Working Mother Media) in June. As COO, McKinney will oversee business operations of the firm’s 14 offices in the U.S., Europe, and China.

Anderson, a former longtime member of Fish’s management committee and former head of the firm’s patent group, will remain at the firm as a senior principal, focused initially on supporting the COO transition. “Kristine brings tremendous vision and experience to this important role, and I cannot think of a more qualified person to assume this position,” said Anderson.

“Kristine has ideal qualities to guide our firm forward as the legal industry continues to evolve,” said John C. Adkisson, president and chief executive officer of Fish. “She understands how to improve operational effectiveness in a manner that serves larger strategic goals. Maybe more importantly, she inspires people at all levels of the firm.”

Before joining Fish, McKinney held multiple leadership positions at the Am Law 100 law firms Faegre Baker Daniels and Kirkland & Ellis. Among other responsibilities, she managed diversity initiatives at both firms and directed professional development at Faegre. She is a sought-after speaker on organizational effectiveness, change management, leadership, and diversity. McKinney received her M.S. in learning & organizational change from Northwestern University and her B.A. from the University of Minnesota.


Sara Sidwell

Sara Sidwell

Maslon LLP has added Partner Sara Sidwell to the law firm’s Labor & Employment Group. Sidwell brings extensive experience representing and advising both large and small employers in all aspects of employment law.

Sidwell’s expertise includes discrimination and harassment claims, disability and leave management, workplace investigations, workforce reductions, employment contracts, wage and hours compliance, background checks and FCRA compliance, performance management, noncompete agreements and restrictive covenants, commission agreements and claims, OSHA and safety issues, workers’ compensation, and whistleblower claims. As both a skilled counselor and litigator, Sidwell specializes in working with clients to manage workplace issues proactively and efficiently.

With over 10 years’ experience in private practice, as well as six years spent in-house at two large, multistate employers, Sidwell emphasizes a collaborative approach with clients. She ensures that she understands clients’ business needs and how the client defines success, and crafts strategies that are consistent with clients’ goals. Sidwell is a seasoned counselor, partnering with and providing practical and strategic advice to human resources, in-house legal teams, and business leaders across a broad range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, transportation, retail, and health care.

Sidwell earned her J.D. and B.A. degrees from the University of Iowa.


Jonathan B. Vessey

Jonathan B. Vessey

Attorney Jonathan B. Vessey has joined Fredrikson & Byron as a shareholder in the Private Equity and Mergers & Acquisitions Groups. Vessey represents clients in private equity investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and corporate governance.

Vessey has extensive experience representing private equity firms, family offices, venture capital firms and privately held industry leaders. In his private equity practice, he represents private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and governance, and negotiates side letters for fund investors.

Vessey also has access to an extensive network in the representations and warranties insurance policy industry, which he uses to assist financial and strategic buyers in obtaining and negotiating such policies for their acquisition transactions. In 2020, he negotiated and bound in excess of 20 such policies for transactional clients.

In addition to closing multiple private equity and venture capital transactions each year, Vessey has represented family offices and pension funds in investing billions of dollars as limited partners of investment funds. He also advises clients in complex structured investment transactions, joint ventures, entity formation and purchase of non-standard securitizable assets.

Prior to practicing law in Minnesota, Vessey spent more than a decade at a prominent firm in New York. In between stints at that firm, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English in Chad. He lived in Benin and Morocco and managed the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative’s pediatric anti-retroviral programs in 13 countries in West and Central Africa. He currently serves of the Board of Directors of the Alliance Francaise of Minneapolis/St. Paul, a local cultural non-profit, and acts as the organization’s legal counsel.


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