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People & Practices: Nov. 15, 2021

Best & Flanagan has added two partners and three associates to its expanding intellectual property, corporate and litigation practices.


Martha J. Engel

Martha J. Engel counsels clients on all matters related to intellectual property, including clearing trademarks, drafting and prosecuting patent applications, obtaining and enforcing trademark rights, and conducting due diligence reviews regarding intellectual property in corporate transactions such as M&A. She was recognized as an Up & Coming Attorney (2018) by Minnesota Lawyer. Engel joins the firm from a global medical device company, where she served as general counsel with extensive experience in employment issues, data privacy, contract review, M&A, and other corporate activities.


Joshua A. Bobich

Joshua A. Bobich advises owner-managed businesses, both closely held and family-owned, on mergers, acquisitions, corporate governance, succession planning, shareholder buyouts and a variety of other matters. Bobich is a board member of First Tee-Minnesota, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people by promoting character development through the game of golf. He joins the firm from Ballard Spahr.


Michael A. Stephani

Michael A. Stephani represents a wide array of clients facing various types of creditor-side bankruptcy issues including adversary litigation, reliefs from stay, preference litigation, challenges to discharge, and claim objections. He has assisted creditors in obtaining payment through Chapter 11 restructuring plans, and has recovered millions of dollars for his clients through collection actions. As a former business owner, Stephani uses creativity and pragmatism in his approach to each client’s needs. He joins the firm from Dykema Gossett PLLC.

John J. Hilt

John J. Hilt joins Best & Flanagan as a Business & Corporate Law Associate. Prior to beginning his legal career, Hilt worked as an accountant for several years and served as a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army. He uses his accounting background to assist clients in a variety of transactional and governance matters.

Kristin T. Trapp

Kristin T. Trapp supports the firm’s Employment Litigation and Family Law practice groups as an associate. She leverages her business background in understanding clients’ evolving legal needs. Kristin also provides pro bono legal services with the Advocates for Human Rights, representing clients in immigration and asylum matters.




DeWitt LLP has added James Todd as a partner in the firm’s Family Law practice group in its Minneapolis office.

Todd assists clients with a variety of issues incident to the dissolution of complex marital estates, including closely held business valuations, post-decree spousal maintenance modifications, jurisdictional issues, and contested custody disputes. Todd has successfully tried and argued cases at the district court level and at the Minnesota Court of Appeals and has been selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star since 2019.

He earned his J.D./MBA, cum laude, from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, and his B.A. from William and Mary.  He is admitted to practice in Minnesota.


Fredrikson & Byron has added six associates:

Lynn A. Baldus

Lynn A. Baldus has joined Fredrikson & Byron as an associate in the Corporate & SecuritiesCorporate Governance and Mergers & Acquisitions Groups. Baldus provides advice to clients regarding governance, mergers and acquisitions, entity formation, business succession planning and related matters. Baldus has worked with businesses ranging from family farms to multistate corporations.


Luke P. de Leon

Luke P. de Leon has joined Fredrikson & Byron as an associate in the Intellectual Property Litigation and Litigation Groups. As an intellectual property litigator, de Leon advises clients on a wide range of issues, including patent, copyright, and trademark disputes. Prior to joining Fredrikson, de Leon served as a law clerk for Justice Natalie E. Hudson of the Minnesota Supreme Court and as a judicial intern for Judge Stephani Humrickhouse of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina.


Navita T. Lakhram

Navita T. Lakhram has joined Fredrikson & Byron as an associate in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group. Lakhram’s practice focuses on assisting clients with mergers, acquisitions and general corporate matters. Prior to joining Fredrikson, Lakhram was an associate at another Twin Cities law firm, practicing in the areas of employment law, wills, trusts & estates, corporate governance, and business transactions. Before that, she worked in-house at a Twin Cities based hair salon franchisor, where she implemented compliance programs, and negotiated lease terms with a national retailer. Lakhram is an adjunct professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Fredrikson’s appointed Representative to the Emerging Leaders Group  of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, and the co-chair of the Partner Leadership Council of Minnesota Women Lawyers.

Michelle S. Fitch

Michelle S. Fitch has joined Fredrikson & Byron as an associate in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group. She represents clients with mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters. Fitch is a transactional attorney whose expertise ranges from managing due diligence on buy and sell-side asset and equity transactions, through preparing transaction documents, to business formation and advising businesses on corporate governance matters and preparing corporate governance documents. She also has significant experience advising multistate businesses on employment policies and wage and hour laws, drafting employee handbooks and advising businesses on the latest requirements and guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aaron C. Nyquist

Aaron C. Nyquist has joined Fredrikson & Byron as an associate in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group. He is a corporate attorney who leverages his global experience to help clients solve multi-jurisdictional legal questions and close complex transactions across the world. Nyquist focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, financing, and international business transactions. He has experience as both in-house counsel and an outside adviser and has litigated cross-border IP disputes, advised on U.S. commodity futures laws, and executed complicated multi-step transactions over different time zones.


Wayne M. Spangler

Wayne M. Spangler has joined Fredrikson & Byron as an associate in the Debt FinanceBank & FinancePrivate Equity, and Mergers & Acquisitions Groups. Spangler represents various bank and non-bank lenders, as well as corporate and private equity borrowers, in a wide variety of debt finance transactions. He has significant experience representing lenders in various commercial finance transactions, including acquisition financings, real estate loans, construction loans, asset-based loans, lines of credit, and government guaranteed transactions (SBA and USDA). He has assisted clients with structuring, documenting, and closing hundreds of commercial finance transactions nationwide. Spangler also has experience representing private equity groups and corporate borrowers in various commercial finance transactions.


Fredrikson & Byron has been named a 2021 Compass Award winner by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), recognizing those law firms and corporations showing a strong commitment to building more diverse organizations and a more inclusive legal profession. The Compass Award recognizes those individuals and organizations that fulfill all of the following requirements in a single calendar year:

  • Member attendance at the 2020 LCLD Annual Membership Meeting and/or Member attendance at a 2021 Leadership Summit and/or submission of a Leader’s Pledge.
  • Participation in the LCLD Fellows and Pathfinder Programs.
  • Participation in an LCLD Pipeline program (the 1L Scholars program or the Success in Law School Mentoring Program).

LCLD is one of the nation’s leading organizations promoting diversity and consists of more than 350 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners—the leadership of the profession—who have dedicated themselves to creating a truly diverse U.S. legal profession.

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