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The POWER 30: Thomas H. Boyd

Minnesota Lawyer//October 27, 2022

Thomas H. Boyd, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

Thomas H. Boyd, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

The POWER 30: Thomas H. Boyd

Minnesota Lawyer//October 27, 2022

One of the early influences in Thomas Boyd’s life was a professor from the University of Minnesota whom he followed to the University of Iowa, where she taught the philosophy of science. He went on to study philosophy as an undergraduate and graduate student.

Boyd, a shareholder at Winthrop and Weinstine, P.A., also earned a J.D. from Iowa, where he was a law review editor. He went on to clerk at the 8th Circuit for Judge Donald P. Lay and in the Southern District of Iowa for Judge Ronald Longstaff, then moved into the practice of law as both an appellate and trial lawyer.

He started at Oppenheimer & Co., forming Winthrop with colleagues there in 1989. There was amazing opportunity for young lawyers to do great work early, Boyd said. He said he continues to be a generalist, doing commercial litigation and “any kind of appellate work I can get ahold of.”

In 2020 Boyd achieved a significant result in the 8th Circuit on behalf of two people who had invested a large amount of money in the Tom Petters Ponzi scheme but got out early and were unaware of the fraud. The court turned back the trustee’s clawback claim.

Boyd also was one of the attorneys representing Enbridge Energy in the recent controversy over replacement Line 3 where the Minnesota Court of Appeals earlier this year affirmed the Public Utilities Commission in allowing the project to go ahead.

Boyd is chair of the firm’s pro bono committee and its program to provide pro bono lawyers for unemployment compensation appeals. He has been involved in the U.S. District Court’s current initiative, Minnesota Justice & Democracy Centers, providing education for the public — including school-age children — on the rule of law and the judiciary.

Boyd is also the chair of the Board of Law Examiners Comprehensive Competency Committee, which is studying possible alternatives to the bar exam as it is currently administered. A national effort is underway to evaluate the exam, which is criticized for testing memorization and not real lawyering skills, Boyd said. Many argue that it has a disparate, negative impact on scores of students with lesser resources or opportunities.

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