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John A. Knapp

Shareholder
p (612) 604-6404   f (612) 604-6804 
Education
University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., with distinction, 1974
Saint John's University, B.A., Government, 1971
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Experience
John Knapp is a shareholder in the Minneapolis law firm of Winthrop & Weinstine, where he chairs the firm’s Legislative and Regulatory Practice Group. He represents clients before the Minnesota Legislature and before federal, state and local regulatory agencies in insurance, energy, tax, transportation, environmental, and financial services matters. John received his undergraduate degree from St. John’s University and his law degree, with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law.

John was named in The Best Lawyers in America© as “Minneapolis Administrative Regulatory Lawyer of the Year” for 2014 and “Minneapolis Government Relations Practice Lawyer of the Year” for 2012. He was recognized as one of the “75 Most Influential People in the Twin Cities” by Minnesota Monthly in 2012 and was named one of the “100 Minnesotans You Should Know” by Twin Cities Business in 2013. The Minnesota State Bar Association in 2014 recognized John as a “North Star Lawyer” for his pro bono service.

Representative professional engagements include:

  • Representation of a major pulp and paper manufacturer in regard to tax and economic development incentives, and environmental review and permitting for the $630 million expansion and modernization of its pulp and paper facilities in International Falls, Minnesota;
  • Representation of the Mayo Clinic in the passage in 2013 of legislation authorizing up to $585 million in state and local funding to make Mayo’s home in Rochester, Minnesota a Destination Medical Center;
  • In 2007 and 2008, John served as General Counsel to the Host Committee for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul and Minneapolis, which raised almost $60 million to provide community assistance and support to the Convention;
  • Representation of Minnesota professional sports teams in connection with public financing of professional basketball, football and baseball venues.
  • For more than 20 years, he has served as legal counsel to Minnesota Business Partnership, an organization composed of the CEOs of Minnesota's 100 largest corporations.

In his legal practice, John has represented Minnesota Native American Tribes, including the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the Prairie Island Indian Community, in matters related to treaty rights, financial institutions, gaming, energy and environment. John also practices in the area of campaign finance, ethics, and election law, representing businesses and nonprofit associations.

Active in the American Bar Association, John currently serves as the Chair of Government Affairs Practice Committee of the ABA’s Business Law Section. He has also served as the Chair of the Insurance Regulation and the Corporate Counsel Committees of the Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the ABA.

John represents his firm at State Law Resources, where he is a member of the SLR Board of Directors, and chaired SLR’s Insurance Practice Group. He was also admitted into membership of the Federation of Regulatory Counsel, a national organization of insurance regulatory lawyers. John served as President and Board Member of the Minnesota Governmental Relations Council and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Public Affairs Council, a national organization of public affairs professionals.

John has been active in law firm governance, having served several terms on the Board of Directors of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., and has been actively involved in firm committees, including the Compensation, Pro Bono and Diversity Committees.

John is also active in the community, and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota and North Dakota, The Nature Conservancy for Minnesota and the Dakotas, and Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities. At Catholic Charities, he serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the Dorothy Day Center Task Force, charged with securing a new homeless shelter in downtown St. Paul. He serves on the President’s Advisory Council for Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul and in 2014 was recognized with the “Eugene and Mary Frey Community Award” from that institution.


Appointments

Governor's Rules Reform Task Force
—Appointed by Governor Ventura, October 2002

Bar Admissions
Iowa Supreme Court
Minnesota Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
 
Professional Involvement
  • American Bar Association
    • Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS)
      • Chair, Insurance Regulation Committee, 2004-2005
      • Chair, Corporate Counsel Committee, 2008-2009
    • Business Law Section
      • Chair, Government Affairs Practice Committee, 2012-2015
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
    • Leadership positions – Administrative Law Section, Public Utilities Section
  • Ramsey County Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Public Affairs Council
    • Director, 2003-present
  • Minnesota Governmental Relations Council
    • President, 1993-1994
    • Director and Executive Committee Member, 1990-1995
  • Mortgage Association of Minnesota
    • Chair, Law Committee, 1984-1989
  • Federation of Regulatory Counsel
  • Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence
    • Board of Directors, 1998-2011
  • Minnesota Forest Industries, Inc.
    • Chair, Government Relations Committee, 1997-2003
  • State Law Resources, Inc.
    • Director, 2008-2012 and 2014-present
    • Chair, Insurance Practice Group, 2007-2014
  • University of Minnesota Law School – Institute for Law and Politics
    • Advisory Board, 2007-2009
  • University of St Thomas Law Mentor Externship Program, 2002-Present
  • William Mitchell College of Law Mentorship Program, 2004-2007

Community Involvement

  • Citizens League
  • Cretin-Derham Hall
    • President's Advisory Council, 2005-present
    • Eugene and Mary Frey Community Award, 2014
  • Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities
    • Director, 2012-2016
    • Executive Committee Member, 2013-present
    • Chair, Advocacy and Community Relations Committee, 2013-present
    • Chair, Dorothy Day Center Task Force, 2013-present 
  • The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota and the Dakotas
    • Director, 2014-present
  • The Alzheimer's Association of Minnesota and North Dakota
    • Director, 2014-present

Honors & Awards
  • MSBA North Star Lawyer for Pro Bono Service, 2013
  • "The 75 Most Influential People in the Twin Cities," Minnesota Monthly, February 2013
  • "The Black Book: 100 Minnesotans You Should Know," Twin Cities Business, December 2012
  •  The Best Lawyers in America©, 2007-2015
    • "Minneapolis Best Lawyers Administrative/Regulatory Lawyer of the Year," 2014
    • "Minneapolis Best Lawyers Government Relations Practice Lawyer of the Year," 2012
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers®, 2004-2014
  • Ranked as “AV Preeminent” in LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review ratings
  • Top five lobbyists in the state, St. Paul Legal Ledger, 1998
  • Chosen as one of the state's top lobbyists, Minnesota Law & Politics, 2000
John has authored numerous articles and regularly speaks on a range of topics.

Articles
Qtd. Richert, Catharine. "Tougher disclosure rules dropped from campaign finance bill." MPR News. 20 May 2013.

Qtd. Richert, Catharine. "Minn. campaign board may ask for more power over political ads." MPR News. 11 December 2012.

Qtd. Shaw, Charley. “Rising GOP tide lifted some lobbyists’ boats.” Politics in Minnesota. 15 Jun. 2011.

Qtd. "Dayton's Cabinet: A Bargaining Chip?" Politics in Minnesota: The Weekly Report (22 Apr. 2011).

Co-author. "Minnesota Responds to Citizens United." Newsletter of the ABA Business Law Section Committee on Government Affairs Practice. Vol. 1, Issue 3. (Summer 2010).
Republished:
  • ABA Business Law Section's Business Law Today. 28 Oct. 2010.

Co-author. "The Hatch Act: It's Not Just for Federal Employees Anymore." Newsletter of the ABA Business Law Section Committee on Government Affairs Practice 1 (Fall 2009).
Republished:
  • Newsletter of the ABA Business Law Section. Mar. 2010.
     

Author. "Recent Developments in Insurance Regulation.” Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal Vol. 39 No. 2 (Winter 2004).
 
Author. "State Initiatives in Rulemaking Reform (1995-200).” FORC Quarterly Journal of Insurance Law and Regulation Vol. XII Edition IV (2 Dec. 2000).
 
Author. "Regulatory Reform: The States Lead the Way.” FORC Quarterly Journal of Insurance Law and Regulation Vol. VII Edition VI (1 Dec. 1995).
 
Author. "Minnesota Foreclosure Relief Act: How it Works.” 1 Minn. Real Est. L. J. 190 (1983).
 
Presentations
Moderator. "Campaign Finance Update for the Business Lawyer." American Bar Association Business Law Section Annual Meeting. 11 Sept. 2014.

Speaker. "Getting Engaged Without Breaking the Law." Minnesota Business Partnership. 20 Aug. 2014.

Panelist. "Shining the Light on Money: Campaign Finance and the Need for More Disclosure." Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Minneapolis, MN. 19 February 2014.

Moderator. "Transparency in Political Activity." American Bar Association Business Law Section Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL. 3 Aug. 2012.

Speaker. "There's an Election Coming! What Corporate Counsel Need to Know About Political Law." Hennepin County Bar Association. Live Webcast. 19 Jan. 2012.

Speaker. "Lobbying for a Successful Transaction: Government Affairs to Impact the Regulatory Setting and as a Mergers and Acquisition Tool." American Bar Association Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. 8 Aug. 2010.

Program Chair & Moderator. “Citizens United v. FEC: An Overhaul of Campaign Finance Laws.” American Bar Association, Business Law Section Spring Meeting. Denver, CO. 23 Apr. 2010. Panel.

Speaker.  "The Basics – Laws Governing Candidates and Campaign Finance." How to Run for Office Series. Minnesota Association of Realtors’, Minneapolis. 20 Aug. 2009.

Speaker. "Recent Developments in the Life Settlement Industry.” TIPS Mid-Winter CLE. American Bar Association.  Bonita Springs, FL. 15 Jan. 2009.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 19 Dec. 2008.
 
Course Chair & Speaker. "Annuity Suitability Under the Microscope.” ABA Annual Meeting, Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section.  American Bar Association. 8 Aug. 2008.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 15 Feb. 2008.
 
Speaker. "Emerging Litigation and Regulatory Developments in Insurance Law - A Symposium."  Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section.  American Bar Association. 8 Nov. 2007.
 
Speaker. “The Republican National Convention is Coming to Town.” Minnesota Governmental Relations Council. 22 Aug. 2007.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 12 Jan. 2007.
 
Speaker. “Campaign Finance Laws: Legal Constraints on Corporate Political Activity in Minnesota.” Minnesota Governmental Relations Council. 1 Sept. 2006.
 
Course Chair & Speaker. "It's Not Elementary, My Dear Watson: Undercover Investigations, Attorney/Client Privilege, and Other Legal and Ethical Issues.” ABA Annual Meeting. Honolulu, HI.  5 Aug. 2006.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 6 Jan. 2006.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 14 Jan. 2005.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 23 Jan. 2004.
 
Speaker. “Legislative Update 2003.” Minnesota Institute of Legal Education. 27 Jun 2003.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 10 Jan. 2003.
 
Speaker. “Code of Ethics.” Minnesota Governmental Relations Council. 15 Nov. 2002.
 
Speaker. “Legislative Update 2002.” Minnesota Institute of Legal Education. 4 June 2002.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 11 Jan. 2002.
 
Speaker. “Lobbyist and PAC Reporting Update.” Minnesota Governmental Relations Council. 17 Oct. 2001.
 
Speaker. “Legislative Update 2001.” Minnesota Institute of Legal Education. 13 June 2001.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 12 Jan. 2001.
 
Speaker. "Strategies for Productive Dealings with Regulatory Agencies."  Public Affairs Council. Washington, D.C. 4-5 Jan. 2001.
 
Speaker. “2000 Administrative Law Update and Professionalism Aspirations: The Civility Wars.” Minnesota State Bar Association. 28 June 2000.
 
Speaker. “Legislative Update 2000.” Minnesota Institute of Legal Education. 8 June 2000.
 
Speaker. "Legal Constraints on Corporate Political Activity in Minnesota."  Public Affairs Council.  4 Feb. 2000.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 12 Jan. 2000.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 29 Jan. 1999.
 
Speaker. “Lobbying 101: Practical Lobbying Tips and 1999 Legislative Preview.” Minnesota State Bar Association. 16 Dec. 1998.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Advanced Minnesota Legislative Process Seminar.” Minnesota CLE. 19 Dec. 1997.
 
Speaker. “Annual School Law Conference.” Minnesota CLE. 14 Nov. 1997.
 
Speaker. “6th Annual Seminar on Campaign Finance Law.” Minnesota Governmental Relations Council. 23 Oct. 1997.
 
Speaker. “What’s Next? Telephone and Electric Competition in Minnesota.” Minnesota CLE. 10 Jan. 1997.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “Minnesota Legislative Process II.” Minnesota CLE. 13 Dec. 1996.
 
Speaker. “1996 Administrative Law Update.” Minnesota CLE. 20 June 1996.
 
Speaker. “Lobbyist Law Seminar.” Minnesota Governmental Relations Council. 11 June 1996.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “The Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 15 Dec. 1995.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. Administrative Procedures Act Reform. Minnesota CLE. 15 Aug. 1995.
 
Speaker. “1995 Administrative Law Update.” Minnesota CLE. 22 June 1995.
 
Speaker. “Legislative Update 1995.” Minnesota Institute of Legal Education. 22 June 1995.
 
Speaker. "Lobbying the New Congress."  American Bar Association. Washington, D.C. 3 Mar. 1995.
 
Course co-chair & Speaker. “The Minnesota Legislative Process.” Minnesota CLE. 13 Dec. 1994.
 
Speaker. “Gifts to Public Officials.” Minnesota CLE. 22 July 1994.
 
Speaker. “Legislative Update 1994.” Minnesota Institute of Legal Education. 16 June 1994.
 
Speaker. “Managing the Inside/Outside Counsel Relationship.” Minnesota State Bar Association. 16 Oct. 1990.
 
Speaker. “Mortgages and Contracts for Deed.” Minnesota CLE. 16-17 Oct. 1985.

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