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Of Counsel

John A. Knapp

Government can seem like a mysterious black box. We help clients open it.

My Approach

Government affects all of us in one way or another, and affects businesses in more ways than most. I help corporate clients, business associations, non-profit organizations, Indian tribes and others as they interact with federal, state and local government, regulatory agencies, the legislature or courts. Together, we work to anticipate issues that may arise, as well as shape and influence public policy on matters of concern to each client. In some cases that may mean actually changing the law, and ushering clients through the legislative process. In others, it can be representing them in enforcement actions by regulatory agencies, city councils or county boards. I work with organizations in the healthcare, insurance, transportation, natural resources, energy and telecommunications industries, among others, all with an eye toward helping them control their own destinies.

I was brought up believing that it was important to be involved in my community, so the matters closest to my heart are those economic development issues where we work to build something that will have a lasting impact. In 2017, I worked with the Catholic Charities to co-chair the task force to build a new Dorothy Day homeless center in downtown St. Paul. I try to take a front-row seat in seeing my community thrive and grow, whether applauding a local theater production or working in the garden at home.

Practice Areas

Honors & Awards

MSBA North Star Lawyer

Pro Bono Service, 2013-2014

"The 10 Most Influential Lobbyists in Minnesota"

City Pages, January 20, 2010

"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©

Minneapolis Lawyer of the Year: Administrative/Regulatory Law, 2014
Minneapolis Lawyer of the Year: Government Relations Practice, 2012, 2016, 2019
Minneapolis Lawyer of the Year, Insurance Law, 2021
Administrative/Regulatory Law, 2010-2021
Government Relations Practice, 2008-2021
Insurance Law, 2007-2021

Minnesota Super Lawyers®


AV Preeminent

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, Peer review ratings

"Top five lobbyists in the state"

St. Paul Legal Ledger, 1998

Top Minnesota lobbyist

Minnesota Law & Politics, 2000

Associations & Memberships

American Bar Association; Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS)

Chair, Insurance Regulation Committee, 2004-2005
Chair, Corporate Counsel Committee, 2008-2009

American Bar Association, 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, 2003-2017

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 School Mentor Externship Program


William Mitchell College of Law Mentorship Program


Governor's Rules Reform Task Force

Appointed by Governor Ventura, October 2002

The Guthrie Theater

Director, 2016-present
Executive Committee, 2018-present
Chair, Government Affairs Committee, 2018-present

Citizens League

Board of Directors, 2018-2020
Co-chair, Metropolitan Council Task Force, 2015-2016

Cretin-Derham Hall

President's Advisory Council, 2005-present
Eugene and Mary Frey Community Award, 2014

Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities

Director, 2012-2018
Executive Committee Member, 2013-2017
Chair, Advocacy and Community Relations Committee, 2013-2017
Chair, Dorothy Day Center Task Force, 2013-2016

The Nature Conservancy of Minnesota and the Dakotas

Director, 2014-present
Co-Chair, Green Tie Affair Committee, 2016-2017
Chair, Government Relations Committee, 2018-present
Executive Committee Member, 2018-present

The Alzheimer's Association of Minnesota and North Dakota

Director, 2014-2020
Chair, Governance Committee, 2015-2016
Secretary, 2015-2020
Member, Building Chapter Boards Work Group, 2016
Executive Committee Member, 2017-2020
Chair, Government Relations Committee, 2018-2020

2008 Republican National Convention

General Counsel, Host Committee