2018 Annual Construction Law Symposium

Event Description

Deadline to Register: June 19, 2018

Join us for the Annual Construction Law Symposium.  Prior to the CLE, the Section will be hosting a breakfast where you can mingle with colleagues. After the breakfast, the Section will conduct a brief Annual meeting which will conclude with the Officer and Council Elections.

8:00-8:45 Check-in & Breakfast.  Join your colleagues for a hearty breakfast and networking prior to the event.

8:45-9:00 Construction Law Annual Meeting and Elections 
9:00-10:00 Successful Indian Country Construction-  Negotiating Effective Tribal Contracts and Navigating Disputes | Sara Van Norman

Even otherwise-experienced construction attorneys need to build up their knowledge and skills to advise contractor clients on tribal deals.  This means developing not just legal know-how, but cultural competency.  This presentation will cover fundamental Indian law principles; tribal construction contracts; pros and cons of various dispute resolution options; and examples of what not to do.
Sara represents tribes and their business partners throughout the country, focusing on construction; tribal finance; environmental, utility, and right-of-way issues; treaty rights; and tribal governance. She has handled diverse matters, from complex, reservation boundary litigation, to multi-year disputes over oil and gas pipelines, to numerous, large tribal construction projects.  Sara started out her legal career as a paralegal at Faegre & Benson, where she also edited Pat O'Connor and Phil Bruner's magnum opus, Bruner & O'Connor on Construction Law. After that, she attended the U of M Law School, graduating cum laude in 2004, and returned to Faegre for several years as a construction associate. Sara then spent a decade practicing at Jacobson, Magnuson, Anderson & Halloran, a boutique Indian law firm in St. Paul. Last year, she moved over to the Davis Law Office in Minneapolis, where she runs her own tribal practice group.         

10:00-10:10 Break

10:10-11:10 21st Century Transportation- Transforming the Future of Mobility thru Connected and Automated Vehicles | Kristin White & Janelle Borgen

Minnesota has entered the foray into connected and automated mobility technologies with the Governor’s Executive Order on connected and automated vehicles (CAV). Minnesotans now face the monumental task of understanding this technology’s implications for government, communities experiencing transportation barriers, transportation, the automotive industry, business, labor, technology, advocacy groups, and educational institutions. This presentation will discuss the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s new CAV-X office efforts to engage public and private partners and stakeholders to advance recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature, and to discuss the safe innovation and testing and deployment of connected and automated vehicles in Minnesota to ensure greater access and benefits for all.  Kristin White is the Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) Innovation Director in the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s new CAV-X Office, where she oversees policy, strategic planning, research, and deployment of these technologies.  Kristin formerly served as Associate Legal Counsel for MnDOT, managing the agency’s environmental, construction, and other legal matters, and as Assistant Director for the Office of Environmental Stewardship.  Previous to MnDOT Kristin worked for the U.S. State Department in Japan and, after earning her law degree from Hamline University, she worked in patent law and for the City of Minneapolis. Kristin currently serves on the Minnesota State Bar Association Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy section council and is a board member of the Minnesota Humanities Center. Janelle Borgen is an ITS Manager with over 20X years of experience.  Currently with WSB and Associates, Inc., Janelle is responsible for WSB’s ITS and CAV activities.   Janelle obtained a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology. In addition to her engineering degree, Janelle studied Human Factors in the Human Factors Research lab while attending Graduate school and formerly worked for the Swedish Department of Transportation in Traffic Safety.  At the time, the Swedes had just announced their Vision Zero Program in Traffic Safety, the first program of this kind in the world.   She served as the technical lead for MnDOT’s Autonomous Bus Pilot project and is currently serving as a subject Matter Expert in traffic operations for MnDOT’s Statewide CAV Strategic Plan project.

11:10-12:10 Cyber Security in Construction – Keeping Others Out of Your Pocket | Heidi Fessler & Julie Velasquez

This seminar will focus on how you can protect your company, and the disbursement of funds, from the efforts of hackers and Cyber criminals.  We will discuss some of the ways used by hackers to enter into your system as well as ways you can protect yourself from falling prey to the attacks.  In addition, we will share some best practices that you can implement right away to strengthen your defense.   Heidi Fessler is counsel in Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office where she concentrates her practice on data related issues including data security and data breach incident response, internal investigations, risk management, litigation readiness planning, information governance policies and strategies. She also assists clients with program training and implementation and information management technology selection.
Julie Velasquez is counsel with the National Commercial Services division of First American Title, where she works with underwriters across the country to assess, manage, and mitigate construction-related risks covered under title insurance policies, as well as managing selected operations for construction disbursing.  She also brings many years of risk management experience previously functioning a director of one of Thrivent Financial’s commercial loan portfolios, specializing in church loans, responsible for the underwriting, closing, and operations of that portfolio.


Kristin White | Associate Legal Counsel | Minnesota Department of Transportation
Sara Van Norman | Parnter | Davis Law Office
Heidi Fessler | Of Counsel | Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Julie Velasquez | Counsel, Vice President and Manager, Construction Risk Mitigation and Funds Control | First American Title

CLE Credits:

3.0 Standard CLE Credits approved | Event Code: 258935


Construction Law Section Members: $40.00
Non-Section Members: $50.00
Law Students:  Free

Remote Participation: 

Remote participation is available.

Want more information about the Construction Law Section
To register with a check, please mail in this registration form.
Need to cancel? Please see our cancellation policy.
Questions? Contact Kara Haro| 612-278-6329

If you need reasonable accommodations to participate in this event please notify Kara Haro at 612-278-6329 or kharo@mnbar.org.  Please provide notification at least 72 hours prior to the meeting to allow sufficient time to make arrangements for accommodations at this event. 

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Pre-Registration is Closed

Thursday, June 21, 2018

8:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Minnesota State Bar Association
600 Nicollet Mall #380
Minneapolis, MN 55402