Founding Firms: Meshbesher & Spence, Ltd.

A Short History of Meshbesher & Spence

The history of Meshbesher & Spence, Ltd. begins, of course, with the storied career of one of the greatest trial attorneys in Minnesota history—Ron Meshbesher. In 1961, after four years of trying dozens of felony cases as an assistant Hennepin County Attorney, Ron Meshbesher entered private practice, working with Michael ("Micky") Robins in downtown Minneapolis. Ron focused on trial practice while Micky continued his corporate practice. In 1963, Ron’s brother, Ken Meshbesher, and his law partner, Joel Kirshbaum, joined forces with Ron and Micky to establish Robins, Meshbesher & Kirshbaum, a general practice firm focused on trial work. 

In the mid-1960s, the Meshbesher brothers and their partners chose to build an office for their growing firm. They chose property on Park Avenue, near downtown Minneapolis and strategically close to all the main highways so attorneys could easily get to courts throughout the Twin Cities. The partners wanted a unique, memorable building.

Since 1966, the iconic building at 1616 Park Avenue—with curved walls, tall round-topped windows, and oval staircases—has been the focal point of the firm. In the late 1960s, Robins, Meshbesher & Kirshbaum continued to grow. Russ Spence, who started at the firm as an investigator while he attended law school, joined the firm as a lawyer.

When Micky Robins moved to California to practice entertainment law, and Joel Kirshbaum moved to Arizona, Gerald Singer, Ron’s childhood friend and a business and family lawyer, joined the firm. In 1971, the partnership of Meshbesher, Singer & Spence was formed, and in 1977, Meshbesher, Singer, & Spence, Ltd., was incorporated. 

In the 1970s, before lawyer advertising was allowed, Ron Meshbesher represented numerous defendants in high-profile cases, such as the Elizabeth Congdon murder case and the Piper kidnapping case, making him a media sensation, which buoyed the expanding firm, making it well known throughout the Midwest. 

The firm’s practice continued to focus on trial work throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In addition to criminal defense, the firm’s business litigation and personal injury practice grew, and the firm opened an office in St. Paul. In the 1980s, with lawyer advertising now in the clear, the firm adopted its service mark, "The Lawyer You Choose Makes a Difference"® which is still used today. 

Over the 1980s and 1990s, the firm grew to over 20 attorneys with offices in different cities at various times, including St. Paul, St. Cloud, Rochester, Plymouth, St. Louis Park, Maplewood, and Woodbury, though 1616 Park remained its main office. 

When Gerald Singer retired in 1990, the firm became Meshbesher & Spence, Ltd. During the 1990s, new partners came into the fold and the firm expanded its personal injury practice, including focus on medical malpractice as well as mass tort litigation. Russ Spence and Ken Meshbesher, with their own track records of trial successes for clients, retired in the 1990s, but Ron continued to practice in civil and criminal cases. 

After decades of establishing itself as one of the most recognized firms in the state, the 2000s saw Meshbesher & Spence phase out business litigation and general litigation to focus on personal injury practice, including mass torts and medical malpractice, with a criminal practice in Minneapolis and Rochester. In 2021, the firm added workers compensation to its personal injury practice. 

Today, with 18 attorneys and offices in Minneapolis, Rochester, and St. Cloud, the lawyers at Meshbesher & Spence represent individuals and families harmed by personal injuries. The firm’s practice includes claims caused by car accidents, premises liability, product liability, medical negligence, mass torts (including drug and medical device claims), and work injuries. Criminal defense is still part of the practice in Rochester, which now has four attorneys. The attorneys at Meshbesher & Spence carry on the tradition of hard work and compassionate advocacy started by Ron Meshbesher and his partners over 60 years ago. 

Submitted by James B. Sheehy, Partner, Meshbesher & Spence

Managing Editor
Elsa Cournoyer

Executive Editor

Joseph Satter