A Partner at Halunen Law, Melissa Weiner chairs the complex litigation and class action practice. Her work is squarely focused on combatting consumer deception, particularly in the consumer products arena. Melissa has taken a leadership role in numerous large class actions and multi-district litigations in cases across the country. These include cases challenging tobacco marketing, predatory pricing for low-income consumers, defective construction products, and misleading food and product labels. Melissa’s astute legal skills and steadfast determination have brought success in the courtroom and at the negotiation table, where she is known to work tirelessly to achieve resolutions that are creative and fair.
Melissa is a frequent lecturer on deceptively labeled consumer products, class action procedures and food law at local and national conferences. She serves on the Steering Committee for the Plaintiffs’ Class Action Forum, an invitation-only professional group focused on emerging trends in class actions.
A contributor to her professional community, Melissa serves as the Under 40 Campaign Chair for the Twin Cities Cardozo Society, an affinity group for the Twin Cities Jewish Federations. She is active in the Federal Bar Association, serving as Co-Chair of the Minnesota Chapter’s Mass Tort, MDL, Class Action Committee and serves on the Annual Seminar Committee. Additionally, Melissa sits on the Minnesota Bar Association Food & Drug Law Council. In recognition of her outstanding efforts in the legal community, each year since 2012, Melissa has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star by Minnesota Law & Politics.
Melissa’s community service also reflects a particular commitment to organizations and initiatives benefiting children. She established a Young Professionals Committee for Make-A-Wish™ of Minnesota, which grants inspiring wishes to numerous recipients each year. Additionally, she serves on a Young Professionals Committee for Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
Melissa is a graduate of the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and received her juris doctor from William Mitchell College of Law.
Bob Aronson took a circuitous path to the Twin Cities, having been raised in the suburban shtetl of Skokie, Illinois, followed by student days in Bloomington, Indiana, two employment stints in Washington, D.C., Soviet legal studies at Harvard and Moscow State Universities, a brief sojourn in New York, and then back to Moscow for three years as a corporate representative.
Bob initially came to the Twin Cities as an international attorney working at Control Data Corporation until he succeeded in badgering Jerry Ingber, his mentor to hire him as an immigration attorney. Dating back to his initial days of practice and extending to the present, Bob has found immigration legal practice to be a stimulating, energizing field of law that touches deeply the lives of his clients and their families, contributes to the national welfare, resonates in Jewish ethics and tradition, and fulfills Bob’s own roving curiosity on the world at large and the extraordinary talents of his clients. Over the course of his career that now extends to being a shareholder with Fredrikson & Byron, Bob has established himself as a leading national immigration practitioner and thought-leader serving a broad range of healthcare, research, and IT employers, including many of this nation’s foremost academic systems.
Bob’s honors and awards include: Fulbright Scholar at the law schools of Harvard and Moscow State Universities; inaugural recipient of the Roberta Friedman Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to immigration law and policy; Distinguished Service Award of the Indiana University School of Law; legal advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services on appropriate immigration policy for International Physicians; Editor-in-Chief of The Physician Immigration Book, the major treatise in its field; Fellow of the Walter Mondale Policy Institute; Fellow of the Harry Leadership Institute.
He is an active contributor to both Jewish and secular communal endeavors. He is on the Board and Executive Committee of HIAS, the Jewish community’s agency for refugee protection and migration. He has held Board positions in the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Advocates for Human Rights, and the Sabes Jewish Community Center, chaired the Soviet-Jewry movement, and has actively volunteered in Hillel, the Minneapolis Children’s Theater, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and the Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service.
At a time such as this of honor and acknowledgement, Bob is humbly grateful for the love and support of his wife, Bobbi, their children, Lisa and Dustin, and now Eileen, and for the family members, friends, colleagues, and clients who enrich his life to a boundless extent.
Karen’s law practice began at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office where, in 1981, she helped represent the state in its first public employee strike. She later moved to the University of Minnesota’s Office of the General Counsel. There her responsibilities included negotiating collective bargaining agreements with the newly organized faculty on the Duluth and Waseca campuses.
Karen then joined the Felhaber law firm, later chairing its Labor and Employment Law section and serving as the first woman on its Board of Directors. She is currently a shareholder at Fredrikson & Byron P.A. and co-chair of the firm’s Lateral Hiring Committee.
Karen’s career includes high profile matters: investigating government officials for alleged wrongdoing, addressing executives publicly accused of illegal conduct, and litigating issues of first impression under the Minnesota Public Employee Labor Relations Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2015, Karen co-led a comprehensive investigation of sexual harassment and the University of Minnesota Athletics Department following the resignation of its Athletics Director. The investigation culminated in public presentations to the Board of Regents and the State Legislature.
Karen was named Lawyer of the Year in both 2016 (Minneapolis Employment Law – Management) and 2017 (Minneapolis Labor Law – Management). She has been designated a “Super Lawyer,” a Top Woman Lawyer, and ranked in Chambers USA numerous times. Other honors include selection as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and membership in the American Employment Law Council.
Karen credits her father, Yale Gotsdiner, with teaching her the importance of Jewish community service. She enjoys providing pro bono legal advice to local Jewish organizations. Karen has served on the Boards of Directors and various committees of the Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, and the St. Paul Jewish Community Center. In the broader community, Karen provides pro bono services to non-profit organizations and the individuals they serve, teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School, is a Thomson-Reuters author, and speaks nationally on labor and employment matters.
Karen and her husband, Paul, live in St Paul. Their daughter, Mara, son, Adam, and daughter-in-law, Allison, reside in Chicago. Karen gratefully acknowledges that without her family and friends, none of this would have been possible.