John grew up in a small Minnesota town where his father worked at a meat packing plant – just like both of his grandfathers. The youngest of five children, and surrounded by a dozen first cousins, John grew up knowing the importance of family. When times were hard, family was always there. And in the low paying, high injury world of meatpacking, times were often hard.
In each client John sees a piece of himself and his own struggles. When he hears the financial difficulties of his clients, he understands exactly what they are going through, because he has been there. After working multiple low paying jobs to put himself through college, graduate school and law school, John passed the bar exam and was sworn in as an attorney. Part of that oath was a promise to defend the defenseless and the oppressed. This principle has defined his legal career.
John obtained his law degree from Hamline University School of Law. John also received a Masters of Arts Degree in Public Administration with honors from Hamline. John obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of Wisconsin with a double major in Political Science and Psychology. John received the Peter Falkman Award for Outstanding Policy Analysis for his master’s thesis on poverty, pollution, and inner city development. John’s thesis was published in the Journal of Public Law and Policy and became a blueprint for urban renewal in cities throughout the country.
John was a member of the legal team that worked on the landmark United States Supreme Court case Gisbrecht v. Barnhart. As a direct result of this case, the right to legal representation for low income disabled individuals was greatly expanded throughout the United States.
John has served on the executive board of multiple nonprofits and pro bono legal service providers throughout the state of Washington – greatly expanding access to social services and legal aid to the most vulnerable members of our communities.
John is a highly regarded public speaker on the subject of disability benefits and has made over 200 presentations to hospital and clinic staff, medical providers, mental health providers, social workers, social service agencies, nonprofits, state agencies and support groups. He has given dozens of Continuing Legal Education classes to attorneys and legal staff both locally and nationally.