Each year, Midwest Real Estate News inducts a new class in its Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. Last year — despite the challenges it brought — was no exception. Here’s a look at one of our newest Hall of Fame members, Justin Weinberg, partner with law firm Taft in Minneapolis.
During his career of more than two decades, Justin Weinberg has steadily risen through the ranks at law firm Taft’s Minneapolis office. In January of this year, Weinberg earned his latest honor at the firm, being named Partner-in-Charge of the office. This legal veteran now leads a team of 140 attorneys involved in multiple practice groups and industries.
Most of Weinberg’s legal work focuses on real estate development and construction. In addition, he serves many clients in the areas of liquor licensing and regulatory issues and hospitality.
Like all successful legal professionals, Weinberg hasn’t been afraid to adapt to changing times. During the 2008 recession, he shifted his focus to representing banks and institutional lenders in workouts, lender liability and foreclosures, a practice Weinberg continues to maintain. He also serves as outside general counsel to a variety of clients and industries of all sizes. This allows these clients to address their legal needs without incurring the overhead of a full-time, in-house attorney.
“I enjoy the diversity of deals that come up,” Weinberg said. “Whether it is a mixed-use building, office or warehouse, no two are alike. While a transaction may leave you with the feeling of ‘I have seen this movie before,’ they all have their own persona.”
Not surprisingly, considering his legal talent, Weinberg is a frequent lecturer on industry topics relating to commercial real estate, commercial foreclosures and agribusiness. Weinberg holds legal classes for the public, too, and creates private customized presentations tailored for client issues.
During his 20 years in the business, Weinberg has taken on several key legal cases. This includes representing a corporation in union negotiations, successfully reaching a new collective bargaining agreement. He has also represented financial institutions in workouts of complex, multi-million-dollar credit facilities and construction companies in multi-million-dollar projects, ranging from the initial contract to disputes over sums owed or alleged defective work.
Weinberg represented, too, a national student housing entity in its acquisition and development of multi-million dollar projects across the nation; a regional brewery in all aspects of craft beer operations, including distribution, employee issues and brand development; local developers in platting and development of land for use and sale; and regional restaurant franchisors and families in the development of new stores.
What is the secret behind Weinberg’s success? He points to the old-fashioned strategy of listening carefully to his clients.
“I listen to both sides, my client and the other party in the transaction,” Weinberg said. “I engage in the practice of law as not being an obstacle, but rather, as being a valuable partner to my clients in helping them achieve their goals.”
When not working for his clients, Weinberg enjoys fly fishing with his twin 17-year-old daughters, grilling and cooking and traveling with his family.