Spiwe L. Jefferson serves as trial counsel in cases nationwide, defending major corporations in food safety, toxic tort, products liability, class actions, multi-district litigation, and commercial disputes. She is counsel for a Fortune 500 global food manufacturing company, defending its commercial litigation, product liability, and premises liability claims arising in state and federal courts nationwide. Her general products experience includes managing product recall portfolios to mitigate risk. Her litigation experience includes serving as first and second-chair trial counsel and managing litigation across the United States and abroad. She previously served as Associate General Counsel – Litigation for a medical device company in St. Paul, and Deputy General Counsel for an oil and gas product manufacturer in Chicago.
Ms. Jefferson is outside general counsel of ChristLight Productions. She is Co-Chair of the Communications Committee for the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), former president, treasurer, and board member of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL). She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), MABL, Hennepin County Bar Association, Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), and former member of the Douglas Amdahl Inn of Court.
Ms. Jefferson served on the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, was Adjunct Professor at William Mitchell College of Law, and ethics investigator for the Hennepin County Bar Association.
Ms. Jefferson is admitted to practice in the State and Federal District Courts in Minnesota.
When she is not zealously defending clients, Ms. Jefferson enjoys working out, meditating, and rode a Harley.
- The BrandLab – Governance Committee Chair, former board secretary (2016 – present)
- Corporate secretary for three corporate entities, oversaw corporate governance for more than 70 global legal entities in 53 countries (2013 – 2016)
- Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) – president, treasurer, and board member (2006-2010)
- Aeon Homes, KMOJ Radio, Lewis Sports Foundation – board member (2003 – 2013)
- University of Dayton School of Law (J.D. 1993)
- Defiance College, Defiance Ohio (B.A. 1990)
- America's Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators®
- Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders – Diversity MBA
- Cover page profile, Savvy.mn Magazine
- Featured Executive by the National Executive Forum
- Minnesota Top Young Lawyer – Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine
- Rising Star – Minnesota Law & Politics
- Patron Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Recognized by MSBA for leading post-earthquake Haiti Relief fundraising efforts as President of MABL
- Principal Edge Award for outstanding contribution on joint venture team with ING Group into the new Japanese defined contribution market, Des Moines IA
- Featured on Eye on Principal Edge video news publication, Des Moines IA
- Recognition for service in Legal Aid Society of Dayton OH
- Outstanding Lawyer – Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, Dayton OH
- Outstanding Lawyer – Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers’ Project, Dayton OH
A former member and award-winner of Toastmasters International, Ms. Jefferson has taught courses for the MSBA Annual Real Estate, Business Law and Health Law Institutes, Minnesota CLE, National Business Institute, Iowa Traders Association, Iowa State Bar Association, and Annual eDiscovery for the Life Sciences Conference. Her presentations include:
- The End Game – Effective Motion Practice in Federal Court, Civil Litigation A-Z, Minnesota CLE (June 2019)
- Winning or Defeating a Motion for Injunctive Relief, Minnesota CLE Quick-Draw Litigation (February 2019)
- Preventing Product Liability Claims Before They Arise and How Prevention Affects Settlement, Minneapolis Products Liability Supercourse,Minneapolis MN (September 2018)
- What In-house Counsel Wish You Knew,Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Walker MN (January 2018)
- Internal Investigations: Top 10 Lessons from Real World Cases, Panelist, National Bar Association Corporate Counsel Conference, Atlanta GA (February 2017)
- The Attorney-Client Privilege and Potential for Conflicts with New Technology,Panelist, National Bar Association Corporate Counsel Conference, Scottsdale AZ (February 2016)
- Using Metrics to Demonstrate the Value Provided by your Litigation Department,Panelist, Consero Corporate Litigation Executive Roundtable, Chicago IL (April 2015)
- Evaluating Today’s Outsourcing Options: Which Shore is Right for You?Panelist, Global Outsourcing Association of Lawyers, Chicago IL (February 2014)
Ms. Jefferson is a monthly columnist for the ACC Docket magazine, and has published Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses for organizations including the Minnesota CLE, Minnesota Real Estate Institute, and National Business Institute. Her representative articles include:
- What You Should Know About “Hairassment”
- 5 Ethics Lessons Lawyers Can Learn from Michael Cohen
- 'Tis the Season for Mindfulness: 3 Ways to De-stress at Work ACC Docket (November 2018)
- The First Step to Take When Hit with a New Class Action ACC Docket (October 2018)
- Using a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to Halt a Former Employer’s NoncompeteACC Docket (September 2018)
- Did We Say That? Taming Communications for Litigation, ACC Docket (April 24, 2017)
- When Employee Texts Become Contracts, ACC Docket (September 22, 2016)
- eReadiness: To Save the Company, Save the Right Documents,ACC Docket Magazine (p. 36, June 1, 2016)
- E-Commerce LawChapter 13.12, Iowa Legal Research Guide, John Edwards, Williams S. Hein & Co., Inc. (2013)
- New Jersey Premises Litigation.Secured outright dismissal with prejudice in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County, for a third-party defendant Fortune 500 food manufacturer in premises liability case. The premises owner alleged that the plaintiff‘s injuries were caused by the manufacturer’s defective cooler. After a strategic and persistent discovery campaign exposed the claim’s weaknesses, both Plaintiff and Defendant dismissed the firm’s client with prejudice.
- Product Liability Settlement.Secured favorable settlements after a year-long dispute in which downstream merchant alleged millions of dollars in damages after Fortune 500 food manufacturer initiated a voluntary national product recall. Settlement was reached in coordination with multiple claimants, insurers, and client stakeholders on the eve of claimant’s fiscal year end, avoiding additional significant claimed damages.
- Summary Judgment Win in New York Premises Litigation.Won summary judgment on behalf of a Fortune 500 food manufacturer in a multi-million-dollar premises case venued in Erie County, New York. The case, in which a railroad sought indemnification from the manufacturer for the plaintiff’s personal injuries, involved complex issues of Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) liability, contractual indemnification, New York statutory insurance liability, and the rights of parties acquired during a series of asset divestitures. The court agreed that the firm’s client had no obligation to defend the railroad under an old contract with the railroad’s predecessor. The court further ruled that any duty to indemnify was unripe, resulting in a denial of the railroad’s summary judgment motion, and a granting of our cross-motion.
- Asbestos Exposure Trial.Associate counsel in seven-figure asbestos exposure case in St. Louis, Missouri for one of the world's largest global innovation manufacturing companies. Successfully demonstrated that the plaintiff did not have silicosis, but instead had a rare, non-occupational and misdiagnosed vascular tumor. Complete defense verdict.
- Product Recalls, Toxic Tort and Mass Tort Litigation.Advisory and trial counsel for nationwide product recall claims and litigation, product liability, complex toxic tort and mass tort litigation for Fortune 500 clients in claims involving exposures to, among other substances, asbestos, benzene, and silica in state and federal courts.
- Bribery Allegation Investigation (Indonesia/Jakarta).Led an extensive on-site investigation into allegations that a sales manager solicited bribes from a distributor in exchange for receiving company business. Once the allegations were confirmed, recommended and oversaw corrective action.