Heather Kliebenstein Named "40 Under 40" Honoree by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

January 26, 2017

Merchant & Gould is pleased to announce that partner Heather J. Kliebenstein has been selected as a “40 Under 40” honoree by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

This annual award goes to 40 business and community leaders in the Twin Cities area under the age of 40, recognizing them for their professional accomplishments, demonstrated leadership and community contributions. This year, the publication received over 500 nominations.

It is more than Heather’s leadership that makes her outstanding. Her commitment to the community, her peers and others drive her high standards for the business and legal industries.  Her passion, experience and innovative approach are applauded by her clients and everyone she helps.

“Heather is a trusted counselor and strong advocate for her clients, and is a leader and team-builder in the firm,” said Dan McDonald, past chair of the litigation practice group. “We are proud but not surprised to see her recognized for her talents by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.”

Last year, Heather was selected to be the chair of the litigation practice group at Merchant & Gould. That made her the first female chair of the group, one of a handful of female practice group chairs in the firm’s history, and the youngest shareholder who is a chair of a practice group.  

Prior to becoming the chair of the litigation group, Heather was the firm’s diversity chair for five years. She was asked to assume that position before she was elected as a shareholder, which she attained just eight years after she was hired as an associate. As the diversity chair, Heather worked diligently to implement an expanded family leave policy and other policies that allowed attorneys to have more flexible working arrangements and titles at Merchant & Gould. Heather also helped create a sponsorship program for associates and wrote a “playbook” to guide associates through the different phases of the legal profession and into partnership. Heather is actively committed to changing old ways of doing business in law firms and adopting new business strategies to make private practice—and Merchant & Gould—a go-to destination for talented lawyers.

Heather’s intentional effort to effectuate change in the legal profession doesn’t stop when she steps outside of the firm. She is active as a mentor, guiding and advising a handful of mentees at any given time. She performs pro bono work for several professional associations and has completed pro bono docket renewals for immigration matters as well. She volunteers at Volunteer Lawyers Network housing court and Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and has held leadership positions in the Minnesota Mother Attorney Association.

This is the third year in a row that a female partner from Merchant & Gould has been selected for the MSPBJ “40 Under 40” award. In 2016, Rachel Hughey received the award; and in 2015, Rachel Zimmerman Scobie was selected for it.

“Everyone at M&G is extremely proud of Heather and her accomplishments. She is a leader, gifted lawyer, and counselor,” said Brian H. Batzli, Managing Director and CEO of Merchant & Gould. “We have now had the honor of three M&G attorneys receiving the ‘40 under 40’ award in the last three years. Each was a worthy recipient, and this recognition is a testament to the women leading and achieving throughout the firm.”

View the MSPBJ announcement and photo gallery.

View Heather's listing in the photo gallery.

The 23rd Annual "40 Under 40" Awards Ceremony will take place on March 16, 2017 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Event Center.

View Heather's 40 Under 40 interview profile.

View profiles of all the 40 Under 40 2017 Honorees.

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