Best & Flanagan


Jonathan D. Wilson


Jonathan Wilson is a partner with the firm practicing in the areas of business law, civil litigation, white collar criminal defense and regulatory compliance.  He assists individuals, small businesses and publicly-traded corporations facing business and legal challenges that require the strategic coordination of administrative and investigative tasks with judicial advocacy and public relations management.  Jonathan has earned a “Preeminent” Client Review Rating through Martindale-Hubbell® and a “Superb” Rating through Avvo® where both clients and other attorneys report that he is “intelligent, quick on his feet, thoroughly prepared, and extremely knowledgeable about the law … very accessible, competent and pleasant to work with … meticulous in preparation, able to distill complex issues down to core themes and develop strategies to address … terrific in a negotiation setting … genuine … takes time and finances into consideration and always makes the most efficient choices to avoid unnecessary expenses … excellent litigator and case strategist … and always willing to go the extra mile for his clients.”

Jonathan’s dedication to client service and excellence in legal representation has earned him recognition throughout the legal industry and the Twin Cities community. Some of Jonathan’s recent awards include:

  • Named to list of “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by The National Trial Lawyers Association (2014)
  • Named an “Up and Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer Magazine (2013)
  • Named “Emerging Leader of the Year” by the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce DRIVE Committee (2013)
  • Named a “Rising Star” – a designation reserved for no more than 2.5% of attorneys practicing in Minnesota – by Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Named an “Under the Radar Leader” by the readership of (2013)
  • Named to list of twenty “Twin Cities Finest” Young Professionals and Community Leaders by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine (2013)

Jonathan regularly represents individual and business clients in the following areas:

Business Litigation and Consulting

  • Litigation involving breach of contract, unfair competition, tortious interference, insurance disputes, real estate and construction issues, ownership disputes, shareholder derivative actions, disposition of company assets, intellectual property matters, consumer fraud claims, trademark disputes and allegations of deceptive trade practices under the Lanham Act and various state laws
  • Negotiated a services agreement with a MLB franchise on behalf of corporate client
  • Negotiated buy-sell agreements, partnership agreements, employment/consulting contracts and separation agreements for business clients and individual employees/owners
  • Conducted sales force and executive training sessions on competition issues, fraud detection/avoidance and handling customer/vendor disputes
  • Conducted internal investigations, compliance audits and periodic financial reviews to determine adherence to state/federal laws and company policies
  • Drafted/negotiated service, manufacturing, supply, licensing, shipping and distribution agreements
  • Negotiated settlement of complex, multi-party litigation by constructing unique and complex business transaction involving the formation of new companies, new products and new market-exclusivity arrangements

Criminal Law and Government Relations

  • Conducted more than 40 internal investigations in response to government subpoenas, whistleblower allegations, audit committee due diligence and routine compliance measures
  • Coordinated responses to government search warrants, subpoenas and authorized investigative demands
  • Tried cases and negotiated favorable plea agreements in connection with felony and misdemeanor charges in federal and state courts
  • Prosecuted criminal matters as a special assistant city attorney for the city of Minneapolis and the Washington, D.C. Office of Corporation Counsel
  • Defended individuals and organizations against allegations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, the False Claims Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute, the False Statements Act, the Procurement Integrity Act, the Federal Mail and Wire Fraud Statutes, and various other criminal and regulatory schemes
  • Assisted clients across industries with responding to federal and state procurements, negotiating government contracts and lodging bid protests

Commercial and Residential Real Estate

  • Litigation involving purchase agreements, failure to disclose material matters, financing, lease/sublease issues, ownership disputes, miscellaneous contract matters (e.g., enforceability of indemnity provisions) and insurance disputes
  • Represented numerous commercial and residential property owners in property tax appeals throughout Minnesota
  • Represented brokers before the Minnesota Department of Commerce
  • Represented contractors and subcontractors before the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
  • Represented various parties before the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience and Interior Design (AELSLAGID)
  • Member of Minneapolis Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)


  • Litigation involving trademark disputes, unfair competition, tortious interference, noncompetition agreements and contract disputes (arising from customer purchases, vendor purchase orders, drop shipping agreements, etc.)
  • Advised clients regarding use of telephone marketing in accordance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rules
  • Protection of all forms of intellectual property associated with online operations

Food, Beverage and Hospitality

  • Allied member of the Minnesota Restaurant Association
  • Assisted clients with development and launch of new concepts
  • Negotiated vendor, supplier, service and lease agreements for restaurant clients
  • Protection of trade secrets
  • Litigation involving breach of contracts, lease disputes, unfair competition, consumer fraud, tax issues and dram shop liability
  • Represented large frozen food company in issues involving disputes with suppliers and distribution partners
  • Represented national restaurant chain against antitrust and RICO allegations arising from happy hour drink specials
  • Represented cooking oil provider in arbitrations throughout the country to enforce supply agreements

Securities Issues

  • Represented broker-dealers in obtaining emergency and permanent injunctive relief to protect investor information and trade secrets
  • Represented financial advisors in customer disputes involving suitability issues
  • Represented financial advisors in disputes against former broker-dealers for unpaid commissions and referral fees
  • Advised broker-dealers on protection of investor information under Gramm-Leach-Bliley and state privacy laws
  • Negotiated issuance of 52% of corporate defendant’s common stock in settlement of clients’ claims for breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duties


  • Obtained $2.5 million dollar settlement for franchisor in action for unfair competition against former franchisee
  • Obtained dismissal of multimillion dollar FINRA arbitration involving alleged wrongful termination of franchise agreement
  • Negotiated service agreements for national franchisee association
  • Protection of franchisor trade secrets
  • Representation of franchisees in real estate, employment and regulatory issues

Banking and Financial

  • Represented mortgage originator in obtaining dismissal of action for damages arising from alleged misrepresentations in connection with foreclosure proceedings
  • Obtained summary judgment awards in favor of commercial lending plaintiff in series of actions involving allegations of mortgage fraud and breach of contract
  • Represented numerous Ponzi scheme victims in connection with receiver clawback actions
  • Represented multiple clients in actions involving fraudulent transfer of assets
  • Defended numerous clients against claims alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Represented plaintiff in action against regional banking institution for improper account setoff


  • Defended national health care provider in qui tam False Claims Act action alleging Medicare and Medicaid fraud
  • Represented national health insurance provider in disputes against independent contractors responsible for marketing Medicare Advantage plans
  • Litigated personal injury and medical malpractice matters on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants


  • Defended alternative energy client in litigation involving breach of financing agreement
  • Represented wind energy company in enforcing real property leases, maintenance easements and revenue-sharing agreements
  • Conducted internal investigation for regional energy provider as part of defense to regulatory inquiries into rate increase


  • Advised nonprofits regarding governance issues
  • Current acting general counsel for Torch Community

Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Represented clients in more than 30 arbitration proceedings before FINRA, JAMS or AAA
  • Certified neutral mediator under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice

In addition to his legal practice, Jonathan serves on the firm’s diversity committee, as a member of the MSBA membership and publications committees, and as the firm’s designated representative to Twin Cities Diversity In Practice. He is also a frequent author and speaker on various topics. Some of Jonathan’s recent publications, presentations and speaking engagements include:

  • Leadership Training,” Corporate Institute of the University of Minnesota Law School, Third Annual Leadership Foundations Program (January 17, 2014)
  • Expert, Forensic Analyst, In-House Counsel and Litigator Perspectives on Social Media Evidence – The Key Concepts Every Lawyer Should Know,” Federal Bar Association CLE Webinar (December 2013)
  • Recruiting the Next Generation of Civic Leaders,” Minnesota Public Radio’s The Daily Circuit News Show (December 2013)
  • Why Corporate Counsel and Compliance Personnel Should ‘Like’ Social Media as a Resource for Internal Investigations,” American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Corporate Counsel Newsletter (December 2013)
  • Internal Investigations: In-House and Outside Counsel Perspectives on How to Conduct Effective Investigations in Light of Prevailing Government Enforcement Trends,” Hennepin County Bar Association CLE Presentation (December 2012)
  • A Life of a Case in the Trust and Estate Area,” Minnesota State Bar Association, Probate and Trust Law Section CLE (December 2011)
  • Ten Things Every Young Attorney Should Know in Order to Work Efficiently and Effectively with In-House Counsel,” Hennepin County Bar Association Webcast CLE (June 2011)
  • Iran’s First Money Laundering Law: Will it be Effective at Opening Doors to the West?,” The Anti-Fraud Network Newsletter (May 2008)
  • Examining Enron: Corporate Duties, Responsibilities and Key Concerns Following Sarbanes-Oxley, Sentencing Guideline Reforms and Heightened Enforcement Agendas,” Corporate Counsel Breakfast Briefing (February 2007)

Outside the office, Jonathan volunteers on the boards of several local nonprofit organizations, including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition, Jonathan and his wife Laura-Leigh are active members at Interlachen Country Club where Jonathan serves on the membership committee.


  • University of Iowa (J.D., 2004), With Distinction
  • Iowa State University (B.S. in Sociology, Criminal Justice and Political Science, 2000), With Distinction

Practice Areas


  • Advertising & Media
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Closely-Held Businesses
  • Franchises & Distribution
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Real Estate & Development
  • Retail & Restaurants
  • Technology & the Web


  • Minnesota
  • The Supreme Court of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • Fellow, University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs (2012-2013)
  • Leadership Twin Cities Program, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce (2010-2011)
  • Board of Directors, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Minnesota Chapter (2013-Present)
  • General Counsel, Board of Directors - Torch Community (2012-Present)
  • Board of Directors, The LEAD Project (2010-Present)
  • Membership Committee, Interlachen Country Club (2012 – Present)
  • Steering Committee, Friends of St. Jude Twin Cities Chapter (2010-2012)
  • Co-chair, Minneapolis Committee, Movember Foundation (2010-2011)
  • Allied Member, Minnesota Restaurant Association
  • Allied Member, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
  • BOMA Communications Committee
  • Scholarship and Fundraising Committee for the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs Fellowship Program
  • Aeon Prospect Committee
  • Minnesota Jaycees (Hopkins Chapter)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (Membership Committee, Criminal Law Section, and Civil Litigation Section)
  • American Bar Association (Criminal Justice Section)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Corporate Compliance and White Collar Crime Specialties)
  • Federal Bar Association (Minnesota Chapter)
  • Hennepin County Bar Association (Continuing Legal Education Committee 2010-2012)