Best & Flanagan


Thomas B. Heffelfinger


Thomas B. Heffelfinger has devoted most of his 35-year career to investigating, prosecuting and defending white collar criminal misconduct and violent crime. In addition, he has focused his career upon issues facing Native American communities.

Tom has served as an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney, as an Assistant United States Attorney in Minnesota and, on two separate occasions, as the Presidentially-appointed United States Attorney for the State of Minnesota. During Tom’s service as United States Attorney from 2001 to 2006, he also served as Chairman of the United States Department of Justice’s Native American Issues Subcommittee and was responsible for the development and implementation of a wide range of policies related to public safety in Indian Country.

During a private practice career of more than 15 years, Tom has specialized in the representation of individuals and organizations who have been the victims of white collar crime, accused of such crime or were seeking to prevent such crime within their organization. Tom’s private practice also includes the representation of tribal governments on public safety issues and of the regulatory branches of Native American tribes who are responsible for the background investigation of all gaming employees pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. He has been named a “Super Lawyer”; one of “200 Minnesotans You Should Know” by Twin Cities Business; one of “Minnesota’s Best Lawyers” by Minnesota Monthly; and was named one of Minnesota’s “2011 Attorneys of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer.


  • University of Minnesota, J.D., 1975
  • Stanford University, B.A., History, 1970

Practice Areas


  • State of Minnesota
  • United States District Court, District of Minnesota
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • Forest County Potawatomi Community Tribal Court
  • White Earth Band of Chippewa Tribal Court
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • American, Minnesota, Hennepin County, Federal and Minnesota American Indian Bar Associations
  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys (1993-2001; April 2006-present)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (1997-2001; November 2006-present)
  • Family Advocacy Center of Northern Minnesota, Bemidji, Minnesota (Board of Directors member (2006-present)
  • Metropolitan Council (Transportation Advisory Board Member, April 2010-present)
  • American Red Cross (Twin Cities Area Chapter; Board Member, 1988-2001; 2006-present)