Our country was founded on the self evident truth that all people have an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights would be lost or meaningless without a skilled professional class of lawyers to protect them and obtain remedies for violations of those rights. At Meshbesher and Spence, we work to exemplify the best of this professional class of lawyers in representing people.”

John Sheehy was an accomplished lawyer and experienced advocate who represented a wide variety of Minnesotans and their families ranging from farmers and factory workers to corporate executives who were faced with unnecessary injuries and deaths. John’s father, Pat Sheehy, was a champion boxer who pushed him into the ring at an early age. John lived his life fighting- on behalf of his clients. Pat died young and left John’s mother, Mae, to raise eight kids twelve and under. His parents’ roots were in northern Minnesota, on the range, Duluth, and International Falls. John grew up in St. Louis Park. He worked his way through both college and law school at the University of Minnesota. His background helped him understand the hardships many of his client’s families endured, enabling him to work effectively with people of all walks of life and all backgrounds.

John had an unsurpassed record of success with his clients. He obtained jury verdicts for them that set records in Minnesota in cases involving brain injuries, wrongful death, paralysis, and amputation. He also obtained for his clients the state’s largest jury awards in personal injury, products liability, semi truck collisions, and medical malpractice. John knew how to put together and lead a team of investigators, lawyers, doctors, and economists to effectively investigate and prove his clients cases. His experience helped make a difference for individuals or families in any legal matter involving serious injury or death.

John’s successes were not only been in court. He settled many significant cases. He knew that hard work and thorough preparation were necessary to obtain the best results. In his career, he obtained over one hundred twenty million dollars in verdicts and settlements for his clients and their families.

With nearly 30 years of experience with Meshbesher & Spence, John was not only knowledgeable in technical legal matters, he was also familiar with many areas of medicine, science, and engineering from having worked closely with doctors, engineers, and forensic evidence in preparing and trying his clients’ cases. He understood not only the psychological and emotional toll injuries caused his clients, but the treatment and medical procedures they experienced. John’s judgment and views on many legal matters and issues of advocacy were valued by his peers and other lawyers. Other lawyers throughout Minnesota and the country often consulted with John concerning their cases or enlisted his help in preparing them.

Out of law school John got the job he dreamed of and hooked on with one of Minnesota’s best trial lawyers, Ron Meshbesher. He began his career doing criminal defense work, successfully trying dozens of jury trials in both the criminal and civil areas, including murder, assault, theft, conspiracy, drug distribution, criminal sexual conduct, and police brutality. At that time, John chose this work because it was demanding and to develop his trial and advocacy skills in jury trials. He tried the first murder case involving DNA evidence.

The first case he handled out of law school, a civil rights case against the FBI, went to the United States Supreme Court. Ron Meshbesher had enough confidence in John that he sponsored John to argue the case even though John had not practiced long enough to be admitted to the Supreme Court Bar. Few lawyers in Minnesota have John’s depth of experience in both areas of civil and criminal trial work.

John has perennially been selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics and is also named in Best Lawyers in America. He is one of only two lawyers in Minnesota who has twice been named “Lawyer of the Year” by Minnesota’s leading legal journal Minnesota Lawyer. John was also one of a very small number of graduates of the University of Minnesota to be given a Distinguished Achievement award by the College of Liberal Arts.

Bar Admissions

1984 Minnesota;
1984 U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
JD 1984, University of Minnesota (cum laude)
BA 1981, University of Minnesota


American Association of Justice Association
Minnesota Association for Justice:
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Notable Cases

Horse Collides with Car and Kills Driver
Anoka Maintenance Worker Seriously Injured When Acid Tank Valve Malfunctions Foust v. Holland – Minivan Hit by Semi-truck at Broken Stoplight
Cass County Drunk Driver Accident
Owatonna Construction Accident
Olson v. Christian Builders – Motorcyclist Killed By Non-secured Debris
Koehler v. Abbott Northwestern Hospital – Suicidal Woman Left Unattended in Locked Psychiatric Ward
Kuttner v. Hutchinson – 3-year-old Dies During Routine Tonsillectomy
Forde v. Geo M. Martin Company – Box Stacking Machine Malfunctions, Causing Traumatic Brain Injury
11-year-old Sustains Brain Injury Due to Drowning in Commercial Pool, Remains Institutionalized
MN Man Paralyzed in Semi-truck Collision, Settlement Makes Long-term Care Possible
Stellmach v. Ryder School Bus Co. – School Bus Strikes Pedestrian in Downtown Saint Paul