Clergy Housing Allowance Ruled Constitutional

03.21.2019 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Clergy Housing Allowance Ruled Constitutional

Last Friday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the clergy housing allowance does not violate the First Amendment’s anti-establishment clause. The Court decided the effect of the statute establishing the clergy housing allowance is “neither to endorse nor to inhibit religion and it does not cause excessive government entanglement.” This decision is an important victory for Church clergy that seemingly decreases the chances of the clergy housing allowance being ruled unconstitutional.

This ruling was handed down in an appeal of a 2017 Wisconsin Federal District Court decision that ruled the clergy housing allowance violates the First Amendment to U.S. Constitution that prohibits government actions to establish religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion. While this decision was effective only in the western district of Wisconsin and enforcement of the decision was stayed pending appeal, there has been much concern about this case’s threat to this 64 year old tax break that the Joint Committee on Taxation once estimated is worth about $700 million a year. In addition to the religious freedom aspects of the District Court decision, many denominations and churches were worried about the adverse effect the decision would have on clergy and financially challenged churches.

While this Court of Appeals ruling is welcome to many of our clients, keep in mind this may not be the final judicial word on the constitutionality of the clergy housing allowance. The now unsuccessful plaintiff in this case may ask the full Seventh Circuit Court to review the panel’s decision and could ask U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the Circuit’s decision.


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2018 Super Lawyers Press Release

07.13.2018 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. is pleased to announce the firm’s 2018 Minnesota Super Lawyers and 2018 Rising Stars honorees. It is with great pride that select attorneys from the firm have been recognized by their peers for outstanding work in their primary practice area.

The Super Lawyers listing is an annual honor presented to outstanding lawyers from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., from over 70 practice areas. Lawyers are selected using a patented process that rates the lawyers based on peer nominations and evaluations, along with research that has been performed independently. The list of honorees is published in Super Lawyers Magazine.

The Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. Minnesota Super Lawyers Honorees:

Steven M. Graffunder a shareholder in the firm and is the chair of the firm’s Real Estate Department. Steve practices primarily in the areas of commercial and residential real estate, construction law, mechanic’s liens, and banking law. Primary Practice Area: Banking

Mark V. Steffenson, a shareholder in the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., focuses his practice on representing clients in business and commercial litigation. Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

Jeffrey A. Berg, a shareholder and Chair of the Family Law practice group at Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd., concentrates on helping individuals and families overcome situations of divorce or legal separation with their best interests in mind. Primary Practice Area: Family Law

Craig T. Dokken, a shareholder in the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd, practices law in the areas of Construction Law and Litigation, Banking and Mediation. Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

Kristin Kingsbury has extensive litigation experience in both state and federal courts. She excels in implementing efficient dispute resolution techniques on behalf of her clients. As a former Rising Star Honoree, this is Kristin’s first time being selected as a Super Lawyer.
Primary Practice Area: Business Litigation

2018 Rising Stars Honoree:

Tifanne Wolter has practiced law for more than 15 years, concentrating her practice in family law for the last decade assisting a wide array of clients with divorce, custody, paternity, child support, third party custody, parenting time, and domestic abuse matters. Primary Practice Area: Family Law

Located in Maple Grove, Minnesota, the law firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. has served individuals and businesses throughout Minnesota for 36 years. The full-service law firm provides legal representation to clients throughout the Twin Cities and communities in the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey, Wright, Anoka and Sherburne.

For more information, visit or call (763) 560-5700.

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Virginia Cronin Joins Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

06.06.2018 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Virginia Cronin

Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. is pleased to announce that Attorney Virginia Cronin has joined the firm. Virginia is a member of the firm’s Business Law Department providing legal counsel to nonprofit organizations including churches, schools and tax exempt organizations.

Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Virginia worked as an Assistant Public Defender, consulted and worked for law firms across the United States and locally focusing on legal practice tools, legal process improvement and change management. Most recently as an Executive Director of a local nonprofit organization that serves over 400 women and families each month.

As a former nonprofit leader, Virginia understands the many demands and realities of nonprofits and uses her experience to provide practical and legal advice to clients. She views her role as a trusted advisor to clients, providing advice on a variety of topics and issues they encounter every day from incorporation to employment/human resources issues and everything in-between. This allows her clients to stay focused on their missions and callings, while she handles the legal and business issues for them.

Virginia received a J.D. from the William Mitchell College of Law, a B.S. from Iowa State University and a B.A. from The University of Iowa. She is admitted to practice law in Minnesota State Courts.

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Elliott Elm Joins Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

05.29.2018 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Elliottt Elm - Henningson & Snoxell

Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. is pleased to announce that Attorney Elliott Elm has joined the firm.  Elliott is a member of the firm’s Estate Planning Department practicing in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration, Elder Law and Guardianships and Conservatorships.

Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Elm worked in a variety of practice fields. He spent time as a law clerk in the areas of family law, business law, litigation and estate planning. Most recently he was an attorney at a Twin Cities law firm where he assisted in E-discovery for mortgage securities litigation and contract disputes.

Elliott takes personal interest in helping clients with their estate planning needs during what is often a vulnerable and very difficult time in their lives. He takes pride in assisting clients with preparing the necessary documents to reach their goals and protect their families and estates.

Elliott received his J.D. from the St. Thomas University School of Law and his B.A., cum laude, from the St. John’s University.  He is admitted to practice law in Minnesota state courts.

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Chuck Hollenhorst Joins Henningson & Snoxell

10.04.2017 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. is pleased to announce that attorney Charles (Chuck) Hollenhorst has joined the firm. Chuck is a member of the firm’s Commercial and Business Department practicing in the areas of Corporate Law and Commercial Real Estate.

Chuck is a Real Property Law Specialist certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association and a Certified Public Accountant certificate holder.

Practicing law for more than 20 years, Chuck has represented businesses, emerging companies and individuals in a wide range of business and real estate matters. Prior to practicing law, he served as an executive vice president and CFO in publicly traded and private manufacturing and service corporations. Chuck was involved in contract negotiations at the highest levels and led the areas of operations, finance, administration, human resources, IT, tax and SEC. He also led the implementation of ISO certification of manufacturing companies. Chuck understands
first-hand the corporate, financial and legal considerations inherently involved in successful business operations.

Chuck’s clients benefit from both his legal and financial perspective in commercial and real estate transactions, corporate governance and shareholder matters, entity formation, and the wide range of concerns facing businesses and their owners today.

He is licensed to practice law in all Minnesota state and federal courts, as well as the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a member of the American, Minnesota State and Hennepin County Bar Associations, the American Institute of CPAs and the Minnesota Society of CPAs.

Chuck received his J.D., cum laude, from William Mitchell College of Law, his M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and his B.S. from St. Cloud University.

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