January 19, 2022
13. Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher: Prosecuting Derek Chauvin (Part 1) - Preparation

In the first episode of Season 2, Jerry Blackwell and Steve Schleicher discuss the prosecution of Derek Chauvin with host Bibi Badejo. In the first of this two-part interview they discuss their careers as advocates and break down their strategies for preparing the case.


Jerry is the founding partner, CEO and chair of Blackwell Burke and is an award-winning corporate defence lawyer. He is also the founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.

Steve has also won several awards. He is a partner of Maslon LLP and his work focuses on high stakes criminal and civil litigation, government and internal investigations, and appellate practices.

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Jerry Blackwell

Jerry W. Blackwell is the founding partner, CEO and chairman of Blackwell Burke P.A. He serves as national and trial counsel for several major corporations, having represented them in federal and state courts in 47 states and internationally. He has nationwide experience defending class actions, toxic tort, commercial disputes, products liability, and other high stakes complex cases.

Further to the Derek Chauvin trial, in 2020, in tandem with the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, Jerry and his firm secured the first posthumous pardon in Minnesota history for Max Mason, a young black man who was wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in 1920.

Mr Blackwell is a founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL), a bar association that promotes the professional development of Black lawyers, judges and law students in Minnesota, and advances education, excellence and racial equity in the pursuit of justice. In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton appointed Mr Blackwell to serve as an at-large member of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Appointments. He served two terms until 2019.

Mr Blackwell is the recipient of numerous awards, including Minnesota Attorney of the Year, Benchmark Litigation Minnesota Litigation Star, BTI Client Service Super All Star, the National Bar Association Commercial Section Cora T. Walker Award, Minnesota Minority Business Owner of the Year, and Minnesota Super Lawyer.

Steve Schleicher

Steve L. Schleicher is a Partner of Maslon LLP and Co-Chair of the firm’s Government & Internal Investigations Group. Steve’s work focuses on high stakes criminal and civil litigation, government and internal investigations, and appellate practice. In his white collar criminal defense practice, Steve represents individuals accused of financial crimes involving health care, agriculture, and corporate embezzlement. His investigation practice includes high profile investigations of private security companies, and into government compliance on behalf of health care providers, including hospital systems and physicians.

Steve also served as a prosecutor on the Jacob Wetterling case in 2016, prosecuting Danny Heinrich on federal child pornography charges that led to his confession to Jacob’s kidnapping and murder as well as the recovery of his remains. Steve was recognised as an “Attorney of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer for his work.

As a former federal prosecutor, Steve worked for 13 years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, serving as the Deputy Criminal Chief of the Special Prosecution Section (2014- 2016). Steve also has experience in military courts, having served as a JAG Corps Officer in the United States Army Reserve for 10 years.

Steve has won a number of awards, including Minnesota State Bar Association North Star Lawyer of the Year for his extensive pro bono work, the Minnesota State Association of Narcotics Investigators Presidents Award, the Minnesota State Bar Association Public Law Section Julius E. Gernes Prosecutor Award, and the International Association of Arson Investigators (Minnesota Chapter) Arson Prosecutor of the Year.