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Jessica Laural Portz Birken

Public finance and tax exempt finance Attorney at Minneapolis, MN

5.0   2 reviews

also known as Jess Birken, Jessica Birken

  • Licensed for 15 years
    State MN
    Acquired 2007
    Authorized to Practice No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Jessica

Learn Jessica’s areas of practice.

I am an attorney and consultant. I help nonprofits solve problems so they can stop worrying and focus on what matters most -- The Mission. In addition to my law degree I also hold a Masters in Nonprofit Management and worked in-house for several years. 

About me:

Hi, I’m Jess Birken.
I am the owner of Birken Law Office, I help nonprofits solve problems so they can quit worrying and get back to what matters most – The Work. I’m not like most attorneys, I actually have an outgoing personality, and – like you – I like to think outside the box. Most of my clients are passionate and have an entrepreneurial spirit. I’m like that too. My goal is to help you crush it. Getting bogged down in the minutia sucks the joy out of the important work. My clients want to do the work – not the paperwork.

My Credentials
BA, Sociology, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (2001)
JD, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Magna Cum Laude (2007)
MA, Nonprofit Management, Hamline University (2010)
Certified Transformative Mediator
Want more? Check out my LinkedIn profile.
My Biography
I am the former CEO & Managing Partner at Urban Birken PLLC, a boutique firm that specialized in serving the nonprofit community. I have worked with nonprofit organizations for most of my career.

Before becoming a private practice attorney, I spent four years inside a national nonprofit organization, Pheasants Forever.

I worked my way through law school and had the beginnings of a promising career in criminal law after graduation. However, I quickly realized that going to court is depressing! In court, the toothpaste is out of the tube and you’re just trying to clean up the mess. My colleagues reassured me I’d become callous and get used to the grim reality. But I thought that sounded like a terrible personal outcome and decided I needed to change course. I really missed the nonprofit sector. As a result, I went back to grad school and earned a Masters in Nonprofit Management. I rejoined the nonprofit sector through my work with Pheasants Forever where my role was a marriage of attorney work and federal grant management and administration.

Since that time, I have run my own firms. I’m now the owner of Birken Law Office a firm designed to help nonprofits and the arts.

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Contact Jessica

Birken Law Office PLLC
1400 Van Buren St. NE
Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN, 55413


5.0 / 5.0
  2 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Bonnie | September 11, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
K9s From Carrie
Jess has been fabulous from the beginning. We would not be where we are if not for her firm. She not only did what we needed her to do, she went above and beyond. Telling us next steps and what to be looking for was invaluable to our non profit business. K9s From Carrie
Posted by James | August 30, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
President - Brain Injury Resource Group
When it comes to NPO and law, you want Jess Birken. Prior to our NPO, we spoke with many from all over the area and found Jess to be the easiest to communicate with by far. Key with any relationship. Honest and forthright, which we prefer direct to the point conversations which is second only to her very impressive knowledge (and relations) on law and NPO's. Cost is always a factor for NPO's and compared to the twenty plus we spoke with, Birken Law was very reasonable. Since retaining her as sole counsel for our entity, we have found that she is worth her weight in gold! Whether you are a few individuals with a dream and a plan or an established, fully operational blessed org. You will find her integrity, knowledge, communication skills to be by far superior than the others in this marketplace. We spent the time doing our due diligence and would strongly recommend making the first appointment to be with Birken Law. You will be thankful you did. Jim
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  • Hourly Rates $ 350-350 per hour
  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • Birken Law Office
  • 2009 - Present
  • CEO & Managing Partner
  • Urban Birken
  • 2013 - 2016
  • Grants & Contracts Specialist
  • Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever
  • 2010 - 2013
  • Judicial Law Clerk, Hon. Krista K. Martin
  • 10th Judicial District State Of Minnesota
  • 2007 - 2008
View all work experience


  • Hamline University School of Business
  • MA - Masters
  • 2011
  • Hamline University School of Law
  • JD
  • 2007
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 2001

Legal Cases

  • Property Tax Application
  • Awarded property tax exemption
  • Buying a church
  • Successful closing with minimal issues
  • Nonprofit Startup
  • Income Tax Exemption Granted


  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
  • Associate Member
  • 2017 - Present
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Attorney Member
  • 2016 - Present
  • American Bar Association
  • Business Law Section, Nonprofit Committee Member
  • 2008 - Present
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Attorney Member
  • 2007 - Present
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Excellence Award - Advancing Innovation in the Profession
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • 2019
  • Teaming for Wildlife
  • Pheasants Forever
  • 2012
  • Magna Cum Laude
  • Hamline Univesity School of Law
  • 2007
  • Dean's Honors
  • Hamline University School of Law
  • 2007
  • Dean's Honors
  • Hamline University School of Law
  • 2005
  • Dean's Honors
  • Hamline University School of Law
  • 2004
  • CALI Award: Legal Writing
  • Hamline University School of Law
  • 2003
View all awards

Speaking Engagements

View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (3)
Given (6)
Endorse Jessica
Contracts and agreements Attorney | Mar 10
Relationship: Other
"First and foremost Jess genuinely cares about her clients and the community, and that engagement shines through all the work she does. She is extremely organized, so matters get handled quickly and accurately, and her clients always know where things stand. If you're looking for a great lawyer at a great value, definitely give Jess a call."
Government contracts Attorney | Aug 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse the work and service of Jess and Jen; She is a great attorney in our community and I am glad to be able to refer friends and clients. Thank you."
Government contracts Attorney | Aug 15
Relationship: Co-worker
"Not only is Jessica a pragmatic problem solver, but she is incredibly fun, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. Jessica is the absolute best at advising nonprofits about their government contracts, helping them with grant awards and related compliance, and assisting with environmentally-related land acquisitions. I would recommend her in a heartbeat!"
Public finance and tax exempt finance
Minneapolis Public finance and tax exempt finance Lawyer Jessica Laural Portz Birken
Jessica Laural Portz Birken
Public finance and tax exempt finance Attorney
Minneapolis, MN
Licensed for 15 years