Karla M. Vehrs


Tel 612.371.2449
Fax 612.371.3207

Karla M. Vehrs is a partner in Ballard Spahr's Litigation Department and Managing Partner of the Minneapolis office. Karla is a trusted advisor and zealous advocate of clients in the manufacturing, real estate, and financial services industries. Known for her leadership and professionalism, Karla works to resolve disputes in common sense ways that achieve clients' legal goals and make good business sense. In addition to managing complex litigation, Karla serves as outside counsel to numerous manufacturing clients on challenging day-to-day issues. Drawing on her diverse experience, clients value the clarity and practicality of Karla's advice and advocacy.

Karla serves on the board of Pinky Swear Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides support to families experiencing childhood cancer, and is responsible for the board's strategic planning and governance initiatives. In addition, Karla volunteers as a pro bono lawyer for immigrants who have been the victims of crimes, human rights abuses, and trafficking.

Representative Matters


  • Led a trial team to a successful defense verdict in jury trial on behalf of manufacturing client facing multimillion-dollar claims from foreign sales agent
  • Obtained dismissal of numerous franchise-related claims on behalf of purported franchisor clients in disputes over establishment of would-be franchisees' businesses
  • Obtained favorable summary judgment ruling from federal district court on behalf of manufacturer plaintiff in complex commercial breach-of-warranty dispute
  • Regularly represents manufacturers in connection with dealer and distribution agreements, supply agreements, and third-party manufacturing agreements with domestic and foreign counterparts

Real Estate

  • Successfully resolved lawsuit brought by commercial tenant related to allegations against broker and landlord during lease negotiation
  • Prevailed on behalf of property owner clients in complex bankruptcy adversary proceeding and appeal involving issues related to alleged post-petition transfers and violations of the automatic stay
  • Obtained dismissal of putative consumer class action claims targeting utility fees paid by residential tenants, and defended and strengthened favorable ruling on appeal
  • Obtained appellate ruling upholding trial court judgment in boundary and title dispute case
  • Obtained successful trial ruling dismissing mechanic's lien claims of former construction project manager
  • Successfully advocated for national liquor retailer in obtaining local liquor licenses in Minnesota over vocal objections by competitors
  • Prevailed on behalf of telecommunications client in zoning and environmental-related appeal challenging client's ability to construct important addition to its infrastructure
  • Obtained ideal outcome in boundary-dispute trial in case involving interpretation of 19th century plat and complex historical record

Financial Services

  • Successfully prosecuted fraud claim against ESOP services provider stemming from conflicts of interest and excessive billing
  • Won a judgment in excess of $1 million following federal trial against borrowers for mortgage fraud, and successfully defended result in subsequent appeal
  • Succeeded in obtaining dismissal of tort claims against commercial loan broker over allegations that failed loan application caused would-be borrower substantial penalties with existing lender
  • Represented bank client in multi-faceted civil and criminal matter involving international check and wire fraud

Professional Activities

American Bar Association

Minnesota State Bar Association

Hennepin County Bar Association

Minnesota Women Lawyers

Recognition & Accomplishments

Named to The Business Journals' 2019 Influencers: Law list, which spotlights attorneys who are driving business for their employers, and for their clients, in cities across the country

Named to Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's 2019 "40 Under 40" list, in recognition of professional excellence and outstanding community involvement

Minnesota Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2012-2018; Top Women Attorneys in Minnesota, 2016

Minnesota Lawyer, Up and Coming Attorney, 2013

North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2014

Leonard E. Lindquist Pro Bono Award, 2008

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "Arbitration Today: the Trends, Pros, and Cons," Recent Trends in Government Investigations and Arbitrations, Ballard Spahr CLE, October 1, 2018

"Knowledge Sharing: How to Leverage the Leadership Experience of Your Fellow Members," TAGLaw Panel, Paris, France, May 5, 2017

"Enforcing Contracts in the Digital Age," TAGLaw Panel, Washington, D.C., October 25, 2016

Moderator, "Overcome and Lead," Access to Leadership event, June 1, 2016

Cross-Border Dispute Resolution," TAGLaw Panel, Edinburgh, Scotland, May 1, 2015

"Mid-Year Real Property Case Law Update," Hennepin County Bar Association, June 1, 2014

"Creating Distribution Networks that Work! Managing Franchise, Dealership, Distributorship and Sales Representative Relationships," Minnesota CLE, May 1, 2012

"Mid-Year Real Property Case Law Update," Hennepin County Bar Association, May 1, 2012

"MSBA Real Estate Institute – Case Law Update" Panel, January 1, 2012

"Mechanic's Liens and Lien Avoidance," Lindquist & Vennum Construction & Development Law Forum, May 1, 2011

"MSBA Real Estate Institute – Case Law Update" Panel, January 1, 2011

"MSBA Real Estate Institute – Case Law Update" Panel, January 1, 2010

Community Activities

Agent for University of Minnesota Law School Partners at Work annual fundraising campaign

Minnesota State Bar Association, Real Property Legislative Committee, 2007-2013

Leadership Twin Cities, Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, 2010-2011

The Advocates for Human Rights, Intern, 2004-2005, and Pro Bono Volunteer

Minnesota AIDS Project, volunteer, 2006

Board Memberships

Pinky Swear Foundation, Chair of Strategy and Governance Committee

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. 2006, magna cum laude)
Minnesota Law Review

University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.A. 2002)






U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit