John W. Lang




Assistant: Shawna Spindler



John focuses his practice on real estate (tax deferral and avoidance strategies), corporate law, mergers, acquisitions, estate planning and trusts and estates. John is a Certified Real Property Law Specialist, certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association; this, along with his extensive training as a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and 37 years of experience practicing law, allows him to quickly size up the complex issues often found in real estate, tax and business transactions. John is also well-versed in opportunity zone investments and Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, a specialized legal mechanism that allows property owners to sell and exchange appreciated real estate holdings while deferring related taxes. He focuses his practice on finding creative, timely, and cost efficient solutions to complex legal problems involving transaction related business issues.

John is a Qualified Neutral Arbitrator and Mediator, as well as a Real Property Law Specialist, certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association. Mr. Lang is a member of the Hennepin County, Minnesota State, Wisconsin State, and American Bar Associations. He is licensed to practice in all Minnesota courts, including Federal Bankruptcy Court and Federal District Court, Federal Tax Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as in Wisconsin. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) (inactive).

John served as President of Messerli Kramer from 2001-2004 and again from 2012-2019. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Messerli Kramer, as well as on many committees on behalf of the firm and on the Board of Directors of the Messerli Kramer Foundation.

Representative Experience
  • Represented National Homebuilder in condemnation proceeding,  achieving an additional $1 million settlement in excess of the initial offer made by the governmental agency.

  • Represented hotel developer in formation of a private REIT and closing on a CMBS loan of $45 million.

  • Represented closely held corporation and its owners in negotiating and selling one of its divisions to a publicly held company for over $100 million, which included significant real estate holdings and landfill operations.

  • Represented numerous clients and their member entities in the structural reorganization of limited liability companies in order to effectuate various IRC Section 1031 exchanges for the sale of over $90 million in real estate by using various techniques coordinated with section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, adding additional flexibility in the acquisition of various replacement properties.

  • Represented numerous estates with significant real estate holdings and adverse parties, including half siblings, estranged spouses and un-related significant others in mediating and resolving disputes, liquidating property and closing the estates by counseling all parties to be efficient with legal fees.

  • Represented numerous clients with IRC Section 1031 exchanges, transferring an entity’s property to a related entity constructed building, leased and repurchased the property using proceeds from the sale of relinquished properties in tax deferred exchange transactions.

  • Represented numerous clients in IRC Section 1031 tax deferred exchange transactions, including reorganizing entities by distributing assets in Tenancy in Common structures in order to effectuate the exchanges.

  • Represented many sponsors in syndicated IRC Section 1031 exchange structures by using Tenancy in Common and Delaware Statutory Trusts.

Publications & Presentations


  • Co-Presenter, “Nine Deadly Sins of 1031 Exchanges” – Eagle Branch of Home Federal, March 2017
  • Co-Presenter, “Nine Deadly Sins of 1031 Exchanges” – Webinar, November 2016
  • Co-Presenter, “Complicated 1031 Exchanges: Case Studies” – Commercial Real Estate Forum, June 2016
  • Co-Presenter, “1031 Complexities (Deep in the Weeds)” – 1031 Road Show, April 2016
Professional & Community


  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit


  • Certified Real Property Law Specialist by the Real Property Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association

  • Qualified Neutral Arbitrator and Mediator by the Minnesota Supreme Court

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) (Inactive)


  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Eminent Domain Section; Probate and Trust Law Section; Real Property Law Section, Member

  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Member

  • Wisconsin State Bar Association, Member