We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.
Who's the best lawyer in Minnesota?
You’re asking the wrong question – you should be asking: “Who is the best employment Lawyer for me?”
For better or worse, there’s no ranking system for lawyers that rates them from best to worst. It would be impossible to do, because different lawyers are good at different things. You may be in pain right now looking for someone to help you, and of course you want the best person out there. But, in reality, you should be looking for the best lawyer for you.
What that means is that you need to find the lawyer best suited and equipped to meet your unique goals for litigation. For example, maybe you just want a quick settlement or pay-out, and don’t want to go through litigation. You’ll need a lawyer with a different skillset than another employee who may want to proceed with litigation and even trial. On the other hand, some people want a lawyer that acts as their counselor and friend, and will listen to them and talk to them about their problems and distress, just like a friend. That takes a different skillset.
Also, just as important, you want to find a lawyer that you can trust. This is a really important part of your life that you’re going to be entrusting to someone. Litigation can take a long time, and it often consists of periods of intense activity (written discovery, depositions, motions) followed by long periods of inactivity. You need to be able to sleep at night knowing that you’ve got someone that you trust on the job, so you don’t need to worry about it all the time.
That’s why it’s important for you to interview at least 2-3 lawyers before you make a decision. Do your research on-line, look at reviews, and meet face to face with the lawyers. Then make a decision as to who you trust to handle this for you.
We’re a trial firm. We excel at trying cases to juries. In fact, other employment lawyers often come to us in the weeks and months before trial and ask us to try their cases for them. We’re honored to do it.
We are not a quick settlement or fast “pay-out” shop. There are some firms that excel at that – they take hundreds of cases with the goal of settling each of them very quickly. If that’s what you’re looking for, candidly: we’re not the best employment lawyers for you.
We take on far fewer cases than many firms, because we want to work them up: we’ll do extensive discovery, take lots of depositions, and prove up the case to a point where it will get past the defense summary judgment motion. That adds a tremendous amount of value to the case: cases generally settle for much larger amounts after summary judgment because many employers do not want to go to trial. And, if the employer wants to go to trial – that’s even better. We only take cases that we believe we can win at trial. If you are someone who’s willing to invest the time in your case to let it go through litigation – and you don’t mind a little risk in order to obtain larger value for your case – we may be a great fit for you.
It depends. Honestly, they don’t mean much if you haven’t thought about “Who is the best employment lawyer for me?” You need to think about your goals and what you want from your lawyer. That will help you in your search. You also should make sure to get a lawyer that you trust – that you feel confident in, and who makes you feel comfortable about your case while always being honest with you.
THE MADIA WAY
We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients.
We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely. We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case. We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well. We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case. We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial.
Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward. Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.
If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit. Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required. We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points. Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims. A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations. Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.
Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions. Not us. Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity. We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case. Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections. We view this as a wonderful opportunity. In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on. We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t. The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts. We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny. Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true. And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA. That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.
One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery. We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery. This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses. This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.
This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible. So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true. That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes. We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is. We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.
The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases. We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery. We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.
Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.
After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.
This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries. We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials. At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct. As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.