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Clayton D. Halunen

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Employment Litigation Attorney in Minneapolis, MN

Halunen Law
80 South Eighth Street, Suite 1650
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: 612-605-4098
Fax: 612-605-4099
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2003 - 2022
Licensed in Minnesota Since: 1991
Practice Areas: Employment Litigation: Plaintiff (50%), Employment & Labor: Employee (20%), Class Action/Mass Torts: Plaintiff (10%), Health Care (10%), Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (10%)
Attorney Profile

Clayton Halunen is the founder of Halunen Law, representing employees, consumers, and whistleblowers in individual, and qui tam, and class actions. Under his leadership, Halunen Law has achieved a national reputation as a fearless, tenacious and successful plaintiffs' law firm, bringing a laser focus on delivering justice for its clients and creating meaningful social change.

Halunen's passion for his work took root early while growing up in northern Minnesota, and each of his parents experienced the repercussions of discrimination. Those experiences fueled his determination both to assure that all people are treated with decency and respect for their human rights, and to hold businesses accountable for illegal conduct.

After more than 20 years of practice, Halunen has successfully tried to verdict employee discrimination, harassment and whistleblower cases. He has litigated and won countless high-profile cases that have significantly altered corporate practices and garnered millions of dollars in awards and settlements for his clients.

In the fall of 2013, Halunen represented Heidi Weber, former dean of the Globe University Minnesota Medical Assistant Program. Webber alleged that the for-profit university had dismissed her for exposing unlawful and unethical practices at the school, including consumer fraud. Halunen obtained a judgment for Weber in excess of $1 million. His efforts were followed up by the Minnesota Attorney General's office, which subsequently brought a consumer fraud lawsuit against the school. The case was featured on the CBS television series Whistleblower in the fall of 2018.

In 2017, Halunen represented Lt. Elisa Umpierre in a $1 million settlement against the Rochester Minnesota Police Department. The suit alleged discrimination and retaliation against Lt. Umpierre after she expressed on Facebook her support of the Standing Rock protesters and criticized excessive force by police at the protests.

Also in 2017, Halunen played a pivotal role with a team of attorneys who successfully represented James Friedlander in a whistleblower case heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The case clarified Minnesota legislative policy that a "good faith" report essentially must be truthful, creating a clearer path for whistleblowers to make their claims, while holding employers accountable for illegal conduct and preventing them from relying on technicalities to escape liability.

Halunen's representation of Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, during the team's investigation of Kluwe's allegations of homophobic comments by a Vikings coach in 2014, was instrumental in achieving a historic settlement advancing LGBT rights in professional sports. As a result of the case, the Vikings organization agreed to make substantial contributions to several local and national LGBT-related organizations and host the first-ever professional sports LGBT summit. The event brought together gay athletes and advocates with sports management representatives and others for day-long event and panel discussions on creating greater inclusivity in sports at all levels.

Halunen was also counsel for a whistleblower in one of the largest qui tam settlements against a drug company-$1.5 billion. The case against Abbot Labs involved several whistleblowers who spoke out against the promotion of the prescription drug Depakote for uses that had not been approved by the FDA. The company was accused of marketing the drug "off-label," including for nursing home-patients, persons with schizophrenia, as well as for children, and providing kickbacks to medical providers who prescribed the medication.

Halunen has gained national recognition for his class action work, including leadership positions in a number of prominent nationwide cases. He has litigated class actions in such areas as employee misclassification, defective products, product mislabeling, and consumer fraud.

Widely respected for his success, Halunen is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards acknowledging his professional acumen and advocacy. In 2018, as a recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal's Business of Pride Award, Halunen was recognized for his leadership within the LGBT and business communities. He was named one of the Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer in 2014 and 2017 and has been selected to the Minnesota Super Lawyers list for 15 consecutive years. Halunen is featured in several news publications and articles including "A Whistleblower's Best Friend" in the 2015 August issue of Super Lawyers Magazine.

Says Halunen, "I am so fortunate to do this work every day with courageous clients and a team of the most capable and dedicated motivated attorneys and staff. Our client's courage coupled with our attorneys' expertise, has resulted in exceptional outcomes."

Practice Areas
  • 50%Employment Litigation: Plaintiff
  • 20%Employment & Labor: Employee
  • 10%Class Action/Mass Torts: Plaintiff
  • 10%Health Care
  • 10%Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
Focus Areas

Employment Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, Retaliation, Employment Law - Employer, Employment Law - Employee, Wage & Hour Laws, Whistleblower, Sexual Harassment, Labor Law, Class Actions, Nursing Home, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Slip and Fall, Wrongful Death, Trucking Accidents


20 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2003 - 2022

Certificates and Credentials

Articles about Clayton D. Halunen appearing in Super Lawyers

About Clayton D. Halunen

First Admitted: 1991, Minnesota

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit- Admission, 2003
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association- Minnesota Chapter- Board of Directors
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota- Admission, 1994
  • Member, Taxpayers Against Fraud
  • Minnesota Association of Justice- Board of Governors, 2015
  • Minnesota Supreme Court- Bar Admission, 1991
  • Member, National Employment Lawyers Association
  • U.S. District Court- Northern District of Illinois- Admission, 2004

Educational Background

  • North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, B.S., Psychology

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Labor and Employment Law Specialist- Minnesota State Bar Association, 2012


  • In 2017, Halunen represented Lt. Elisa Umpierre in a $1 million settlement against the Rochester Minnesota Police Department. The suit alleged discrimination and retaliation against Lt. Umpierre after she expressed on Facebook her support of the Standing Rock protesters and criticized excessive force by police at the protests., 2017

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Clayton Halunen and his client Heidi Weber were featured in CBS television series Whistleblower. “The Case Against Globe University” episode had more than 2 million viewers and brought national attention to this important case, 2018
  • Top 100 Trial Attorneys, 2014


  • The selection of 30 attorneys made by Minnesota Lawyer resulted from deep reporting by their editorial team. This included interviews with respected attorneys and others around the state, as well as a review of the outcomes of significant cases handled by these attorneys. Clayton is a preeminent employment attorney in Minnesota., The Power 30, Minnesota Lawyer , 2021
  • Recognized as one the best employment attorneys in Chicago, Expertise, 2021, Best Employment Lawyers in Chicago, Expertise, 2021
  • Minnesota Super Lawyer, Super Lawyer Magazine, 2003 - Present, Super Lawyers, 2021
  • Named to Who's Who in Minnesota Employment Law
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, since 2014, The National Trial Lawyers, 2021
  • Attorneys of the Year, Minnesota Lawyers, 2014, Minnesota Lawyers, 2014
  • Minnesota Attorney of the Month, Attorney at Law Magazine, October 2016, Minnesota Attorney of the Month, Attorney at Law Magazine, 2016
  • One of the Attorneys of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2017, Attorneys of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2017
  • Business of Pride Award, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 2018, Business of Pride Award, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 2018
  • Minnesota Lawyer, 2014
  • Voted by his peers as the Top 5% of Attorneys as reported by Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Labor and Employment, 2013-2015, Lead Counsel Rated, Lead Counsel Review Board
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Office Location for Clayton D. Halunen

80 South Eighth Street
Suite 1650
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 612-605-4098

Fax: 612-605-4099

Last Updated: 1/4/2022

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