Kaarin Nelson Schaffer

Top rated Employment Litigation attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nelson Schaffer, PLLC
Kaarin Nelson Schaffer
Nelson Schaffer, PLLC

Practice Areas: Employment Litigation, Employment & Labor, Civil Rights; view more

Licensed in Minnesota since: 2006

Education: University of St. Thomas School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2024 Selected to Rising Stars: 2014 - 2018
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Nelson Schaffer, PLLC

222 S 9th St
Suite 1600
Minneapolis, MN 55402 Visit website


The founding attorney at Nelson Schaffer, PLLC, Kaarin Nelson Schaffer, focuses her practice exclusively on employment law matters. She represents clients throughout the Twin Cities area and across the state from the firm’s offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She confines her practice to the representation of current, past and prospective employees. Her cases have included discrimination that is prohibited by various state and federal laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Minnesota Human Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, among others.

Ms. Schaffer has also assisted victims of workplace sexual harassment, and she has represented people who have been the subject of wrongful termination or other acts of unlawful retaliation. She has tried many cases through jury verdicts in favor of her clients and has also been able to negotiate favorable settlements, resulting in millions of dollars in compensation.

As an undergraduate at Boston College, Ms. Schaffer majored in sociology and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2001. After obtaining a Master of Arts in criminal justice summa cum laude from Suffolk University in 2002, she moved to Minnesota for her legal education at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and in 2006, she was awarded her Juris Doctor cum laude.

Ms. Schaffer’s successful track record both in and out of the courtroom has earned her a great deal of positive recognition from her colleagues. She was recently named 2021 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer. She has received a 10.0 “Superb” rating through Avvo, and she has been named both The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 and The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100. Ms. Schaffer has delivered numerous presentations to fellow attorneys on topics related to her practice area, and she has had several articles published as well.

Practice areas

Employment Litigation: Plaintiff, Employment & Labor: Employee, Civil Rights

Focus areas

Americans with Disabilities Act, Disability, Discrimination, Employment Discrimination, Employment Law - Employee, Race Discrimination, Retaliation, Sexual Harassment, Whistleblower, Wrongful Termination

First Admitted: 2006, Minnesota

Professional Webpage: https://www.nelsonschaffer.com/our-team

Educational Background:
  • BA - Boston College, Master - Suffolk University (Boston, MA)
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100
  • Minnesota Association for Justice
  • National Employment Lawyers Association, Minnesota Chapter
  • Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Labor & Employment Law Section
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Innocence Project of Minnesota, Board Member
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Avoiding 10 Leave Mistakes Employers Make--A Plaintiffs' Attorney Perspective, Minnesota CLE, Presenter, Oct. 30, 2018, 2018
  • Discussion about claims that have or will likely arise in the employment context related to COVID-19., Presenter, COVID Legal Claims - Plaintiff Attorney Analysis, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2020
  • Discussion about best practices for training for employers and how you can tell whether it works. This also included discussions about training related to COVID-19., Presenter, Open Forum on Workplace Training Best Practices, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2020
  • Presented strategies for overcoming and winning summary judgment in sexual harassment cases. , Panelist with Cynthia Bremer and Lawrence Schaefer, Strategies for Summary Judgment in Sexual Harassment Cases, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2019
  • Court Sanctioned Permission to Sexually Harass?, Minnesota Trial Magazine, Author, Winter 2019
  • An article about issues to consider when determining whether to take on a plaintiff's employment case., Author, Should You Take an Employment Case?, Nevada Justice Association's Advocate Magazine, 2019
  • Considerations and Strategies for Pregnancy Related Litigation, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist, May 23, 2017
  • Should You Take an Employment Case?, Minnesota Trial Magazine, Author, Fall 2018, 2018
  • An article about issues to consider when determining whether to take on a plaintiff's employment case., Writer, Should You Take an Employment Case?, Minnesota Trial: The Journal of Minnesota Association for Justice, Trial Attorneys, 2018
  • Discussed mistakes employers often make when an employee needs to take medical leave., Speaker, Taking Attendance: Workplace Leave Seminar, Minnesota State Bar Association, Employment Attorneys, 2018
  • Plaintiff & Defense Perspectives and Practice Pointers for Litigating Pregnancy Discrimination Claims, Pregnancy Accommodation and Non-Discrimination Handbook Chapter, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Co-Author, 2017
  • LaPoint, Sanchez, and Friedlander – Good News from the Minnesota Supreme Court… And How to Keep It That Way, Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association, Panelist, Sept. 12, 2017
  • Supremely Unique: Significant Supreme Court Opinions in 2016 – Fall 2016, University of St. Thomas, Presenter
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Update, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist, 2016
  • Felony Disenfranchisement: Why 5 Million Americans Can’t Vote This November, Bench & Bar of Minnesota, Co-Author, October, mnbenchbar.com/2012/10/felony-disenfranchisement/, 2012
  • What’s the Harm? - Evaluating and Proving Damages, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, Panelist with Sheila Engelmeier, Anna Prakash and Brian Rochel, 2018
  • Non-Compete Agreements, Interview with WCCO Radio’s Jearlyn Steele, Aug. 18, 2018
  • Sexual Harassment in Employment, Interview with WCCO Radio’s Esme Murphy, Dec. 2, 2017
  • Sexual Harassment, Harvey Weinstein and Non-Disclosure Agreements, Interview with WCCO Radio, Oct. 21, 2017
Representative Clients:
  • Brooke Johnson v. Dakota County Jury Trial, 2019
  • Weber v. CenturyLink, Embarq, and Robert Lundquist, 62-CV-17-499 (Dist. Ct. Minn. July 31, 2018) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all of plaintiff’s claims for discrimination and retaliation because genuine issues of material fact existed as to why plaintiff’s was terminated), 2018
  • Jennifer Winkelman v. Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, 27-CV-15-2015 (Dist. Ct. Minn. Dec. 7, 2015) (denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims for disability discrimination and FMLA retaliation because genuine issues of material fact exited as to whether defendant’s reasons for termination were pretext), 2015
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • Won whistleblower jury trial in Dakota County., 2019
  • Settled multiple employment law disputes with settlement values exceeding $1 million, including claims of sexual harassment under the Minnesota Human Rights Act and whistleblower retaliation under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act.
  • Tried more than a dozen civil and criminal jury trials to verdict.

Office location for Kaarin Nelson Schaffer

222 S 9th St
Suite 1600
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Phone: 612-247-5643


6 Years Super Lawyers
5 Years Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2019 - 2024
  • Rising Stars: 2014 - 2018

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