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James H. Kaster


James H. Kaster has been widely recognized by the legal community for his abilities as both a trial lawyer and an employment lawyer. He was ranked by Chambers USA as number one among plaintiff’s employment lawyers in the state of Minnesota. He has also been named to the Super Lawyers list in Minnesota year after year and was selected as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the state by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics.

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Jim was also selected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the premier professional trial organization in America whose membership is limited to 1% of the trial lawyers in any state or province. Finally, he was selected to be a Fellow in the prestigious National College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, an organization with an exclusive membership of leading labor and employment lawyers nationwide.

Jim is an eloquent and persuasive speaker with the unique ability to present his arguments in a manner that is easily understood by juries and judges. He has tried well over 100 cases to verdict or decision, including representing Kevin Kasten in the successful U.S. Supreme Court case, Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation, which set a new standard for retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. His success in the courtroom includes earning many million dollar and multi-million dollar recoveries. He has also lectured frequently in front of local, state, and national organizations on damage recovery and trial skills, as well as many other legal topics.

Jim has been involved in a wide variety of individual and class action cases. His remarkable combination of skills as a trial lawyer gives him a unique edge in effectively representing individuals and groups of employees.

Admissions & Education

  • United States Supreme Court
  • California Supreme Court
  • Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • 1st Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court – Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court – Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court – Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court – Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court - District of Colorado
  • Court of Federal Claims
  • J.D. Marquette University, 1979
  • B.A. Marquette University, 1976

Speaking Engagements & Publications

  • Co-Presenter, “Learn Important Lessons Watching These Mock Trials” 2018 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2018
  • Co-Presenter “Incorporating Deposition Testimony Into a Winning Trial Strategy,” National Employment Lawyers Association webinar, November 2016
  • Co-Presenter “Learn by Watching These Mock Juries – See How They Decide Cases,” Solo & Small Firms 2016 Conference, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, August 2016.
  • Co-Presenter “The Key Discovery Battles in Employment Law Litigation,” National Employment Lawyers Association, June 2016.
  • Co-Presenter “Watch and Learn from New Mock Trials and the Jury Reactions,” 2016 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2016.
  • Co-Presenter “Compensatory Damages in Employment Law Cases – the Legal Backdrop and Practice Strategies,” 2016 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2016.
  • Co-Presenter “Enhanced Damages (Punitive and Liquidated) in Employment Law Litigation,” 2016 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2016.
  • Co-Presenter “Federal Rail Safety Act,” Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys, May 2016.
  • Co-Presenter “Litigating Employment Claims: Strategies From Both Sides of the Aisle,” NBI, Inc., November 2015.
  • Trial Boot Camp Presenter and Trial Team Leader, "Opening Statements: Setting the Stage for Your Client’s Story,” National Employment Lawyers Association Trial Boot Camp, October 2015.
  • “Trial Strategies,” Nebraska NELA Employment Law Conference, September 2015.
  • "Lessons Learned in 38 Years of Plaintiff Practice – a One-on-One With Mike Fox," 2015 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2015.
  • "The Key Discovery Battles in Today’s Employment Law Litigation – Where the Rubber Meets the Road," Moderator, 2015 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2015.
  • "Federal Whistleblower Claims and Litigation – Protections for Workers and Defenses for Employers," Moderator, 2015 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2015.
  • "Mock Trials – Watch and Learn From Actual Mock Trials and Jury Reactions", Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2014
  • "It Isn’t Just About Title VII: Retaliation Claims Under Other Federal Statutes", NELA Conference, October 2013
  • "Lessons Learned from Mock Trials", NELA Conference, June 2013
  • "The Lessons of Mock Trials", Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2013
  • "Doing Well by Doing Good: Fulfilling the Promise of the FLSA", NELA Conference, March 2013
  • “Whistleblowing and Retaliation: New Claims and Expanding Risk.” ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and Center for Professional Development Webinar, 2013.
  • Co-Author to the Minnesota Trial Lawyer, United We Stand: Immigrant Labor and the Law (Vol. 31, No. 3, Summer 2006).
  • Author to the Minnesota Trial Lawyer, Rule 35 Mental Health Evaluation in Sexual Harassment Cases (Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 2006).
  • "Information is Power: Using Websites, Internet Resources and Public Records", NELA Convention (July 2011)
  • "The Nuts and Bolts of Mock Trials." Minnesota NELA Presentation, 2011.
  • "Combatting Retaliation and Other Efforts to Chill Participation in Wage & Hour Litigation." NELA Conference, 2011.
  • "Putting up with Dukes: Class Action Fights the Remain After Dukes v. Wal-Mart." MN CLE, 2011.
  • "Wage and Hour Caselaw Primer: Staying Abreast of Current Cases that Have Major Implications on the Litigation Landscape." ACI Conference, 2011.
  • "Risk Factors for Employers in FLSA Cases." ACI Conference, 2011.
  • "Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation: The New FLSA Retaliation Standard." MN CLE, 2011.
  • "The Prima Facie Case for Retaliation and Whistleblower Claims: Analyzing Case Law Trends Since 2006." Upper Midwest ELI, 2011.
  • "Story Telling on Closing Arguments: Proper Use for Logos, Ethos, and Pathos." NELA Conference, 2011.
  • "Cutting-Edge and Re-emerging Disparate Impact Issues." Labor & Employment Law Institute, 2010.
  • "Perfect Witness—But for the witness, I would have won the case." ABA Labor & Employment Law Conference, 2010.
  • "Discovery in a Plaintiff’s Employment Practice." NELA Annual Convention, 2010.
  • "Strategic Case and Trial Planning. Upper Midwest ELI, 2010.
  • "Making and Building Your Reputation in the Practice of Law." New Lawyers Experience Keynote Speaker, 2010.
  • "Planning the Case, Choosing the Theme." Upper Midwest ELI, 2009.
  • "Closing the Deal." Upper Midwest ELI, 2009.
  • "Negotiating and Litigating with the EEOC." Labor & Employment Law Institute, 2008.
  • "Bringing and Defending Age Discrimination Claims." Upper Midwest ELI, 2008.
  • "Advanced Trial Practice: Plaintiff’s Panel on Winning the Retaliation Case." Upper Midwest ELI, 2008 .
  • "Opening Statements." NELA Trial Practice Seminar, 2008.
  • "A View from the Bench: Trial & Appellate Advocacy." NELA Annual Convention, 2007.
  • "The Discovery Exchange." NELA Annual Convention, 2007.
  • "Everyday Ethics." Lorman Education Services, 2007.
  • "Confessions of a Plaintiffs' Lawyer." Upper Midwest ELI, 2007.
  • "Getting and Keeping Punitive Damages." Employment Rights Section, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 17th Annual National NELA Convention, 2006.
  • "Advanced Trial Practice-Impact Litigation." Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2006.
  • "Advanced Trial Practice—The Strategic Litigator." Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2006.
  • "Accommodating Disabilities & Family and Medical Leaves in the Workplace:Setting the Stage and Closing the Deal." Opening & Closing Statements, National Employment Lawyers Association, NELA Spring Seminar, 2006.
  • "Advanced Trial Practice—Focusing on the Secrets for Winning or Losing at Trial." Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2005.
  • "Advanced Trial Practice—Focus on how the Harassment Case is Won or Lost." Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, 2005.

Titles, Awards, & Memberships

  • Named to the Super Lawyers list, Minnesota Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, and Twin Cities Business, 2014 - 2019
  • Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys
  • Past President of the National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Named to the Super Lawyers list, Minnesota Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, and Twin Cities Business (2nd Top Point Getter in 2008)
  • Certified Civil Trial Specialist
  • College of Labor & Employment Law, Fellow
  • A.V. Rating, Martindale Hubbell
  • Named to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers list, 2018-2019
  • Named Lawyer of the Year 2011 in Labor & Employment Law Best Lawyers in America®
  • Named one of “The Best Lawyers in America”
  • Named one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in the State of Minnesota”
  • Named one of “Top 40 Employment Law Lawyers”
  • Named a “Top Lawyer,” Mpls./St. Paul Magazine
  • Named in “Who’s Who in Employment Law,” Minnesota Law and Politics
  • Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers Association Member
  • American College of Trial Lawyers Member
  • California State Bar Association Member
  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers Member
  • Hennepin County State Bar Association Member
  • Law and Leading Attorneys Member
  • Minnesota National Employment Lawyers Association Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association Member
  • Wisconsin State Bar Association Member

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