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Reena I. Desai


Reena I. Desai is a partner at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, in the firm’s Minneapolis office.  She is a skilled and meticulous litigator, who has represented thousands of employees in class and collective actions to recover unpaid overtime, minimum wages, commissions, and other types of compensation.  Reena has also advocated for employees in cases involving race, age and disability discrimination.  She is a board member of a legal non-profit and frequently speaks at legal seminars and conferences across the country.

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Reena has dedicated the majority of her career to helping employees combat wage theft and recover unpaid overtime compensation, minimum wages, and other unpaid compensation.  She has represented employees in a variety of industries, including investigators, home health care workers, loan officers, mortgage underwriters, field service technicians, sales representatives, and restaurant workers.  Reena has also litigated discrimination cases on both a class and individual level, advocating for employees whose employers have discriminated against them because of their age, race or disability.

Reena has been asked to share her knowledge and experience with her peers, serving as a speaker at several national conferences. She has lectured on topics including wage and hour litigation, electronic discovery issues, attorney-client privilege and mediation/settlement.  Reena also serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Justice Foundation, a legal non-profit in Minnesota, and has been named a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers every year since 2014.

Reena graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2007, where she was honored with the Dorothy O. Lareau award for legal writing during her first year, and she earned a B.A. in both Economics and Psychology from George Washington University.

Admissions & Education

  • Minnesota Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - Colorado
  • U.S. District Court – District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Wisconsin
  • J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, 2007, cum laude
  • B.A. George Washington University, 2002, magna cum laude

Speaking Engagements & Publications

  • “The Future of Arbitrations,” 47th Annual Federal Practice Seminar, Federal Bar Association (FBA), Minneapolis, MN, June 2022.
  • “Wage and Hour Fundamentals,” 15th Annual American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Labor and Employment Law Conference, November 2021.
  • “Deposing Named Plaintiffs in Class Litigation: Leveraging Issues of Adequacy and Commonality,” Strafford Webinar, August 2021.
  • “Mass Individual Employment Arbitrations Post-Epic,” Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (ELI) Webcast Series, July 2021. 
  • “Maximizing Your Success in Collective and Class Wage and Hour Litigation,” National Employment Lawyers Association, Annual Convention, June 2021.
  • “The Classification of Workers,” National Employment Lawyers Association, Wage & Hour Conference, March 2021.
  • “Wage & Hour Update,” Practising Law Institute, Understanding Employment Law, New York, NY, March 2021.
  • “Best Practices for Court-Authorized Notice,” National Employment Lawyers Association, New York affiliate, October 2020.
  • “Epic Maneuvers: Litigation and Legislative Tactics in the World of Class Action Waivers,” Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute (ELI), September, 2020. 
  • “FLSA Regulations and Opinion Letters: the Latest from the DOL ,” American Bar Association CLE Webinar, April 2020.
  • “Wage & Hour Update,” PLI, Understanding Employment Law, New York, NY, March 2020.
  • “Current Trends and Topics in Arbitration Agreements and Class Action Waivers,” 2019 Labor and Employment Law Institute, Minneapolis, MN, November 2019.
  • “Interpreting and Enforcing the New Local and State Wage Theft Laws,” Hennepin County Bar Association, Minneapolis, MN, November 2019.
  • “Deposing Named Plaintiffs in Class Litigation: Leveraging Issues of Adequacy and Commonality,” Strafford Webinar, July 2019.
  • “Top Ten Practical ESI Pointers for Wage & Hour Lawyers,” National Employment Lawyers Association, Wage & Hour Conference, Denver, Colorado, April 2019.
  • “Wage & Hour Update,” PLI, Understanding Employment Law, New York, NY, April 2019.
  • “Attorney-Client Privilege in the Employee Benefits Context: The Fiduciary Exception,” MN CLE Advanced Employee Benefits Workshop, February 2019.
  • Attorney-Client Privilege: What Every Attorney Needs to Know, Exceptions to and Waiver of Privilege, Minnesota CLE, Author and Speaker, 2018.
  • “Managing ‘Individualized’ Discovery in FLSA Collective Actions,” National Employment Lawyers Association 2018 Annual Convention, Chicago, IL, June 2018.
  • “Wage & Hour Settlements: Developing Effective Strategies to Address Increased Hurdles and Judicial Scrutiny,” ACI’s National Wage & Hour Forum, New York, NY, June 2018.
  • “Wage & Hour Update,” PLI, Understanding Employment Law, New York, NY, April 2018.
  • “Compelling Issues at the Intersection of Class Actions and Arbitrations: Be Careful What You Wish For!” American Bar Association, Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) Committee Midwinter Meeting, Clearwater, FL, 2018.
  • “Deposing Named Plaintiffs in Class Litigation: Leveraging Issues of Adequacy and Commonality,” Strafford Webinar, January 2018.
  • “Money, Money, Money: How to Deal with Defendants’ Financial Condition Pre- & Post Bankruptcy,” National Employment Lawyers Association 2017 Annual Convention, San Antonio, TX, June 2017.
  • “Mediating and Resolving Class and Collective Claims: Getting from ‘No’ to ‘Si,’” American Bar Association, Employment Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) Committee Midwinter Meeting, Puerto Vallarta, 2017.
  • Contributing Author to the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, The Fair Labor Standards Act Treatise: Midwinter Supplement, 2011-2017.
  • “Deposing Named Plaintiffs in Class Litigation,” Strafford Webinar, December 2016.
  • “To Move or Not to Move: That is the Question,” National Employment Lawyers Association Summary Judgment Conference, Cincinnati, OH, October 2016.
  • “FLSA Settlements: From a Judge's, Plaintiff's & Defendant's Perspective,” Hennepin County Bar Association CLE, Minneapolis, MN, 2015.
  • “Authentication and Admissibility of Evidence,” National Business Institute Video Webcast, 2015.
  • “Federal E-Discovery and Evidence,” National Business Institute Video Webcast, 2015.
  • “Discovery and Applying the Rules of Evidence in Federal Court,” National Business Institute Video Webcast, 2014.
  • Panel Speaker at Employment and Labor Law Association Event, University of St. Thomas Law School, 2012-2013.
  • Panel Speaker at Employment Practitioner Event, University of Minnesota, 2009.
  • Panel Speaker at the University of Minnesota Civil Rights Conference, 2007.

Titles, Awards, & Memberships

  • Named one of “The Best Lawyers in America”, 2021 - 2022
  • Named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers, the National Trial Lawyers list, 2022
  • Adjunct Professor/Practitioner Instructor for Law in Practice course, University of Minnesota School of Law, Spring 2019 and 2020.
  • ABA Section of Labor & Employment, Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, Program Co-Chair, 2022
  • Named to Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers list, 2018-2022
  • Fair Labor Standards Act Committee Member for the Development of the Initial Discovery Protocols for FLSA Actions, 2017
  • Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession (DILP) Liaison for the ERR Standing Committee of the ABA Labor and Employment Section, 2018 - 2019
  • Named to the Rising Stars list, Minnesota Super Lawyers, Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, and Twin Cities Business, 2014 - 2020
  • Named to The Top Women Attorneys in Minnesota List, 2016 to 2019
  • Minnesota State Bar Association – Labor and Employment Law Section Member
  • National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) Member
  • Outstanding Achievement Award for Employment Discrimination Law, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2007
  • Dorothy O. Lareau Award, University of Minnesota, 2005

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