About Don

DON Mcneil | MCNEIL MEDIATION

About Don

MCNEIL MEDIATION

Who is Don McNeil?

Donald R. McNeil is known for bringing experience, tenacity and ingenuity to his work as a mediator and arbitrator. “I always recommend mediation before going to arbitration or trial, with a limited number of exceptions, and you will find that judges in this state require a settlement conference. Studies have shown that 80-85% of cases will find a way to settle.” His work as a mediator resulted in being nominated and accepted to the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. He is also on the roster of Rule 114 Neutrals in Minnesota and a frequent speaker on mediation topics.

Who is Don McNeil?

 
Donald R. McNeil is known for bringing experience, tenacity and ingenuity to his work as a mediator and arbitrator. “I always recommend mediation before going to arbitration or trial, with a limited number of exceptions, and you will find that judges in this state require a settlement conference. Studies have shown that 80-85% of cases will find a way to settle.” His work as a mediator resulted in being nominated and accepted to the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. He is also on the roster of Rule 114 Neutrals in Minnesota and a frequent speaker on mediation topics.

Don McNeil with his office colleagues

Don also maintains a law practice and regularly appears before FINRA, where he represents customers, as well as registered representatives in employment and regulatory matters. Don is also a FINRA arbitrator. He is a recognized authority on matters pertaining to securities arbitration.

For more than three decades, McNeil represented parties in business lawsuits and arbitration, including non-competition matters, closely held shareholder disputes, collection disputes, management disputes, discrimination lawsuits, real estate matters, commercial landlord tenant matters, officer and director litigation, and regulatory issues. The Minnesota Law and Politics magazine recognizes Don as a SuperLawyer and Top 40 Business Litigator. He received the top rating possible from a national legal reviewer. Don is also a Minnesota State Bar Association Certified Civil Trial Specialist.

Don’s Family

Don and his wife, Julie have three children: Megan, Evan and Ethan. Megan was born with Williams syndrome and often works at Don’s law office. Evan is a neurosurgical resident in Boston. Ethan has classic nonverbal autism.

The McNeils care for their two disabled adult children at home and are actively involved in public policy making for children and adults with disabilities.

“My wife, Julie, is a superstar. She gives our children the best possible life. Our children each make strides in their own way, and we are proud of what they are able to do.”

Don’s Education & Experience

Education

  • Juris Doctorate (High Honors), Mitchell Hamline School of Law (graduated third in class)
    • Managing Editor and Special Editor for the “Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Symposium”, Law Review
  • B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, with honors; “wanna be” Olympic trackster in 400 meters

Certifications

Civil Trial Specialist, as certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association

Admitted to Practice

  • Minnesota
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for Seventh, Eighth and Federal Circuits
  • United States District Court for District of Minnesota
  • United States District Court for Western District of Wisconsin
Publications
  • Speaker and Chair:  Annual MSBA Civil Trial Specialist (CLE 2023) 
  • Speaker: “How to Build a Successful Mediation Practice” (CLE 2023) 
  • Speaker: “Certified Civil Mediation Skills Training” (CLE 2023) 
  • Speaker: “Motives and Opportunities” (CLE 2023) 
  • Speaker: “The Prehearing Process for Arbitrators” (CLE 2021) 
  • Speaker: “The Prehearing Process and Prehearing Communication for Arbitrators” (CLE 2020) 
  • Speaker: Parent panel with Sheryl Sandberg, Option B – Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (June 2017) 
  • Speaker: “Legal Landmines in Buying and Selling a Financial Planning Practice” (FPA Symposium 2017) 
  • Speaker and Chair: Annual MSBA Civil Trial Specialist Seminar (October 2016) 
  • Speaker: “FINRA Arbitration: Representing Clients and Arbitrating” (MSBA 2012) 
  • Panelist: 2010 Upper Midwest Securities Litigation Forum 
  • Featured: “Trashing Spaces”, Mad Magazine, Issue 435 (2003) 
Cases: Minnesota Supreme Court
  • Corazzala v. Quie, 478 N.W.2d 197 (Minn. 1991) (involving sale of home on private lake) (written brief submission only).

  • Special School District No. 1 v. Dunham, 498 N.W.2d 441 (Minn. 1993) (involving statute of limitations under Minnesota Human Rights Act) (on brief).

  • Cheney v. Metropolitan Council, 1996 WL 291495 (Minn. Ct. App.) and on remand, 1997 WL 10885 (Minn. Ct. App.) (applying qualified immunity in case involving assault on bus) (written brief submission only).

  • Watson by Hansen v. Metropolitan Transit Commission, 553 N.W.2d 406 (Minn. 1996) (landmark case on statutory and qualified immunity) (argued).

  • State v. Cassidy, 567 N.W.2d 707 (Minn. 1997) (reversing conviction of member of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation who was tried in abstentia; represented pro bono) (argued).

  • Onvoy, Inc. v. SHAL, LLC, 669 N.W.2d 344 (Minn. 2003) (involving arbitration of commercial dispute in multi-party litigation) (written brief submission only).

  • Turner v. Mutual Service Casualty Ins. Co., 675 N.W.2d 622 (Minn. 2004) (involving motor vehicle insurance coverage) (argued).

  • Travertine Corp. v. Lexington Silverwood, 683 N.W.2d 267 (Minn. 2004) (involving commercial real estate dispute) (argued).

  • Graphic Communications Local 1B Health and Welfare Fund v. CVS Caremark Corp., 850 N.W.2d 682 (Minn. 2014) (involving Pharmacy Practice Act) (brief only).

Cases: Minnesota Court of Appeals
  • Wright v. Romfro, 1996 WL 132150 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving motor vehicle accident) (brief only). 
  • Scheffler v. Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 563 N.W.2d 767 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997) (involving priest sex abuse statute of limitations) (argued). 
  • Selleck v. Selleck, 1998 WL 170112 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving family trust dispute) (argued). 
  • Wayne v. Mastershield, Inc., 597 N.W.2d 917 (Minn. Ct. App. 1999) (involving violation of Minnesota Human Rights Act) (argued). 
  • McGraw v. Vine Park Brewing Co., 2003 WL 21060853 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving unemployment coverage) (written submissions only). 
  • Minnesota Souvenir, LLC v. State, 2004 WL 2283534 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving charitable gambling issues) (argued). 
  • Harrington v. Regina Medical Center, 2004 WL 1728021 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving medical negligence claim) (brief only). 
  • Johnson v. McQuay International, 2004 WL 1774699 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving employment termination) (argued). 
  • PHT Systems, Inc. v. Tropical Flavors, Inc., 2006 WL 1516022 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving fraudulent transfer act) (argued). 
  • Woodlake VEF-IV, LLC v. Cooperative Agency, Inc., 2008 WL 763229 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving lease dispute) (argued). 
  • Republic Bank v. Carlson, 2013 WL 3368420 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving lender collection) (brief only). 
  • Anchor Bank v. Gulbransen, 2016 WL 281208 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving non-compete action)(argued). 
  • Jackson on behalf of Sorensen v. Options Residential, Inc., 896 N.W.2d 549 (Minn. 2017) (involving immunity for adult foster care) (argued). 
  • Landmark Bank v. Lang, 2020 WL 3635576 (Minn. Ct. App.) (involving bank collection action) (brief only).  
  • Lang v. Bjorklund, 2022 WL 2195540 (Minn. Ct. App.) (brief only). 
  • NSE, Inc. v. CGH Corp., 2022 WL 1612957 (involving business sale) (argued). 
  • Lang v. Flagship Bank Minnesota f/d/b/a Landmark Cmty. Bank, N.A., 2023 WL 4307070, at *1 (Minn. Ct. App. July 3, 2023) (argued). 
Cases: United States Court of Appeals
  • Koehnen v. Herald Fire Ins. Co., 89 F.3d 525 (8th Cir. 1996) (involving complex settlement) (argued). 
  • Carlson v. Century Indem. Co., 133 F.3d 591 (8th Cir. 1998) (involving insurance coverage in wrongful death action) (argued). 
  • Mettler v. Whitledge, 165 F.3d 1197 (8th Cir. 1999) (involving policy immunity in wrongful death action)(argued). 
  • Infinity Products, Inc. v. Premier Plastics, LLC, 93 Fed. Appx. 90 (8th Cir. 2004) (involving commercial dispute from sale of business) (brief only). 
  • Hampton v. Kohler, 989 F.3d 619 (8th Cr. 2021) (involving shareholder compensation) (argued). 

Don’s Accolades and Action

Awards & Recognition

Volunteering

Don McNeil is passionate about giving his time and expertise to improving the lives of people with disabilities. “Advocating for children with disabilities is not always popular, but it is the right thing to do. Minnesota has more to offer families who are caring for the disabled, in part due to the work of advocacy groups who are well-organized here.”

In addition to his participation in state and national taskforces to improve education, housing and social resources available to people with disabilities, McNeil is a long-time supporter of the PACER Center. “PACER is a national parent support center based in Minneapolis. We like to call ourselves champions for children with disabilities. Typically, we are the first phone call for parents when a child is born with a disability and provide many free resources and a network of information and support.”

PACER is a place where families can find assistance with issues including health care advocacy and special education laws. The center has a tech center where families can take assistive devices out on loan and test them before buying them. The center is also credited with starting the national bullying prevention movement, springing from the fact that disabled kids are two to three times more likely to become victims of bullying.

PACER’s executive director, Paula Goldberg, expressed her appreciation for McNeil’s support, “Don is a wonderful spokesperson for PACER and always upbeat and generous with his time. He’s done so much work pro bono – reviewing contracts, helping on our board and working with the corporate sponsor committee, to name a few. His optimism defines him. He is one of the most fantastic people I know.”

Don McNeil Family Volunteering
Hand Shaking Icon - Mediation Settlement

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of mediation cases are settled, according to studies

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of Don's mediations are conducted virtually

Pre-suit vs pending litigation icon

of cases are pre-suit vs pending litigation

Minnesota Law Suits Mediation Icon

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of Minnesota lawsuits must go through mediation

%

of mediation cases are settled, according to studies

%

of Don's mediations are conducted virtually

of cases are pre-suit vs pending litigation

%

of Minnesota lawsuits must go through mediation

Don’s Activities

Professional Activities

  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member, Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Arbitrator, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

Community Activities

  • Member, Minnesota Department of Education School Finance Work Group (subcommittees on English Learners and Racial Equality) (2019-2020) 
  • Member, Minnesota Department of Education work group on Prior Written Notice in Special Education laws (2019)
  • Member, Minnesota Department of Human Services Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Council (2013)
  • Co-chair, Minnesota Legislative Taskforce reviewing caseloads for special education (2013)
  • Past President and Past Board Member, PACER Center, a national organization helping families and children with disabilities based in Minnesota (2004-2023)
  • Member, Minnesota Legislative Taskforce reviewing special education laws and regulations (2008-2009)
Don McNeil

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