Donald R. McNeil

Don McNeil

Donald R. McNeil
[email protected]
Direct: 952-841-0206
Toll Free: 866-841-0080
Facsimile: 952-841-0041

Hennepin Lawyer

Donald R. McNeil is known for bringing 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 the Twin Cities require it. I think I’m known for being a straight shooter. When I get a hold of a matter, I like to get on the phone with people right away to try to resolve it. I’ve seen so many clients with litigation fatigue. They start out all emotionally fired up, but it takes about six months, and they start looking for a way out. That is a good time for mediation.”

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

McNeil is a former 400-meter track athlete who likes to say “the older he gets, the faster he was.” His son, Evan, shares his father’s passion for running. He was a student at Carleton College where he was a decathlete who shattered the pole vault record. (He is now a medical student). “Running is a lifetime sport, and I’m the number one fan of my son’s college team.”

McNeil also enjoys running with his colleagues at work. “Some of us run together over the noon hour. Our office is located in a 24-story tower overlooking Normandale Lake where we are surrounded by trails. Sometimes a run around the office turns into a partnership meeting, and we have clients in the building who go out with us too. It’s been a great way to develop relationships.”

McNeil’s family consists of his wife, Julie, and their three children: Megan, Evan and Ethan. Megan is 29 years old and was born with Williams syndrome. Ethan is 21 and has classic autism. The McNeils care for their disabled children at home and are dedicated to helping all of their children reach their greatest potential. “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.”


  • Juris Doctorate (High Honors), Hamline University School of Law, 1989
    • Managing Editor, Hamline University Law Review and was a special editor for the “Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Symposium”, Vol. XII, No. 2 (1989)
  • B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, 1985, with honors

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


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

Publications and Presentations

  • Speaker: “FINRA Arbitration: Representing Clients and Arbitrating” (MSBA 2012)
  • Panelist: 2010 Upper Midwest Securities Litigation Forum
  • Co-Author, “NASD Arbitration of Securities Disputes” (Bench & Bar 2003)
  • Chairperson, “NASD Securities Arbitration in a Recovering Market” (2004)
  • Chairperson, “NASD Securities Arbitration in a Bad Economy” (2003)
  • Chairperson, “Hot Trends in Securities Arbitrations” (2002)
  • P.H.T. Systems v. Tropical Flavors et al., 2006 LEXIS 563 (Minn. Ct. App. 2006) (involving Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act)
  • Lennon v. Travertine Corp., 683 N.W.2d 267 (Minn. 2004) (involving complex commercial dispute relating to land development in Palm Springs)
  • SHAL v. Onvoy, 669 N.W.2d 344 (Minn. 2003) (involving complex business arbitration)
  • Infinity Products v. Premier Plastics, 2004 LEXIS 4784 (8th Cir.) (defense verdict in distributor dispute)
  • M.S. v. John G. Kinnard & Co., NASD #00-00527 (obtaining defense verdict in selling away case)
  • Watson v. MTC, 553 N.W.2d 406 (Minn. 1996) (landmark governmental immunities decision)
  • Special School District #1 v. Dunham, 498 N.W.2d 441 (Minn. 1993) (involving Minnesota Human Rights Act)
  • Corazalla v. Quie, 478 N.W.2d 197 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991) (involving real estate dispute)

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 (2019-2020)
  • Past Member of the Minnesota Department of Human Services Autism Spectrum Disorder (“ASD”) Advisory Council (2013).  The ASD Advisory Council provides input into the development of a Medical Assistance benefit for children with ASD through Reform 2020: Pathways to Independence, and the Autism Housing with Supports Study for children with severe autism authorized by 2012 Laws of Minnesota, Chapter 247, Article 4, Section 50.
  • Past Co-chair, Minnesota Legislative Taskforce reviewing caseloads for special education (2013)
  • Past President and Current Board Member, PACER Center, a national organization helping families and children with special needs based in Minnesota.
  • Past President, Hamline Law School Alumni Association (2006-08)
  • Former Board Member, Volunteer Lawyers Network, Ltd. See State v. Cassidy, 567 N.W.2d 707 (Minn. 1997) (reversing conviction involving tribal tobacco transportation in pro bono matter).
  • Member, Minnesota Legislative Taskforce reviewing special education laws and regulations (2008-09)

Awards and Recognition

  • Featured in Attorney at Law magazine, May 2015
  • Recognized each year since 1999 by the Minnesota Law & Politics magazine in its annual survey as one of top 4.5% of Minnesota Super Lawyer attorneys
  • Consistently achieved the highest rankings (AV rating) by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory

Though sleep is a limited commodity at his house, 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.”