Gretchen L. Gurstelle

Tel 612.371.3537
Fax 612.371.3207

Gretchen Gurstelle is a skilled advocate and litigator with experience trying cases to juries and judges in federal and state court. Gretchen guides clients through all stages of federal and state civil, criminal, and regulatory proceedings, from responding to government subpoenas and conducting internal investigations to negotiating with government representatives and litigating any resulting claims or charges. Gretchen's practice also focuses on complex civil litigation. She has represented clients in contract disputes, insurance coverage disputes, and False Claims Act cases.

Gretchen formerly ran a well-respected criminal defense practice. Her white-collar experience includes representing clients facing allegations of federal mail and wire fraud, tax fraud, health care fraud, mortgage fraud, theft, and embezzlement. Gretchen is a member of the Office of the Federal Defender Criminal Justice Act panel for the District of Minnesota. She served as a Special Assistant Public Defender in both Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. She also served as a clerk for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota.

Representative Matters

  • Represented client responding to Attorney General's civil regulatory investigation
  • Conducted internal investigation into whistleblower allegation raised by a former employee for a Fortune 500 company
  • Represented an in-house accountant in high-profile federal tax fraud prosecution. Participated in extensive negotiations with federal prosecutors, reaching a favorable resolution for the client
  • Represented a realtor charged in federal mortgage fraud prosecution, achieving a probationary sentence for the client
  • Represented personal care attendant with respect to federal investigation into alleged health care fraud. After extensive communications with governmental authorities, no charges were filed against the client.
  • Participated in the representation of a business owner facing federal bank-fraud charges stemming from alleged $80 million Ponzi scheme. Obtained a 53 percent downward departure from the applicable guideline sentence.
  • Co-chaired jury trial in defense of a client charged with criminal vehicular homicide stemming from a snowmobile collision. The jury acquitted the client on all counts.
  • Represented client facing federal terrorism charges through jury trial
  • Represented client facing first-degree homicide charges in North Dakota. Successfully argued contested pretrial motions and jury instructions. Participated in extensive plea negotiations resulting in a favorable plea and sentencing resolution.

Professional Activities

Federal Bar Association

Minnesota Women Lawyers

Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Board of Directors, 2014-present


Frequent contributor to Money Laundering Watch, Ballard Spahr's blog focused exclusively on money laundering issues. 

Co-author, "Money Laundering Watch: 2018 Year in Review," Ballard Spahr alert, January 2, 2019

Speaking Engagements

Speaker, "Cannabis and the Financial Services Industry," Ballard Spahr webinar, April 10, 2019

University of Minnesota Law School (J.D. 2009)

University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.S. 2005)


U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota