Mary M. O'Brien

Of Counsel

Mary O'Brien provides clients with strategic counsel and advice as they navigate through an ever-changing, always complex business environment. Her practical approach to business issues is an outgrowth of her upbringing in a family of business owners. Mary learned early that employees are a company's greatest asset and that perspective shapes the advice she gives her clients each day.

Whether she is handling a contract issue, a discrimination complaint, a trade secret concern or a shareholder/employee dispute, Mary helps clients develop a strategy for an efficient, effective solution. Proactive employment practices help businesses avoid costly and time-consuming legal issues. Writing straightforward policies, clear contracts, and providing training to employees and management are a few of the steps Mary's clients take to minimize risk.


Representative Matters

Mary and her clients have successfully managed challenging and potentially volatile workplace situations. When necessary, Mary works with clients to aggressively deal with situations that required court intervention. Mary works with clients throughout the upper Midwest and has represented them in litigation in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.

In situations where employees brought lawsuits that could not be reasonably resolved, she and her clients have secured court dismissals and favorable jury verdicts:

  • Court dismissal of discrimination and retaliation claims brought by a student intern against a hospital and health care organization
  • Court dismissal of claims of discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation, disability, and retaliation asserted against a construction company

Professional Highlights

Recognition & Accomplishments

The Minnesota 500: The Most Powerful Business Leaders in Minnesota, 2020

The Best Lawyers in America, employment law - management, labor and employment litigation, 2018-2021; employment law - individuals, 2021

Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2011-2018

Minnesota Super Lawyers - Women's Edition, 2019

Speaking Engagements

"On to 2021: What Lies Ahead?" ACC Minnesota Lunch and Learn, December 16, 2020

"Eliminating Implicit Bias from Investigations and Disciplinary Decision-Making," Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, September 16, 2020

"Resuming Workplace Operations: The Long March Back From Pandemic Isolation," Ballard Spahr webinar, May 11, 2020



University of Notre Dame (J.D.)

Concannon Programme of International Law, London, England

College of St. Benedict (B.A., magna cum laude)



U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota