William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 2003, Magna Cum Laude

University of Minnesota, B.A. 

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court District of North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court 


  • Honorable Myron H. Bright, U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
  • Honorable Natalie E. Hudson, Minnesota Court of Appeals
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Jonathan P. Schmidt
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Jon Schmidt is a member of the Business Litigation section and chair of the Appellate practice group. Jon practices principally in the areas of:

  • Appellate law
  • Railroad litigation
  • Business litigation
  • Mass tort litigation
  • Toxic tort litigation
  • Employment law litigation

In his appellate practice, Jon has assisted with certiorari proceedings before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also has worked on appeals involving a wide range of issues, including constitutional law, federal preemption, tort and mass tort liability, employment law, trade secrets, business contracts, insurance law, environmental law and partnership law.

Jon has argued Appellate cases before the 7th and 8th Circuits, where he successfully argued to affirm a judgment of over $400,000. Jon and another attorney also successfully represented a client at the 8th Circuit of Appeals to obtain a reversal of a judgment of over $236 million.

In his litigation practice, Jon represents railroads. Jon has successfully obtained summary judgment on multiple crossing litigation matters with significant claimed damages. He also has worked closely with clients to revise, update and establish new policies for investigation protocol and retention procedures. Jon has represented railroads in FELA matters, as well as in mass tort and toxic tort proceedings related to high-profile train derailments. He has also assisted in dozens of emergency response investigations. In addition to railroads, Jon represents businesses in employment matters, construction issues and utility cases.

He serves as the firm’s co-ombudsman. He is the former co-chair of the firm's Recruiting Committee and a former member of the firm's Associate Training Committee, Associate Panel and Technology Committee. In the past, Jon has coordinated the firm’s annual associate fundraising effort for The Fund for Legal Aid. While in law school, Jon was the editor-in-chief for the William Mitchell Law Review.

Jon and his wife live in Saint Paul and enjoy spending time with their two kids. Jon also is an avid runner, running in 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and was pleased with his sub-four hour finish in his first marathon at the Twin Cities Marathon in October 2016.

Community Involvement 

Jon recently served as the co-campaign chair for Justice Natalie Hudson’s election to retain her seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Jon worked with the campaign committee on all aspects of the statewide primary race and general election, including fundraising, press, endorsements, questionnaire responses and outreach.

He is proud to have helped to develop, initiate and coordinate an Appellate pro bono program with the State Public Defender’s Office and the Minnesota State Bar Association, which pairs attorneys at law firms interested in pro bono Appellate work to take on cases from the Appellate Public Defender’s Office. The goal is to assist the Appellate Public Defender’s office with their caseload and provide civil attorneys an opportunity to gain invaluable appellate experience.

Jon is also active in other pro bono work, including assisting with evaluating matters on appeal before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and being appointed by the 8th Circuit to represent a petitioner in a habeas appeal. He also worked on pro bono unemployment compensation appeals and pro bono asylum appeals. In addition, Jon has volunteered at the Minnesota Appellate Court's pro se clinic, where seasoned appellate attorneys work with pro se litigants to answer questions regarding forms, filings and substantive appellate issues. In a separate pro bono matter for the Advocates for Human Rights, Jon assisted a Kenyan citizen with the asylum process to seek asylum from political persecution. 

He is an active member of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Jon was elected to serve on the Appellate Practice Section council for the past nine years, three of which he served as an officer for the Section. Jon chaired the MSBA Appellate Section from 2012 to 2013, and also served on the MSBA Judiciary Committee and Court Rules and Administration Committee.

He is involved at the area law schools. He has taught Appellate Advocacy at William Mitchell College of Law and routinely is a guest teacher for the Appellate Advocacy Course at the University of St. Thomas. Jon also formally and informally mentors students from Twin Cities' law schools.

Besides his service to the legal community through the MSBA and pro bono work, Jon is proud to support, among other organizations, Como Friends, United Way and Legal Aid.

Honors & Awards

  • Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2012
  • Shareholder Pro Bono Award, Briggs and Morgan, 2011
  • Up and Coming Attorney, Minnesota Lawyer, 2010
  • Advocate Designation, National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers
  • North Star Lawyer, Minnesota State Bar Association


  • Kramer v. Perez (statutory spam e-mail) - Obtained a reversal of a judgment of over $236 million.
  • Obtained defense verdict after jury trial in wrongful death case.
  • Defended through a jury verdict of FELA claim alleging traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder with allegations of significant damages.
  • Defended thousands of claims and numerous trials stemming out of a North Dakota derailment.
  • Obtained summary judgment and affirmance on appeal in crossing accident case with allegations of significant damages of personal injuries and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissal of two wrongful death claims stemming from railroad crossing accident.
  • Obtained summary judgment in railroad crossing accident case regarding claims of negligence against adjoining landowner.
  • Aggressively represented a railroad to obtain favorable settlement against trucking company less than a year after serious derailment.
  • Investigated derailment and defended all claims ranging from personal injury, environmental, to property damage.
  • Defended railroad crossing accident case alleging traumatic brain injury.
  • Defended FELA claim alleging injuries stemming from a derailment.
  • Defended against and obtained favorable settlement in FELA claim alleging serious physical injuries from employee operating a switch.
  • Assisted in short line dispute regarding contractual issues between railroad and short line railroad.
  • Conducted statutory and regulatory analysis to assist in drafting contract regarding use of railroad tracks by state commuter trains.
  • Assisted on post-trial motions and appeals of high-profile crossing accident case.
  • Handled successful appeals regarding crossing accident to uphold dismissal of claims.
  • Appealed to Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals regarding flooding claims against railroad for alleged negligence of a culvert. Affirmed dismissal of all claims.
  • Briefed and argued appeal to Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding regulatory and statutory interpretation to regulate billboards for a city.
  • Handled appeals to Minnesota Court of Appeals and amicus brief to Wisconsin Supreme Court regarding environmental insurance dispute.
  • Peterka v. Dennis: Obtained reversal at Minnesota Supreme Court for accountant who was entitled to immunity from suit for acts performed pursuant to court appointment as a neutral evaluator.
  • Successfully argued case to Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm verdict of over $450,000.
  • Argued case to Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to successfully affirm dismissal of claim seeking over $35 million.
  • Assisted on appeals to Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court regarding filed rate doctrine and primary jurisdiction.
  • Assisted on appeals to Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court to protect energy company tariffs against a class action attacking tariffs on filed rate doctrine and primary jurisdiction grounds.
  • Handled pro bono cases representing a criminal defendant on behalf of the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender.

Professional Affiliations

Minnesota State Bar Association, Member

  • Appellate Practice Section, Former Chair
  • Judiciary Committee
  • Court Rules and Administration Committee, Former Member

Federal Bar Association, Member

Hennepin County Bar Association, Member

8th Circuit Bar Association, Member

The Advocates for Human Rights Pro Bono, Counsel