University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., Magna Cum Laude

University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 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 Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit


  • Honorable Jeanne J. Graham, United States District Court, District of Minnesota
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Mike Sawers is a member of the Business Litigation section. He practices principally in the areas of:

  • Business litigation and corporate dispute resolution
  • Railroad litigation
  • Banking and finance litigation
  • Intellectual property litigation

Business Litigation and Corporate Dispute Resolution
Mike represents individuals and corporate clients in a wide variety of corporate and commercial disputes, including corporate governance, shareholder and partnership disputes, trade secret disputes, employment contract disputes, and appeals of property tax assessments.

Banking and Finance Litigation
Mike defends large and midsized financial institutions against claims arising under various federal statutes, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Consumer Fraud Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other similar laws. Mike represents financial institutions in cases defending mortgage buyback claims and other unfair and predatory lending claims. Mike also has experience with complex structured financial products, and enforcing creditor rights in litigation, bankruptcy, and Article 9 transaction resulting from borrower insolvencies.

Railroad Litigation
Mike represents Class I railroads in cases ranging from employee or third-party injuries, to regulatory disputes with shippers. Mike also represents clients in Federal Employer Liability Act cases, and other crossing and catastrophic torts.

While in law school, Mike served as a first year legal writing instructor. He also was a member of the Minnesota Journal of International Law, during which time he focused on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act research. Mike volunteered at the United States Attorney's Office during law school, where he assisted primarily in the prosecution of financial crimes and drug and gun offenses.

Mike serves on the firm’s recruiting committee and diversity committee. He also serves on the Federal Bar Association‘s board of directors for the District of Minnesota, and the seminar committee and grants committee.

Honors & Awards

  • 2016 Social Justice Award, National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota


Trial and Arbitration Experience

  • Defended a Class I railroad in a jury trial arising out of a claimed career-ending injury. The jury returned a complete defense verdict of no liability at trial.
  • Served as second-chair in a two-week bench trial concerning the valuation of a large industrial property in southern Minnesota.
  • Served as trial counsel in a two-day breach of contract and attorneys’ lien claims. At the conclusion of the trial, the Court ruled in the client’s favor, awarding the plaintiff no damages.
  • Served as trial counsel in a federal criminal jury trial involving two felony counts, including conspiracy charges. Mike cross-examined several law enforcement agents and delivered a closing argument on behalf of the client.
  • Represented an agricultural producer in an arbitration arising out of breach of contract and tort claims. At the end of the arbitration, the arbitrator awarded the client all of his claimed damages. Mike successfully preserved the arbitration award after the other party moved to vacate.

Business Litigation and Corporate Dispute Resolution

  • Representing Minnesota real estate development company in claim by alleged partner for percentage of partnership interest under de facto partnership.
  • Representing Minnesota real estate development company in connection with a property purchaser’s breach of contract.
  • Represented former Minnesota-based manufacturer in defending a claim in Minnesota federal district court. Mike took the lead on drafting dispositive motions and, with co-counsel, prevailed in getting our client a Rule 12 dismissal.
  • Assisted in the representation of individually-named members of a limited liability corporation in a lawsuit in which the team prevailed on summary judgment and the clients were dismissed from the case.
  • Assisted in the representation of a shareholder of a closely-held corporation’s statutory buyout of his interest in the company. The court granted the buyout at a favorable amount, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Acted as lead counsel in defending the former owner of a Minnesota-based business in an action based on breach of a non-competition agreement. Mike obtained partial summary judgment in favor of the client and secured a settlement below cost of defense.
  • Compelled arbitration after a counter party brought suit in federal court. In the arbitration, Mike led the case from the initial pleadings through trial preparation. Along with another Briggs lawyer, tried the case in the arbitration. The arbitrator returned a decision awarding our client all of its claimed damages and granted none of the other party’s requested relief.
  • Acted as first chair in representing a swine producer in federal litigation related to a breach of a service contract. Mike led the case from drafting the initial pleadings, through all stages of discovery, motion practice, and trial preparation. The case settled less than a week before trial with a significant payment from the defendant to our client.
  • Represented swine producer in exclusive contract dispute. Shortly after the case began, the parties settled with our client receiving its claimed damages.

Railroad Litigation

  • Representing Class I railroad against claim by commercial driver who failed to yield right-of-way to locomotive resulting in collision at a rural public grade crossing.
  • Defended against a motion for temporary restraining order in which rail shippers sought to enjoin the application of a railroad’s published tariff. The district court denied the motion for temporary restraining order and referred the dispute to the Surface Transportation Board for administrative determination. After the plaintiff appealed, Mike assisted in drafting the responsive brief before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the district court’s order.
  • Obtained a Rule 12 dismissal on constitutional grounds of a challenge to railroad’s published tariff in North Dakota federal court. The district court declined to consider the merits because the dispute was not ripe for adjudication.

Banking and Finance Litigation

  • Represented financial institution in claim by defaulting borrower. After the borrower assigned an outright interest in the borrower’s business in exchange for entering into a forbearance agreement, our client sold the business, Mike defended against various claims including breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and violation of Article 9. Mike and the Briggs team secured a Rule 12 dismissal on the pleadings and preserved the decision on appeal.
  • Represented various financial institutions in major mortgage buyback case, alleging breach of contract, fraudulent transfer, and other common law claims.
  • Assisted in representing a mortgage servicing company in putative class action case alleging claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Intellectual Property Litigation

  • Representing a Minnesota-based manufacturer in trademark infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition case against a competitor in federal district court.
  • Represented a Minnesota-based manufacturer in a patent infringement case in which the patent infringer voluntarily modified its infringing design shortly after the case began.

Internal and Governmental Investigations

  • Represented non-profit organization in investigation into volunteer misconduct. Interviewed several witnesses, drafted a report detailing the findings and recommendations, and presented findings to the client’s board of directors.
  • Counseled individual licensed by Minnesota Department of Commerce with respect to State Attorney General investigation. Following Mike’s counsel, the State Attorney General did not bring any action against the client.
  • Assisted a client in responding to Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into allegations of trading unregistered securities.
  • Assisted a banking client in responding to a subpoena issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Mike has represented individuals involved in investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, and the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association, Member

Federal Bar Association, Member

  • Minnesota Chapter, Director

Minnesota State Bar Association, Member