Diane B. Bratvold

Shareholder; Business Litigation

In her more than 25 years of practice, Diane’s primary focus has been handling civil appeals in several federal and state appellate courts, including the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Minnesota Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th, 8th and 9th Circuits and the Supreme Court of the United States. Diane is based in our firm’s Minneapolis office and is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation Section and Appellate Practice Group.

She practices primarily in the areas of:

  • State and federal appellate law
  • Business litigation

State and Federal Appellate Law
Diane has practiced almost exclusively in civil appeals for more than 25 years. She also frequently consults or has been admitted pro hac vice for appellate matters in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa. She has handled many appeals involving a wide range of issues, including constitutional law, employment law, trust and probate matters, trade secrets, business contracts, property law, insurance law, ERISA litigation, complex civil procedure, product liability and tort liability.

In 2006, Diane was inducted into the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers as a fellow, a prestigious honor in her field. She was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure and is the past president of the Eighth Circuit Bar Association. Diane also is past chair of the appellate section council for the Minnesota State Bar Association. She currently serves as the chair of the Defense Research Institute’s (DRI) Appellate Advocacy Committee. In addition, Diane is the 8th Circuit editor for Certworthy. She has also been appointed to the program committee of the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, the Minnesota Defense Lawyer’s Amicus Curiae Committee and DRI's Amicus Curiae Committee. Diane frequently represents various amici, both public and private, in the appellate courts.

Diane is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School, where she has taught “Appellate Advocacy” since 2002. She regularly speaks on general appellate topics at various industry seminars, CLEs and conferences. She also is a contributing author to several respected appellate publications, including a chapter on post-decision appellate procedures for the Eighth Circuit Appellate Practice Manual; chapters on brief writing, appellate procedure and oral argument in Matthew Bender’s Art of Advocacy: Appeals; and “Appellate Process” in West Publishing’s Minnesota Practice: Methods of Practice. She is currently editing the second edition of Minnesota Courtroom Evidence Deskbook for Minnesota CLE.

Business Litigation
Although Diane’s primary focus is appellate law, she also regularly consults with trial attorneys on complex matters that show potential for future appeals. Comprehensive legal consultation covers all aspects of pre-trial practice, including advising on dispositive motion practice, monitoring trials to ensure that a proper record is made, and handling significant post-trial motions and arguments.

In her service to the community, Diane has handled pro bono asylum appeals for the low-income clients of the Advocates for Human Rights. In one recent case, she won an appeal on behalf of an Ethiopian native and citizen who sought asylum based on past persecution and fear of future persecution due to her ethnic identity and political activity. In addition, Diane volunteers for music and educational programs at her family’s church and local high school.

Diane has been listed in Minnesota Super Lawyers and named among the”Top 100 Super Lawyers,” “Top 50 Women Super Lawyers” in Minnesota and a top appellate lawyer. She is recognized as a litigation star by Benchmark Litigation: Appellate. Diane also has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. In 2007, the Minnesota chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) named her a “Woman of Achievement.” In 2010, the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association selected Diane for the President’s Award. Diane also was named “Attorney of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer in 2010.

Diane received her B.A. in political science and journalism from Macalester College, graduating summa cum laude. She received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she was note and comment editor of the Minnesota Law Review.