Skip to content Ellen A. Brinkman


80 S. 8th Street
Suite 3850
Minneapolis, MN 55402

3523 45th Street South
Suite 100
Fargo, ND 58104


J.D., magna cum laude, William Mitchell College of Law, 2006

B.A., cum laude, St. Olaf College, 2001


Recognized as Featured Employment Law Attorney in Minnesota Lawyer 2021 Edition: THE POWER OF 30

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©
– Distinction in Employment Law (2022)

Benchmark Litigation, Labor & Employment Star – Midwest

Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2011-2019, 2021-2022


Ellen Brinkman is the Co-Managing Partner of the Minneapolis office. Ellen represents a variety of clients from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. She approaches each case as a strategic team player with the goal of finding an efficient, business-oriented resolution. Prioritizing collaboration, Ellen has developed trusting partnerships with her clients, whether they are in-house counsel, human resource executives, organization leads, or business owners. She has litigated hundreds of cases in state and federal court – winning trials because of her ability to connect with the jury and out-prepare the other side.

Ellen routinely defends various employment, shareholder, and education-related claims in the courtroom and in agency settings. She regularly represents employers seeking to enforce non-competition agreements and other postemployment restrictive covenants, and also defends against claims involving restrictive covenants.

Ellen believes in partnering with her clients to navigate day-to-day issues in order to avoid litigation altogether, and thus counsels clients on a wide variety of workplace issues including hiring, promotion, disability accommodation, compliance with wage-and-hour and leave laws, discipline, terminations, and investigations. She assists clients in drafting employment policies, employee and executive contracts, and separation agreements and also provides training on a range of topics.

In April 2021, Ellen was named to Minnesota Lawyer’s “The Power 30” Employment list, which recognizes 15 plaintiff and 15 defense lawyers whose “mere presence on a case signifies the stakes, who have influenced the direction of the law, whose leadership in the community is pervasive and whose respect within the bar is undeniable.” She has also been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers every year from 2011-2019, and as a Super Lawyer from 2021-2022. Ellen is also one of the youngest Minnesota attorneys named to Benchmark Litigation’s Labor and Employment Stars, recognized for the Midwest and Minnesota from 2018-2023.

Ellen has also been elected to multiple trial organizations for excellence in the courtroom, including the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC) and the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). She is a frequent public speaker across the country on various topics related to her practice.


  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit 


  • Minnesota Women Lawyers
Publications & Presentations