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Clifford M. Greene

Named Founder (Retired)
"Legendary Minneapolis litigator Cliff Greene has made teamwork his legacy." Super Lawyers


“As a co-founder of the firm, Cliff built and maintained a workplace based on excellence, integrity, and a sense of community that is unmatched at any other firm.” (Greene Espel COO, Laura Broomell, CLM)

Cliff retired from Greene Espel in October 2020 after advocating tirelessly for clients of all types and sizes. As one of Minnesota's preeminent trial attorneys, Cliff represented clients in complex business, employment, and product liability actions. He also regularly counseled and defended government agencies and officials in disputes involving high-profile claims and significant precedent. 

Drawing on his litigation experience, Cliff was regularly retained to arbitrate or mediate disputes and served federal and state courts as Special Master. 

Cliff's advocacy on behalf of clients consistently earned recognition from leading legal publications—including Best Lawyers in America, Chambers, and Benchmark Litigation. In 2018, Best Lawyers elected Cliff as the"2018 Minneapolis Litigation - Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year." Minnesota Super Lawyers also profiled his achievements in the 2014 cover story, “There’s no I in Greene.”

As a thought leader, Cliff maintained a special focus on federal practice and procedure. He was been appointed by three different chief judges of the District of Minnesota to chair the Local Rules Advisory Committee. In 2016, the Chief Judge appointed Cliff to co-chair the federal magistrate Merit Selection Panel.  Cliff also taught federal jurisdiction to law students as Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. 


  • J.D., Cornell Law School, cum laude; Editor, Cornell International Law Journal
  • B.A., Harvard College, Government, cum laude, Ames Prize


  • First Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, William Mitchell College of Law

  • Popham, Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman, Ltd., Senior Attorney/Shareholder


  • International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
  • American Bar Association Foundation, Elected Fellow
  • Federal Bar Association

Cliff's Recognition & Awards

  • 2020 Transformational Leadership Award, The International Leadership Institute
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2008-2021)
    • Selected as Lawyer of the Year (2020)
    • Selected as "2018 Minneapolis Litigation - Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year" Best Lawyers in America ‚Äč
  • Named Local Litigation Star - Minnesota, Benchmark Litigation, The Guide to America's Leading Firms and Attorneys (2010-2020) 
  • Named Leading Commercial Litigator, Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business-The Client's Guide (2009-2020)
  • Selected to Super Lawyers list, Minnesota Super Lawyers (2003-2020)
  • Listed in Who’s Who: Products Liability (2014-2016)
  • Listed as Minneapolis Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America for Litigation: Labor and Employment (2015)
  • Named Eighth Circuit Litigation Star – Minnesota, Benchmark Appellate, The Guide to America's Leading Appeals Litigation Firms and Attorneys (2012-2013)
  • Selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers
    • Selected to “Top Ten” Super Lawyers list (2005, 2011-2013)

    • Selected to "Top 100" Super Lawyers list (multiple years)

  • 2001 Award from Minnesota Federal Court recognizing 12 Years of Service as Chair of Local Rules Advisory Committee

  • Appointed Special Master by federal and state courts

  • Certified Mediator and Arbitrator qualified under State ADR Rule 114 (Civil Roster)

Cliff's Community Involvement

  • Mitchell Hamline College of Law: Trustee (2016-current)
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Racial Bias in the Judicial System
    • Chair, Committee on Police-Community Relations (1991-1993)
  • Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights
    • Member, Appointed by Mayor Donald Fraser (1982-1985)
  • Minneapolis Police Chief Selection Advisory Committee
    • Member, Appointed by Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton (1995-1996)
  • Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota
    • President (2010-2012)
  • William Mitchell College of Law; Trustee (1997-2006)
  • Federal Practice Committee (Minnesota)
  • Federal Local Rules Advisory Committee, District of Minnesota; Chair, (1989-2001)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
    • Committee on Pro Bono in the Public Sector, Co-Chair (2004-2007)
    • Section of Litigation; Founding Member

Active in civic affairs as well as the legal community, Cliff received the 2013 Sidney Barrows Lifetime Commitment Award from the Minnesota Cardozo Society, given annually to an attorney or judge who exemplifies excellence in his/her practice, community service, and lifelong learning.

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