Kate Swenson guides clients in the public and private sectors through all stages of dispute resolution, including trial and the appellate process.

Kate focuses her practice in the areas of government and constitutional litigation and appellate law. She has significant experience representing public entities, including cities, counties, and educational institutions. Formerly legal counsel to the Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel, Kate brings the problem-solving skills honed in that role and government experience to bear in her work for clients.

Kate has successfully argued before the Eighth Circuit, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, federal and state district courts, and administrative bodies. She has also tried cases and briefed appeals in federal and state courts.

Kate brings practicality and an ability to synthesize information to solve complex problems for clients. Kate provides clients with in-depth analysis of their legal issues and sees around corners to avoid surprises in the midst of litigation. Clients particularly appreciate her forthright case assessments, her efficient and incisive brief-writing abilities, and her formidable courtroom advocacy.


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • State Bar of Minnesota

Professional & Community Affiliations


  • Federal Bar Association
    • Membership Committee (2019-present)
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
    • Public Law Section Council (2017-present)
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers
    • Partner Leadership Council (2019-2020)
    • Community Action Committee (2010-2019)
    • Student to Attorney Mentor Program (2010-present)


  • Minnesota Justice Foundation, Board Member (2014-present)
  • The Appellate Project, Volunteer Mentor (2020-2021)
  • AchieveMpls, Graduation Coach (2013-2014)
  • Everybody Wins! Minnesota
    • Power Lunch Reading Volunteer (2008-2012)

Thought Leadership


  • Co-Author of an Eighth Circuit blog on Law.com (2019-present)
  • Co-Author of Chapter 16: Pretrial Preparation, in MINNESOTA STATE DISTRICT COURT CIVIL PRACTICE DESKBOOK (2d ed. 2018)
  • Co-Author of Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District: Trudging Through a Florida Wetland with Nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 36 ZONING & PLANNING L. REP., May 2013, at 1, available at 36 No. 5 ZPLR 1 
  • Sticks, Carrots, Donkey Votes, and True Choice: A Rationale for Abolishing Compulsory Voting in Australia, 16 MINN. J. INT’L L. 525 (2007)


  • Civil Litigation A to Z: Getting Started – Minnesota State Court Practice Essentials, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Panelist (July 2021)
  • Constitutional Law: Voting and Election Law 2020, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Panelist (December 2020)
  • How to Litigate a Civil Case in Minnesota – Pretrial Preparations, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education (December 2019)
  • Civil Litigation A to Z: Getting Started – Minnesota State Court Practice Essentials, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Panelist (April 2019)
  • Panhandling – Constitutional Considerations, Minnesota Association of City Attorneys Conference (February 2019)
  • Voting Law and Today's U.S. Supreme Court – T-Shirts, Gerrymandering, and Voter Rolls, 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Update, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Moderator (August 2018)
  • Successful Brief Writing Strategies and Skills, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office: Mastering Appellate Practice, Panelist (May 2018)
  • Litigation Topics: Appellate Advocacy, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Panelist (May 2018)
  • The Use of Rule 68 Offers as an Effective Strategy in Federal and State Proceedings, League of Minnesota Cities, Panelist (September 2017)
  • Mentors and Sponsors: Distinctions, Similarities, and Why You Need Both, University of Minnesota Law School, Panelist (February 2017)
  • Explanation or Promotion? Effective Presentation of Levy Ballot Questions, Minnesota School Boards Association 2017 Leadership Conference, Panelist (January 2017)
  • Cutting Edge of Land Use Topics, The 2015 Minnesota Conference on Land Use and Eminent Domain, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Panelist (February 2015)
  • Holiday Decorations, Public Property, and the Law, American Planning Association Webinar, Panelist (November 2013)
  • Search and Seizure: Recent Federal and State Cases Every Practitioner Should Know, Recent Trends Involving the Law of Arrest, Search and Seizure in Minnesota, Lorman Education Services, Panelist (November 2012)


  • Recognized as Minnesota State Bar Association North Star Lawyer for pro bono service (2013-2014, 2016-2021)
  • Listed in Chambers USAAmerica's Leading Lawyers for Business-The Client's Guide (2022)
  • Selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers list (2022)
  • Appointed to a Merit Selection Panel by Chief Judge John R. Tunheim to advise the U.S. District Court of the District of Minnesota on the reappointment of U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau (May 2018)
  • Selected to Rising Stars list, Minnesota Super Lawyers (2015-2018)
  • Recognized as Up and Coming Attorney, Minnesota Lawyer (2018)
  • Robert A. Stein Endowment Scholarship, University of Minnesota Law School


Practice Areas


J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, magna cum laude; Managing Editor, Minnesota Journal of International Law

B.A., University of Minnesota, magna cum laude


  • Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel, Staff Attorney 
  • Minnesota Court of Appeals, Law Clerk 
  • University of Minnesota Office of the General Counsel, Legal Project Assistant 
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, The Honorable David S. Doty, Judicial Extern