Brian T. Rochel
main: (612) 767-0520
direct: (612) 767-0528
Brian Rochel provides winning results for employees and whistleblowers. He is a leader in his field: as a successful trial lawyer, President of Minnesota NELA, experienced appellate practitioner, and a trusted voice in employment law nationwide, Brian is a well-rounded and thorough advocate for his clients.
Brian is routinely recognized as a “Super Lawyer” (2022-present) and a “Rising Star” before that (2012-2020). In addition, Brian was named a “Labor & Employment Star” by Benchmark Litigation each year since 2018 and an “Up & Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer.
His success and experience has earned him certification by the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) as an Employment Law Specialist and scores of awards and recognition detailed below.
When he is not fighting for workers, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife, two boys, and dogs. He loves spending time outdoors and coaches youth sports.
Brian has received numerous awards and recognitions and is very active in his community, in federal, state and local bar associations, and particularly in the labor and employment field advocating for workers’ rights. Here are some examples:
- Certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) as an Employment Law Specialist
- Named a “Super Lawyer” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2022-present)
- Named a “Rising Star” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2012-2020)
- Named a “Labor & Employment Star – Midwest” by Benchmark Litigation (2018-present)
- Named “Up & Coming Attorney” by Minnesota Lawyer (2017)
- Awarded the “Outstanding Author of the Year” by the Federal Bar Association (FBA) Labor & Employment Section (2015)
- Recognized as Minnesota State Bar Association North Star Lawyer for pro bono service (2014-2019, 2022)
- “Brian Rochel helped me navigate a tough situation and earned my trust with his straightforward approach and responsiveness. He listened, provided practical advice, and helped me think through my options. Brian and the team at Kitzer Rochel have earned their reputation as experts in their field, and I highly recommend them!” – Google Review
- “Brian is what an attorney ought to be– helpful, kind, super-smart, knows the law, and passionate about fighting for fair treatment for all. He takes the time to get to know his clients on a personal level, making working with him a much more enjoyable & trust filled process. He really fought to help me and continues to do so if needed. I would not hesitate to refer him to anyone and was beyond confident in him & his advice the entire time. Really a top-notch human whom makes for an outstanding lawyer. I sincerely cannot say enough good things about him, his partner, and their overall worth ethic!” – Google Review
- “Brian handled my case with professionalism and respect. He listened and advised me on my case. Their staff was courteous and efficient. They were all patient and understanding and answered all my questions in terms I could understand. They gave me the pros and cons of each step of the process. I felt they had my best interests in mind and I couldn’t have been in better hands. I highly recommend them.” – Google Review
- Rated a perfect 10 out of 10 (“Superb”) Avvo
- 5 Star Rating on Google Reviews
Brian currently serves as the Eighth Circuit representative for National NELA’s Amicus Advisory Council, a committee which guides NELA’s national brief-writing priorities and frequently provides legal briefing at the United States Supreme Court.
He has appeared before the Minnesota Supreme Court as a member of the MN-NELA Amicus Committee, writing briefs in many high-profile cases. Examples include Kenneh v. Homeward Bound, Inc. (a seminal case changing the standard for what constitutes sexual harassment at work); Hanson v. DNR (a leading case questioning the use of the problematic McDonnell Douglas “test” on summary judgment); Friedlander v. Edward Lifesciences (a major case expanding protections under the Minnesota Whistleblower Act); Sanchez v. Dahlke Trailer Sales (a seminal case on the intersection of federal immigration law and Minnesota law prohibiting employment retaliation); Ford v. Minneapolis Public Schools (establishing a 6-year statute of limitation in Minnesota whistleblower claims); and Peterson v. City of Minneapolis (a leading case on the Minnesota Human Rights Act and alternative dispute resolution).
- Board Member, National Employment Lawyers Association–Minnesota Chapter (MN-NELA); 2021-present, 2014-2017
- Volunteer Attorney, Pro Se Project, U.S. District Court; 2011-present
- Adjunct Professor, University of Minnesota Law School; 2018
- Adjunct Faculty, Mitchell | Hamline School of Law; 2017
- Amicus Advisory Council for the Eighth Circuit, NELA; 2021-present
- Member, National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA); 2011-present
- Member, National Employment Lawyers Association–Minnesota Chapter (MN-NELA); 2010-present
- Member, Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), Labor & Employment Section; 2011-present
- Co-Chair, Committee on Programming and Continuing Legal Education, FBA Labor & Employment Section; 2016-2017
- Co-Chair, Committee on Publications and Public Relations, FBA Labor & Employment Section; 2015-2017
- Volunteer Attorney, MSBA Unemployment Appeals Clinic; 2012-present
- Vice President, National Employment Lawyers Association–Minnesota Chapter (MN-NELA); 2016-2017
- Board Member, FBA Younger Lawyers Division (YLD); 2015-2017
- Liaison to FBA Labor & Employment Section
- Committee Member, MSBA Human Rights Committee; 2012-2014
- Board Member, NELA–Eighth Circuit Chapter; 2012-2014
- Volunteer Facilitator, Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice Partnership, 2011-present;
- Executive Committee, 2012-2013
Brian is a frequent presenter and lecturer around the country on employment law issues. He has also testified at the Minnesota Senate on behalf of workers’ rights laws, including banning noncompete agreements and providing paid family leave for Minnesota workers.
Brian has appeared on radio, served as a regular contributor to a national employment publication, presented on many panels, and has been published in national and local legal periodicals regarding employment law issues. Following are examples of Brian’s presentations and published works.
- “Putting Theory into Practice: Effectively Litigating Age Discrimination Claims,” National Convention, Chicago, IL; July 2023
- “Valuing Emotional Distress Damages,” National Employment Lawyers Association–Eighth Circuit Biennial Conference, St. Louis, MO; October 13, 2022
- “Staying Organized During Litigation,” National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) National Convention, San Francisco, CA; July 2022
- “McDonnell Douglas and the Direct Method: A New Normal on the Horizon?” Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), March 2022
- “Employment Trends from the COVID-19 Battlefield,” Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), October 2020
- “Outside-The-Box Discovery Tools: Getting Creative with Discovery in The Era of Proportionality,” National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) National Convention, Chicago, IL; June 2018
- “What’s the Harm? – Evaluating and Proving Damages,” Minnesota CLE, Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, May 2018
- “Plaintiff’s Employment Perspective on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Minnesota-NELA, February 2018
- “It’s About Sending a Message: Moving for Punitive Damages,” Minnesota-NELA, November 2017
- “What I Wish I Knew Starting Out As a Plaintiff’s Employment Lawyer,” National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) National Convention, Los Angeles, CA; June 2016
- “The Intersection of Disability, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws,” Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust’s (MCIT), Advanced Employment Issues for Public Entities; June 2016
- “LGBT Issues: Taking Action and Getting Results,” National Employment Lawyers Association–Eighth Circuit Biennial Conference, Kansas City, MO; April 2016
- “Employment Law Series: The Intersection of Disability, FMLA and Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Laws,” Minnesota CLE, October 2015
- “What’s New at the EEOC in the Wake of Recent Supreme Court Decisions,” (Moderator/Organizer) Federal Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Seminar, August 2015
- “The MHRA Right to a Jury Trial–When Does It Apply?” Minnesota-NELA, October 2014
- “Federal Law Clerks’ Tips on Trial and Dispositive Motions,” (Moderator/Organizer) Federal Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Seminar, September 2014
- “ADAAA Claims: Employers Retreat and Reload”(Moderator), 8th Circuit Conference, National Employment Lawyers Association, April 2014
- “Becoming the Land of 10,000 Languages: Effectively Working with Interpreters and Navigating other Challenges when Representing Immigrants” (Moderator), Minnesota State Bar Association, 2013
- “Pratfalls, Cat’s Paws and Fact Questions: Maximizing the Potential in Employee Retaliation Claims,” 2013 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute, July 16, 2013
- “Hostile Work Environments: Beyond Sexual Harassment,” Minnesota State Bar Association-Labor & Employment Section, May 8, 2012
- “Winning Civil Damages in Workers’ Compensation Claims,” Minnesota Association for Justice (MAJ), May 4, 2012
- “The Constitutional Right to a Jury Trial in MHRA Claims,” Minnesota State Bar Association Human Rights Committee, February 13, 2012
- “Civil Causes of Action Related to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act: §176.82,” MAJ 2012 Worker’s Compensation Seminar, February 10, 2012
- “Employment Law Series: Basics of Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Claims,” Minnesota CLE, October 10, 2012