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Paul Zech is a former President of the firm and past Chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment section. Over the course of over 30 years in practice, he has been entirely committed to representing management in providing employment law advice, employment litigation defense, and traditional labor law representation. Paul manages short- and long-term employment law conflicts and goals, assists in statutory and common law compliance, and helps business leaders make difficult decisions in virtually every aspect of labor and employment law.

Paul has successfully represented management in labor negotiations in dozens of different industries, successfully reaching contracts that are desirable to the client while maintaining as much as possible a good and respectful working relationship with organized labor and workers. He has also assisted management in dealing with and responding to labor disputes such as strikes and lockouts. Once contracts are settled, he works daily with clients in interpreting and administering the labor contract to avoid wherever possible misinterpretations and grievances. When grievances do arise, he is pleased to work with clients in handling grievance arbitrations from start to finish with a high success rate.

Paul’s practice includes the full range of labor and employment issues, from all National Labor Relations Board proceedings, labor negotiations and arbitrations, to lawsuits based on breach of contract, defamation, discrimination and wrongful termination. In litigation defense, he has represented clients on pre-litigation advice and counsel, undertaken the zealous defense of claims once filed and engaged in alternative dispute resolution (mediation) to reach early and advantageous settlements. When needed, Paul has tried cases to the courts and to juries with a high level of success for all of his clients in a multitude of industries. He has extensive expertise in handling complex litigation in the area of employment discrimination claims and has handled a number of constitutional law challenges in and out of the labor law arena. He has also worked extensively as a neutral mediator in dozens of successful mediations of employment disputes.

Paul has been named one of the Top 40 Labor and Employment Law Attorneys in Minnesota multiple years, as recognized in Minnesota Law & Politics and was appointed to the Top 40 ADR list by Minnesota Law & Politics this year. He has been on the Top 100 Super Lawyers® list, recognized by Minnesota Law & Politics, many times, most recently in 2017, and has been included regularly in “Best Lawyers in America©”. He lectures extensively on labor and employment issues, both locally and nationally.

Practice Areas

  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Employment Litigation
  • National Labor Relations Board Proceedings
  • Labor Relations Law
  • Employment Arbitration
  • Breach of Contract
  • Defamation
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Wrongful Termination Cases

Representative Cases

  • Clark, et. al. v. Fairview Southdale Hospital.  Complete defense verdict in a jury trial on a breach of contract claim where the plaintiff claimed in excess of 10 million dollars in damages.
  • Ludwig v. Epiphany Church and School . We were able to obtain summary judgment in Ramsey County District Court on complicated age discrimination and breach of contract claims in the face of sophisticated contrary expert analysis. That summary judgment was recently affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
  • Kanyadan v. Fairview Health System, In this employment arbitration race discrimination case, we obtained a nearly unprecedented order of summary judgment which also led to the complete dismissal of all claims pending in federal court.
  • In the labor law arena in the last three years, Paul has successfully negotiated to conclusion dozens of open labor contracts and has successfully litigated dozens of grievance arbitrations involving contract interpretation questions as well as discipline. In particular, he has litigated many labor arbitration claims for health care clients where employees were terminated for breaches of privacy and/or alleged violations of HIPAA.

Professional Certifications, Awards and Designations

  • Named one of the Top 100 Minnesota Super Lawyers® 2010-2019
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
  • Certified Labor and Employment Specialist in Minnesota by the MSBA
  • Included in “Best Lawyers in America,” (2003 – 2019)
  • “Lawyer of the Year” in Labor Law – Management, 2017 (Minneapolis), Best Lawyers in America©
  • “Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law – Management, 2019 (Minneapolis), Best Lawyers in America©
  • Consistently appointed as Leader in his Field by the Chambers USA Guide
  • Named to Super Lawyer®,  2003-2021
  • Rated “AV Preeminent” (highest rating) by Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory
  • Best Lawyers in America© 2021

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota, 1984
  • United States District Court (Minnesota), 1984
  • United States Supreme Court, 1992
  • North Dakota, 1991
  • 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1985
  • 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1986
  • 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1998


Paul J. Zech

Rated by Super Lawyers

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Paul J. Zech

Rated by Super Lawyers

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The College of Labor & Employment Lawyers
Paul Zech

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member 1984 to present, Labor and Employment Law Section, Member 1989 to present; Chairman, 1993-94


  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, cum laude,1984
  • B.A., University of Minnesota, 1980


  • “Federal Preemption and State Exclusive Remedy Issues in Employment Litigation,” 72 N.D.L.Rev. 325 (1996)
  • “Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing,” Bench and Bar Minnesota, April 1986 (Recipient of MSBA Author’s Award)


  • May 2017 MN CLE – Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute
  • May 2016 MN CLE – Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute
  • October 2015 MN CLE – Course Co-Chair, Labor and Employment Law Specialist Certification Examination
  • May 2015 MN CLE – Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute
  • March 2015 MN CLE – Course Chair, New NLRB Rules and Decisions: An Important Labor Law Update
  • May 2014 MN CLE – Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute
  • March 2014 – Midwest Journalism Conference, Unpaid Interns: Free Help or Costly Lawsuits?
  • January 2014 – MN CLE Specialist Certification Examination Preparation Seminar
  • May 2013 MN CLE – Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute
  • Panel Discussion: Should Your Company Change Any Policies After Numerous NLRB Rulings
  • Panel Discussion: In-depth NLRB Update with Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon
  • MN CLE – 39th Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, New & Imminent Developments in Anti-Harassment Law, 2012


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