Thomas A. Jacobson

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Attorney & Shareholder

Tom has been helping people navigate the complex maze of employment law for over thirty years.  His passion for employment law is grounded on the belief that our work is more fulfilling and rewarding when employers and employees act within the bounds of the law and that we spend too much time at work to act otherwise.

Tom has been certified as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association. The certified specialist credential must be earned. Attorneys who are certified specialists have met the exacting standards established by the MSBA and approved by the Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification. Fewer than three percent of all registered attorneys in Minnesota are certified specialists in their field.

A frequent speaker on employment law topics, Tom is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, a charter member of the West Central Minnesota Chapter of SHRM, and a co-founder of the annual West Central Minnesota Employment Law Update.

In addition to his employment law practice, Tom handles personal injury cases and business disputes, and he serves as the city attorney for the cities of Alexandria, Starbuck,  Parkers Prairie, and Henning.

Tom is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa and has served as the president of the Douglas County and Seventh District Bar Associations. He has been listed as a Thomson Reuters Super Lawyer annually since 2016.

Tom strongly believes in giving back to the community, and that dedication to community service is shown through his work as a past director for Theatre L’Homme Dieu, Young People’s Place, Community Nursery School, Alexandria Rotary Club, and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.  In 2010 he received the Chamber’s Friend of the Chamber Award which is given annually to a person who has gone beyond expectations to benefit the chamber and its members.

Originally from Marshall, Minnesota, Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Dakota in 1987 and with honors from Drake University Law School in 1990. He also received a master’s degree in mass communications from Drake University in 1990.

Tom and his wife, Joni, live in Alexandria and have three adult sons. When he’s not at the office, he can often be found at a CrossFit box, enjoying the outdoors, or traveling.

Areas Of Practice

  • Employment Law 60%
  • Municipal Law 20%
  • Personal Injury 10%
  • Business disputes 5%
  • General Practice 5%

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Labor and Employment Law, Minnesota State Bar Association, 2011 to present

Bar Admissions

  • North Dakota, 1990
  • Minnesota, 1996
  • Iowa, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 1995
  • U.S. District Court District of North Dakota, 1991
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota, 1996

Education

  • Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa
  • University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts – 05/1987
    • Honors: summa cum laude
    • Honors: Summa Cum Laude
    • Major: Speech – Radio/TV
    • Major: Sociology
  • Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa
    • M.A., Master of Arts – 06/1990
    • Major: Mass Communications

Published Works

  • Avoiding Claims of Defamation in the Workplace, 72 N.D. Law Rev. 247 (1996), 1996
  • Regulating Cable Television Rates under the FCC’s New Effective Competition Standard, 41 Drake L. Rev. 81, 1992
  • Print Media Monopolies–It Is Reasonable for the Attorney General to Allow a Newspaper Suffering Losses that More than Likely Cannot be Reversed, Although not in a Downward Spiral, to Enter a Joint Operating Agreement under the Newspaper Preservation Act–Michigan Citizens For An Independent Press V. Thornburgh, 40 Drake L. Rev. 207 , 1991

Representative Cases

  • Head vs. Morris Veterinary Center, Inc., 2005 WL 1620328, 2005, Minnesota Court of Appeals
  • Heidbreder v. Carton, 636 N.W.2d 833 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001), 2001
  • Naumann v. North Dakota Workers’ Compensation Bureau, 545 N.W.2d 184 (1996), 1996
  • Nelson vs. Vogt, 1998 WL 15660, 1998

Classes/Seminars

  • West Central Minnesota Employment Law Update (co-founder), 2004 to Present
  • Numerous Presentations on Employment Law Topics, Alexandria Technical and Community College; Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission
  • Co-presenter, Managing the Record, Minnesota Association of City Attorneys
  • Presenter, The Strategic Use of Settlement Agreements and Releases, Minnesota CLE
  • 20 Tips for Avoiding Employment Liability , Minnesota CLE
  • Medical Cannabis in the Workplace, Minnesota Association of City Attorneys
  • The New Medical Marijuana Law, Minnesota CLE
  • Medical Marijuana and Public Sector Employment, League of Minnesota Cities
  • Overview of Recent Federal and State Employment Law Developments, Lorman Educational Services
  • Employment Law Update: Overview of Recent Federal and State Developments, Lorman Education Services
  • Keeping a Secret: Employment Law and the Minnesota Uniform Trade Secrets Act, North Star Alliance
  • Employment Law Issues for Non-Profits, Bremer Bank
  • HR Law 101, Lakes Country Service Cooperative
  • Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements and Other Tactics for Safeguarding Your Investment in Your Employees, , Lorman Education Services
  • Understanding Mental Illness in the Workplace: Legal Issues for Employees with Mental Illness, Douglas County Local Advisory Council on Adult and Children’s Mental Health
  • Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, Alexandria Violence in the Workplace Committee

Honors and Awards

  • Friend of the Chamber (2010), Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, 1996 to Present
  • State Bar Association of North Dakota, 1990 to Present
  • Iowa State Bar Association, 1990 to Present
  • Society for Human Resource Management, Present
  • Douglas County Bar Association, Present

Past Employment Positions

  • Nilles Law Firm, Attorney, 09/1990 to 05/1996

Pro Bono Activities

  • Alexandria Rotary Club (past director)
  • Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce (past director and president)
  • Theatre Le Homme Dieu Board of Directors
  • Young Peoples Place Board of Directors
  • Alexandria USA Swim Club Board of Directors
  • Community Nursery School Advisory Committee
  • West Central Minnesota Chapter, Society for Human Resource Management (charter member)
  • Vocalist & Praise Band Member, Calvary Lutheran Church
  • Minnesota Association of City Attorneys – President (2021-2022)
  • Minnesota CLE Labor and Employment Law Institute Planning Committee, 2018 to 2019
  • Minnesota City Attorneys’ Association Educational Conference Planning Committee, 2015 to Present
  • Minnesota Board of Legal Certification, 2017 to Present

From Our Clients

Tom, it has been a pleasure to engage you in resolving issues over the years! I have always appreciated your perspectives and your expertise, and I have no doubt that your insights have saved my company some trouble from time to time. Anytime I have been involved in conversations with others about business matters, I have always felt really good about recommending you and your firm.

- B.P.
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