• J.D., cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School, 1970
  • Staff member, Minnesota Law Review, 1968-1970
  • B.A., Political Science, University of California at Davis, 1967c
  • U.S. Army, First Lieutenant, Honorable Discharge


  • Stern Law Office, 2009-Present
  • Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., 1984-2009
  • Wright, West & Diessner, 1977-1984
  • Cox, King & Stern, 1970-1977


  • Alternative Dispute Resolution — Over 35 years' alternative dispute resolution experience, including selection by litigants as a mediator and arbitrator in more than 1,000 cases. In the past three years, selected as a neutral in over 100 cases, ranging in size from several thousand dollars to over $50,000,000, comprising hearings of less than one day to over three weeks. Qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice. Membership on arbitration and mediation panels of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) n.k.a. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), ValueSolve ADR, and the Conflict Resolution Center (CRC). Panel member of States of Minnesota and Wisconsin Education ADR programs (IEP Mediations and Facilitated IEPs). Hearing officer for Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. One of approximately 35 instructors nationally for the AAA’s continuing training program for mediators and arbitrators, having served in this capacity since the program’s 1998 inception.
  • Litigation — More than 40 years' experience as a trial attorney with proficiency in litigation of complex business problems, environmental cases, insurance coverage disputes, and defense of malpractice claims. Practice in federal and state courts. As an advocate, has represented hundreds of clients in mediations and arbitrations.


  • Arbitration and Mediation — Retained and sits as an arbitrator and mediator for a wide range of problems. Examples of service as a neutral include franchise terminations; claims for payment of commissions; claimed violations of restrictive covenants; claims to apportion environmental damages; claims of breach of contracts for sales of goods and services; disputes involving claimed violations of computer software sales, licensing, and consulting agreements; claims seeking enforcement of dealership and sales agent agreements; disputes arising from sales of businesses; disputes concerning real estate sales, leases, financing, and related issues; disputes arising from personal property leases; personal injury claims; insurance disputes concerning automobile, life/health/disability, excess loss, crop, trade credit, business interruption/property coverage, comprehensive general liability, and related coverages; construction disputes; products liability claims; partnership disputes; class actions; commercial and consumer lending disputes; trademark, tradename, and tradedress claims; copyright infringement; patent infringement; professional negligence (malpractice) disputes; employer-employee termination-related litigation; corporate governance and derivative disputes among board members, officers, review committees, and shareholders; shareholder conflicts and buyout disputes; securities litigation including suitability, futures trading, hedging, churning, fraud, private placement memorandum inadequacies, and related issues; disputes as to eligibility for and appropriate terms of an Individual Education Plan (IEP); extensive community mediation problems, e.g., neighbor-to-neighbor  disputes concerning noise, fences, litter, etc.;  landlord-tenant disputes concerning rent payments, security deposits, habitability, etc.; consumer/debtor – financing agency disputes concerning payments, defaults, security, etc.
  • Lead Counsel — Has tried complex jury and bench cases as lead counsel, supervising associates and legal assistants. Representative litigation includes corporate and partnership governance disputes; disputes concerning valuations of corporate stock and statutory rights of minority shareholders; disputes concerning enforcement of shareholder buyout agreements; litigation concerning directors’ and officers’ fiduciary responsibilities, etc.; disputes concerning challenged partnership actions and partners’ fiduciary responsibilities; trademark, tradename, tradedress, and related intellectual property issues; patent infringement; fraud claims; litigation concerning various types of commercial contracts; unfair competition litigation; disputes concerning sales of businesses; negligence claims; franchise and dealership litigation; disputes concerning real estate development, sales, and leases; employment disputes; first and third party insurance declaratory judgment actions; disputes concerning business interruption/property, directors and officers, ERISA, professional liability, toxic tort and hazardous waste, and comprehensive general liability and related coverages, e.g. triggers, multiple and continuing occurrences, allocation among carriers, existence of an occurrence, etc.; professional negligence litigation; etc.
  • Defense of Medical Malpractice Claims — Significant experience defending medical malpractice claims, including orthopedic, cardiac, pulmonary, neurological, gynecological, etc., and in medically related issues, including work with hospitals concerning regulatory and management issues and with medical device manufacturers in development and sales of products.


  • California (inactive as of 2000)
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals, 6th, 7th, and 8th Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Wisconsin
  • Upper Sioux Tribal Court


  • American Arbitration Association Commercial Panel - Neutral
  • Member of AAA Subcommittee on Class Actions of AAA Practice Committee
  • Member of AAA Minneapolis Advisory Committee
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
  • Chair of the Arbitration Committee of the MSBA Dispute Resolution Section (2007-2008)
  • Elected member of the Governing Council of Natural Resources and Environmental Law Section of MSBA (1989-1995)
  • Elected member of the Governing Council of Litigation Section of MSBA (1995-1998)
  • Co-Chair of Committee on Civil Juries of MSBA (1996-1998)
  • Member of RUAA Committee of MSBA Dispute Resolution Section
  • Wisconsin State Bar Association
  • California State Bar Association (inactive as of 2000)


  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)
  • College of Advocacy, American Bar Association
  • NASD n.k.a. FINRA New Panel Member Training (04/03)
  • CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution Mediator Training (06/02)
  • AAA Mediator Conference Workshop, New Orleans, LA (03/01)
  • AAA Advanced Case Management Issues, Train the Trainer Course (12/00)
  • AAA Mediator Conference Workshop, Chicago, IL (09/00)
  • AAA Fundamentals of the Arbitration Process, Train the Trainer Course (11/98)
  • AAA Advanced Alternative Dispute Resolution Training (05/94)
  • Advanced Mediator Training (05/94)
  •  AAA Commercial Mediation (05/94)
  • Hennepin County Fourth Judicial District, Arbitrator Training
  • Various Other ADR Training and Seminars


  • One of approximately 35 instructors nationally for the AAA’s continuing training program for neutrals, having served in this capacity since the program’s 1998 inception
  • William Mitchell College of Law, Adjunct Professor, Advanced Ethics, 1999-2004
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law, Adjunct Professor, ADR, Spring 2004, 2005, 2006; Civil Procedure, 2001 and 2002


  • Iliria Royal University (Civil Litigation), Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo, three weeks, 2008
  • University of Rijeka Law Facility (The Federal Judicial System), Rijeka, Croatia, four weeks, 2007    
  • Kàroli Gàspàr University (The American Legal System), Budapest, Hungary, five weeks, 2006


  • Chosen by peers as one of the top lawyers in Minnesota in the practice of alternative dispute resolution (Minnesota Monthly, 2006-2013) and and also recognized as such in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc., 2006-2014) and in the American Lawyer Magazine (December, 2011). Also ranked within the First Tier of Law Firms by U.S. News & World Report (2013) in "Best Law Firms" and "Best Lawyers."


  • "Advanced Mediation Training," American Arbitration Association (facilitator), March 2013
  • "2012 Arbitration Update," Minnesota CLA (faculty), September 2012
  • "Advanced Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Officer Training," Conflict Resolution Center (instructor), March 2012
  • "The Supreme Court's Unprecedented Interest in Arbitration," Minnesota CLE (faculty), September 2011
  • "Advanced Mediation Advocacy," Minnesota CLE (faculty), June 2011
  • "Effective, Efficient and Affordable Mediation," Minnesota CLE (faculty), June 2011
  • Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Hearing Officer Training, Conflict Resolution Center (instructor), February 2011
  • "Chairing the Three Member Panel," AAA (instructor), December 2010
  • Advanced Mediator Training, AAA (instructor), June 2010
  • “Current Controversies in Arbitration,” 12th  Annual ADR Institute (faculty), October 2009
  • “What Advocates Want (and Don't Want) in Arbitrators; What Arbitrators Want (and Don't Want) in Advocates,” MSBA Bench & Bar Conference (instructor), January 2009
  • Visiting Law Professor, three Eastern European universities, spring courses 2006, 2007, 2009
  • “AAA Arbitration Roadmap:  The Standard for Efficient and Cost Effective Arbitration,” AAA Seminar (instructor), November 19, 2008
  • “The Arbitration Process:  This is Not Litigation as Usual” Inside the Minds: Arbitration Best Practice (contributing author), Aspatore Books, 2008
  • “MSBA ADR Arbitration Update,” MSBA (instructor), April 2008
  • “Arbitration Series:  Ethical Considerations in Arbitration for Neutrals and Lawyer-Advocates” MN CLE (faculty), September 2007
  • “Second Annual Arbitration Training Institute,” ABA Section of Dispute Resolution (faculty), May 2005
  • “Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding and Writing Awards,” AAA Seminar (instructor), February 2004; May 2005
  • “Maintaining Balance,” Regional Conference of ABA Student Lawyers Section (instructor), February 2004
  • “Arbitration Advocacy,” AAA Seminar (instructor), August 2003; December 2004
  • “Advanced Case Management Issues,” AAA Commercial Arbitration Training Workshop (faculty), March 2001; January 2002; July 2002; September 2002; October 2002; January 2003; July 2003
  • “AAA Annual Arbitrator Update 2002 Seminar” (faculty), November 2002
  • “Fundamentals of the Arbitration Process,” AAA Commercial Arbitration Training Workshop (faculty), May 1999; June 1999; February 2000; March 2003; May 2005
  • “Questioning of Witnesses by Jurors,” Civil Litigation Annual Meeting, MSBA, April 1998
  • “Unfair Claims Practices,” Guest Lecturer, Chubb Insurance Group, November 1997
  • “Civil Jury Project,” Civil Litigation Institute, MSBA, November 22-23, 1996
  • “New Life to MERA,” MSBA; Environmental & Natural Resources Law News, December 1995
  • “How to Win Your Dispositive Motions,” Civil Litigation Institute, MSBA, November 13-14, 1995
  • “Alternative Dispute Resolution:  Tales From The Front,” Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., and Twin Cities Business Monthly, September 29, 1995
  • “Environmental Cleanups and the Capitalization Wringer,” MSBA Environmental and Natural Resources Law News, December 1993
  • “Releases for Environmental Liability,” MN Defense Lawyers Association, April 17, 1993
  • “The Valdez Principles:  Environmental Compliance and Management,” MILE, December 3-4, 1992
  • “Risk Assessment:  Practice to Policy,” MSBA Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, May 1, 1992
  • “Mediating Cleanup Allocations,” Hennepin County Bar Association, Mediation-Arbitration Section, April 22, 1992
  • “Thoughts on Managing Large Deductible Claims,” Minnesota RIMS Conference, February 4, 1992
  • “Hazardous Waste in Minnesota: Enforcement of Federal and State Hazardous Waste Laws,” National Business Institute, September 27, 1991
  • “Conflicts of Interest in Multiparty Litigation:  Ethical Considerations,” Environmental Workshop, MSBA, April 18, 1991
  • “Releases of Liability in Environmental Liability,” Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, November 16, 1990
  • “Handling the Director and Officer Claim from the Perspective of Director's Counsel,” MILE, May 8, 1990


  • Voluntary Lawyers Network pro bono panel, 1970 to present
  • Neighborhood Involvement Program (NIP) (providing social service programs, including medical clinic for uninsured, support services for seniors and tutoring for youth, with an annual budget of approximately $2 million), Board Member 1994-2001 and 2004-2009 (Board Chair 1999-2001)
  • Upper Midwest Branch of International Dyslexia Association (IDA-UMB) (devoted to early diagnosis of dyslexia and implementation of multisensory teaching), Board Member 2005-2011
  • The June Stern Family Foundation (supporting research-based K-3 teacher education in reading, writing, and spelling), Board Member and Treasurer 2001-present
  • Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission (Past Commissioner)

MORE about Leo Stern

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