Susan Gaertner

As an investigation and white collar defense team lead, Susan Gaertner represents companies, institutions, and individuals facing federal and state court enforcement actions, and she conducts internal investigations when allegations of misconduct are raised.

Susan’s practice spans a wide range of white collar matters, including allegations of mail fraud, wire fraud, and visa fraud. She also assists clients with civil and criminal tax matters in state and federal jurisdictions, including foreign bank account disclosure filings and issues relating to unreported income. In addition, her experience includes defending religious and other nonprofit organizations facing both internal and external investigations, with a particular focus on allegations of sexual misconduct. Susan is accustomed to working on high-profile matters, and is experienced in dealing with the media in conjunction with and on behalf of her clients. 

Susan is an experienced trial attorney, having served as Ramsey County Attorney in Minnesota from 1995 to 2011. She was only the fourth person to hold the office since 1933 and was the first woman to hold the office. Susan took a hands-on approach and successfully prosecuted many high-profile and complex cases in civil and criminal court. In addition, she spearheaded initiatives aimed at improving system-wide responses to sexual misconduct allegations, and gained particular experience in the area of child abuse prosecution and prevention. She previously served as assistant county attorney for 10 years, successfully trying scores of cases to a jury. In recognition of Susan’s trial experience, she has been admitted into the American College of Trial Lawyers.

With her experience managing myriad civil litigation and advisory practice challenges faced by a major metropolitan county, Susan understands the impact that investigations and litigation have on an organization. Her experience allows her to create solutions to legal problems and ensure they are provided in a cost-effective manner, whether it is done in-house or through outside counsel.

Susan has also counseled health care providers on issues related to health care fraud and regulatory enforcement. She has represented health care professionals in district court and licensing board matters, and before the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

Susan previously worked as a criminal defense attorney for the William Mauzy Law Office and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Gerald W. Heaney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Court Memberships

  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Tax Court


  • "Minnesota Super Lawyer,” Thomson Reuters, 2004-2009, 2014-2019
  • Norm Maleng Minister of Justice Award, Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, 2009
  • Prosecutor of Excellence Award, Public Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, 2007
  • Women of Distinction Award, Century College, 2007
  • Distinguished Service Award, Minnesota County Attorneys Association, 2004
  • Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2003
  • Hall of Fame, Harding High School, St. Paul, MN
  • “North Star Lawyers,” Minnesota State Bar Association, 2016-2019


Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, advisory board and past vice chair
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Minnesota County Attorneys Association, board member and past president
  • National District Attorneys Association, board of director

Community Involvement

  • Minnesota Interagency Task Force on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention
  • Minnesota Criminal & Juvenile Justice Information Task Force
  • Joint Domestic Abuse Prosecution Unit, cofounder, 2000
  • National Symposium on Female Offenders, delegate, 1999
  • White House Leadership Conference on Youth, Drug Use, and Violence, participant, 1996
  • University of Minnesota Law School, Board of Visitors, 1996–2001
  • Presidential Scholarship Commission, by appointment of President Clinton, 1995–2000
  • Minnesota Attorney General’s Arson Task Force, 1995–1998

Legal alerts

Photo of Susan  Gaertner
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    500 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
F: 612.632.4355


Claudia Neal


University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1980, Minnesota Law Review; Order of the Coif

University of Minnesota - Duluth, B.A., summa cum laude, Political Science