Legal Experience—Solving Complex Business Problems
Ms. Lockner is a partner in the firm’s business litigation department, and acts as lead counsel on numerous complex-litigation cases with multi-million dollars—as well as the clients’ reputations—on the line.
Ms. Lockner’s litigation philosophy is to pick her battles well, guided primarily by her client’s needs and objectives. She has been described as having “a velvet glove in one hand and brass knuckles in the other,” and she knows when one should be used rather than the other. She also took pride in the business client who told her: “I don’t like needing you, but I sure do have fun working with you.” In sum, Ms. Lockner’s most basic objective is to make her client’s life easier—whether it be the in-house legal counsel who has to meet a budget and apprise her board of litigation risks, a business client who wants to capitalize on an opportunity, or the pro bono client who needs our justice system to protect him. No matter the issue or industry at issue, her exercise of good judgment is what underpins Ms. Lockner’s strategy.
Ms. Lockner has extensive experience in first and second chairing trials in both state and federal courts. In one instance, she successfully first chaired a jury trial in defense of a Fortune 50 publicly-traded company in a-breach-of-contract case relating to registered securities where trial counsel on the other side was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in the History of the State by Minnesota Law & Politics. The jury found in favor of Ms. Lockner’s client. Two months earlier, she second-chaired a two-week federal criminal conspiracy and tax fraud case in the Federal District of Minnesota on behalf of a prominent, local businessperson, cross examining the special agent, the revenue agent, and the alleged victim, among others. The jury acquitted the client on 5 of 9 counts, including those with the most alleged financial losses.
While she loves trying cases, Ms. Lockner has also had great success in obtaining early resolutions where it serves her clients best interests. In recent months, she successfully obtained summary judgment in a putative nationwide federal class action on behalf of a Fortune 50 company, won a motion to dismiss a complaint alleging various state law fraud claims, and defeated class certification in two federal class actions. She also recently negotiated an early nationwide class-action settlement before any discovery or advanced motion practice had occurred. The settlement ended up being 60 percent less than what other defendants in similar cases brought by the same plaintiff’s counsel settled for after much more extensive discovery and motion practice, providing finality with minimal exposure to the client. In many instances, Ms. Lockner has been successful in avoiding litigation for her clients altogether through effective pre-suit negotiation.
Government and Internal Investigations
Ms. Lockner also has extensive experience handling governmental investigations and has litigated against and negotiated with numerous Attorneys General throughout the country. She successfully obtained an outright voluntary dismissal of a case that the Ohio Attorney General brought after she obtained sanctions against the State for discovery abuses. In addition, Ms. Lockner has handled and participated in several internal and grand jury investigations and recognizes that there are not only legal, but also public relations and employee-morale ramifications that must be mitigated in these instances.
Ms. Lockner has counseled corporations, executives, and individuals in how to handle—and diffuse—disputes that could lead to litigation or issues that could create potential risk. For example, Ms. Lockner has advised parties on how to extricate themselves from business relationships that are no longer beneficial and negotiated on their behalf to protect her clients’ interests, all while avoiding litigation. In one instance, Ms. Lockner was brought in to lead a cross-functional business team in implementing a complex, high-profile project relating to the company’s massive IT infrastructure in a manner that took into account how those changes could impact pending and future litigation. In another instance, Ms. Lockner has provided counseling relating to compliance, data security, privacy, and marketing risks.
Pro Bono and Community Service—Serving Those In Need
In addition to her per diem practice, Ms. Lockner heads the firm’s nationally-recognized Pro Bono Program. Since Ms. Lockner was named to that position in 2009, the firm has been ranked in the top 10 of Am Law firms two years in a row and was featured as one of five firms nationally whose ranks had increased the most over the previous five years. In 2011, the “The Vault” survey named the firm as No. 1 in the nation for its pro bono program. She has been fortunate to represent numerous inspiring clients who have face debilitating challenges and have thrived despite them, including asylum seekers, foster children, battered women, and veterans. In one case, she began representing an Ethopian woman seeking asylum two weeks after Ms. Lockner was sworn into the bar. After three trials, two trips to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and finally a trip to the Eighth Circuit where Ms. Lockner argued to overturn the immigration judge’s decision, her client was finally awarded asylum status nearly nine years later. More recently, she represented two mothers from Honduras and their children and persuaded the Office of Chief Counsel to stipulate to their petitions for asylum.
Ms. Lockner also serves on the board of several organizations including the Advocates for Human Rights, the Fund for Legal Aid, and the Basilica Landmark. She also serves as one of two trustees to the Basilica of St. Mary where she also sits on the parish council and the finance committee.