Michelle M. Donarski has over 25 years of experience representing businesses and employers, large and small, in the areas of employment law, business transactions, contracts, agricultural law, administrative hearings and proceedings, and civil litigation. She is licensed in North Dakota and Minnesota state and federal courts.
Michelle advises businesses and employers on a daily basis. She takes pride in providing clients effective legal advice in a timely and cost effective manner. As a result, many of her clients are long-term clients that have become friends.
Michelle is a frequent lecturer on employment law and represents employers in all aspects of employment law. She brings a depth of employment law experience to her clients. She regularly advises businesses on issues such as FMLA, FLSA, OSHA, workers’ compensation and workforce safety, wage and hour, ADA, Title VII – Civil Rights, whistleblower claims, retaliation claims, non-compete and non-disclosure matters, employment contracts, policy review, hiring and termination, internal investigations, responding to DOL and EEOC complaints, and pandemic regulations, policies and best practices. She frequently provides training to employers on employment laws, best practices, and other current issues.
She has also successfully represented farmers and arbitrated federal crop insurance cases and federal appeals with the United States Department of Agriculture.
In addition to advising clients, Michelle is a municipal judge for the city of West Fargo, ND and has held this role since 2005. This role has given her the ability to intently listen to clients, apply the law, and effectively problem solve.
Education and Experience:
Minnesota State University Moorhead (B.S. 1990)
University of North Dakota (J.D. 1995 with Distinction)
ABST Law (since 2000)
Jeffries, Olson, Flom & Bullis, P.A., Fargo, ND (1995-2000)
Municipal Judge, West Fargo, North Dakota (2005-2022)
Alternate Municipal Judge, Fargo, North Dakota (2013-2015)
Great Plains Super Lawyers®, Thomson/Reuters, 2012 – Present
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
Leading Employment Lawyer (2004 – present) in editions of Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers
“The Best Lawyers in America”, in Commercial Litigation and Employment Law (2009 – present)
“Lawyer of the Year” in the practice of Employment Law – Management in Fargo, North Dakota
“Best Law Firms” by “U.S. News & World Reports (2015)
Minnesota Supreme Court (1995)
North Dakota Supreme Court (1995)
U.S. District Court of MN (1995)
U.S. District Court of ND (1996)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (1996)
- Punitive Damages and Insurance: Are Punitive Damages Insurable? The ND Supreme Court Says Yes, Despite ND’s Public Policy to the Contrary, 70 N.D. Law Review, 637 (1994)
- Professional Writer for “Area Woman” Magazine (1996-2000)
- Employment Law: Sexual Harassment in the Work Place
- Employment Law: North Dakota Gender Discrimination & Sexual Harassment
- Pre-Employment Inquires: What questions can employers ask During the Interview Process?
- Employment At Will: The Employment Relationship
- Employment at Law: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”)
- Employment Law: 2000 Federal Employment Law Update
- Employment Law: Best Practices in Employment Law
- Employment Law: Documentation, Discipline, Dismissal… Avoiding the Pitfalls!
- Estate Planning: The Benefits of a Will & a Power of Attorney
- Purchasing a Home: What a Buyer Should Know Before Signing on the Dotted Line
- Premarital Agreements: I do. . . . But do I need a Premarital Agreement first?
Community Service and Activities
Churches United for the Homeless
GoFar Woman Race Committee Member
Past Board President, Fargo Cass Board of Health, Fargo, North Dakota
Past Board President, Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Dakota
Past City of Fargo Civil Service Commission Member, Fargo, North Dakota
Member Sanford Women’s Metro Council (2013 – present)
Volunteer Leader for Youth Confirmation for Hope Lutheran Church (2009-2015)