Sheila Engelmeier approaches every legal problem with both considerable intellect and common sense. Her first priority always is avoiding a lengthy legal battle. When proactive planning does not facilitate a swift resolution, Sheila is an aggressive litigator who strongly advocates her clients' positions. Creative and persistent, Sheila was described by one client as "the edge that made the difference" in that company's success in a hard fought action.
After her first few years of practice, she has focused her practice on employment matters, shareholder issues and the challenges facing the early childhood education industry. She has practiced employment law for more than 25 years, has chaired the employment groups of large law firms and is a founder of Engelmeier & Umanah. Both Sheila and the Firm pride themselves on a down-to-earth approach that achieves effective and efficient solutions for clients. She has been named a "Super Lawyer" on several occasions, a "Top 50 Woman Super Lawyer" and "Top 40 Employment Super Lawyer" by Minnesota Law & Politics, and was selected by the Business Journal as a "Woman to Watch" in the Twin Cities' business community.
Sheila's tenacity and attention to detail make her extremely successful in handling employment matters. She often assists both companies and executives in negotiating intricate employment agreements. She has handled the full panoply of employment litigation matters, from non-competes to discrimination or sexual harassment cases. Sheila is veteran both in administration tribunals and in court handling disputes about workplace worries from "soup to nuts" (sometimes literally). She's handled everything from hiring to firing, including employee theft and contract disputes; she litigates post-employment fights about unfair competition and misuse of corporate property; and she assists companies in developing effective selection and performance management programs.
Sheila has developed and facilitated numerous training programs on a variety of workplace issues such as diversity, effective and respectful termination strategies, avoiding harassment and discrimination and dealing with the disabled worker. In collaboration with her colleague Sue Fischer, Sheila developed the premier training tool, RESPECT EFFECTTM. Employers regularly ask Sheila to train both managers and employees, individually and collectively. Her effectiveness in this area comes, in part, from Sheila's knowledge that different communication strategies are necessary for varying workshops and audiences. For example, after 25+ years of experience, Sheila has learned that in one-to-one boundary coaching, some executives need a strong hand, while others need an education or a sympathetic ear. And, with employee workshops, participants gain more from self-discovery than from lecture.In the past decade, Sheila has developed a successful Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") practice. Others have described Sheila's approach as insightful and flexible. Sheila applies her extensive employment law knowledge, business savvy and persuasion skills to help resolve disputes.
Areas of Practice
- Employment Counseling and Litigation
- Unfair Competition and Shareholder Disagreements
- Executive Compensation & Contract Disputes/Enforcement
- Early Childhood Education Counseling and Litigation
Certified Legal Specialties
- MSBA Certified Labor and Employment Law Specialist
- Consulting Employment Law Specialist, various radio and television stations
- Minnesota Women Lawyer’s Foundation Founding Donor
- University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Honors: cum laude
- Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
- Honors: magna cum laude
- Honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Gamma Mu
- Presenter, Changing Culture of Business: Workplace Lawyers’ Perspectives, May 2018
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Hennepin County Bar Association