After working as a partner for two nationally ranked law firms, Sam founded CrossCastle to combine the rigor and expertise of large firms with the flexibility and efficiency of a smaller organization. As a litigator, Sam has successfully represented clients in a broad spectrum of litigation and business and civil rights disputes. He has substantial experience with non-competition, trade secret, and restrictive covenant litigation. Sam has unique expertise representing churches and faith-based organizations in religious liberty and land use matters. In addition to litigation, Sam counsels clients regarding employment matters, negotiations, and disputes. He regularly advises business, executive, and faith-based clients on all aspects of employment relationships and employment law compliance.
As an advocate, Sam Diehl has successfully litigated and resolved disputes for clients in matters related to: trade secrets, non-competition and restrictive covenants; injunctions; contract matters; discrimination and whistleblower claims; administrative charges and government investigations; zoning and land use; and constitutional claims. Sam regularly advises clients ranging from small businesses to multi-national organizations who rely on his depth of experience and ability to defend their interests when necessary.
As an employment advisor, Sam regularly counsels clients through difficult termination and discipline issues, hiring, leaves and accommodations, and wage and hour issues. He also helps companies navigate employment law issues that accompany corporate mergers and acquisitions. Sam has handled numerous internal investigations for heavily regulated institutions and employers facing allegations of harassment, discrimination, and other serious concerns. He also regularly drafts and negotiates employment agreements for executives and key employees and trains managers and employees on compliance with employment laws.
In addition to commercial clients, Sam represents colleges and universities, religious organizations, and other non-profit organizations. He has substantial experience representing churches and other religious organizations in employment matters, sensitive investigations, land use, constitutional claims, and other matters. Sam has defended colleges and universities in litigation brought by students and employees, and he has investigated matters related to student, employee, and leadership misconduct. He has also worked with federal agencies to resolve disputes related to charges of discrimination and other issues.
Sam’s work with government agencies is informed by his significant work experience in Washington, D.C. where he was as a subcommittee staff director for the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, an appointee at the U.S. Department of Labor, and a legislative staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Spearheaded successful litigation and advocacy efforts resulting in reversal of decisions to cancel high school football and volleyball in Minnesota
Obtained $2.65MM for plaintiff after two-week trial of First Amendment claims
Obtained multiple temporary and permanent injunctions in federal and state court on behalf of former employers barring former employees from competing
Defeated multiple temporary and permanent injunction motions in federal and state court on behalf of federal and state court on behalf of new employers in trade secret and non-compete litigation, including obtaining dispositive dismissals
Successfully tried employment discrimination claims, obtaining verdict for employer defendant
Obtained multiple summary judgment victories for employers on discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower claims in federal and state court
Successfully defended lower court summary judgment orders and trial verdicts for employers at the Eighth Circuit and Minnesota Court of Appeals
Obtained summary judgment for defendant in $7 million-dollar commercial contract dispute
J.D., cum laude, University of Minnesota Law School, 2007, Editor, Minnesota Law Review
B.A., Princeton University, 1999
- Minnesota Bar
- North Dakota Bar
- Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
- U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
Partner – Minneapolis, MN
Nick litigates complex issues of legal doctrine before the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts nationwide. In several years at a Washington, DC appellate practice, Nick participated in the U.S. Supreme Court litigation on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, and Arizona’s immigration enforcement law. He also litigates before the state appeals courts in Minnesota and across the country. And because tough issues don’t arise only on appeal, Nick frequently assists with advocacy in trial courts as well. Among many other trial-court cases, he has lent his skills in legal analysis and factual storytelling to the defense of South Carolina’s voter-ID law and to major sports leagues in concussion and publicity-rights litigation.
Nick frequently files briefs challenging or defending the admissibility of complex scientific or technical evidence. Clients also turn to him for legal and technical analysis on issues before administrative agencies, and for strategic counsel about how to deal with complex legal situations.
Notre Dame Law School
J.D. magna cum laude, Notre Dame Law Review (note editor) (2008)
St. Olaf College
B.A. in Economics, cum laude (2005)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Hon. Thomas M. Hardiman, 2009- 2010
U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Michigan, Hon. Stephen J. Murphy, 2008-2009
District of Columbia
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Partner – Minneapolis, MN
Harry Niska is an experienced counselor and advocate for businesses and individuals. He has extensive litigation experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in trial and appellate courts across the country in a variety of commercial and constitutional disputes, including contract, fraud, First Amendment, and antitrust litigation. He also frequently advises political candidates, party units, and other organizations on campaign finance issues and election law. He also has significant experience advising businesses on legal strategy issues, currently serving as general counsel for two construction companies. He practiced for several years at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago and Ross & Orenstein in Minneapolis. In addition to his private practice experience, he has also twice served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit: first as a law clerk to Judge Roger L. Wollman from 2005-2006, and later as a clerk to Judge David R. Stras when he was elevated to the Eighth Circuit in 2018.
- University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2005, Articles Editor, Minnesota Journal of International Law, Order of the Coif
- Concordia College, B.A., Political Science, 2002
- Roger L. Wollman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2005–06)
- David R. Stras, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2018)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Minnesota
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
Seminars & Publications
- How Loud is Your State’s Voice at the High Court?: Comparing State Attorney General Activity at the U.S. Supreme Court, Federalist Society – Minnesota Lawyers’ Chapter (Feb. 7, 2017).
- Litigating in the Wake of a Class Action: How to Maximize Your Client’s Interests, Hennepin County Bar Association (Dec. 15, 2015) (with Matt Veenstra).
- That’s Not Plausible: IqbalOne Year Later, Hennepin Lawyer (June 2010) (with John Orenstein).
- The European Union TRIPS over the U.S. Constitution: Can the First Amendment Save the Bologna That Has a First Name?, 13 Minn. J. Global Trade 413 (2004).
- Former vice chair, City of Ramsey Charter Commission
- Board member, Connection Church
- Youth baseball and basketball coach
Ryan D. Wilson
Of Counsel Attorney – Minneapolis
Ryan Wilson is a litigator with experience in federal and state courts, both at the trial and appellate level. Ryan returns to CrossCastle after running for Minnesota State Auditor, falling short by a historically narrow margin. Before entering private practice, Ryan clerked for Justice G. Barry Anderson of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He graduated Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where he finished first in his class, was an editor of the law review, and finished first in the Rosalie E. Wahl moot court competition.
Ryan also has significant work experience outside of the practice of law. In 2006, Ryan founded and led a medical device research firm as its CEO. After successfully leading the company through its sale, Ryan became the general manager of the global medical device division of the resulting combined company which he helped grow until its initial public offering.
In addition to his law degree, Ryan has an MBA with concentrations in strategic management and corporate finance, and a BS in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. Ryan has been an active member of his community, coaching baseball and hockey, and serving on community boards and his city’s planning commission. Ryan is married with five children and is a member of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church.
J.D., Mitchell Hamline School of Law, summa cum laude
B.S., University of Minnesota
Nathan L. Hopkins
Associate – Washington, DC
Nathan focuses his practice on commercial litigation, investigations, and responses to government agencies. Prior to joining CrossCastle, Nathan spent thirteen years working in higher education both as an attorney and an administrator. Because of his first-hand perspective he has an appreciation for the complex compliance and regulatory issues facing colleges and universities. As in-house counsel, he advised clients on employment matters, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), insurance claims, real estate due diligence, and contract negotiations. As a former Title IX Coordinator, he has extensive experience drafting and enforcing discrimination and harassment policies, investigating sexual misconduct complaints, Clery Act compliance, responding to OCR complaints, and developing training programs. Nathan is a faculty member at Liberty University where he teaches courses in Civil Procedure and Risk Management.
J.D., Liberty University School of Law
B.S., Liberty University
New Jersey Bar
Operations and Accounting Manager – Minneapolis, MN
Jaclyn has a passion for Cross Castle’s work and serving its clients. She brings a wealth of experience to the firm, including project management, organizational development, human resources, and bookkeeping. Before joining the firm, Jaclyn worked for several faith-based and non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota. When she is not on the job, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially when it involves good food and being outdoors.