An accomplished leader and strategic problem solver, Nicole brings over 30 years of legal experience as a state court trial judge, federal prosecutor, and civil litigator to help clients with their most difficult and high stakes problems, such as responding to government subpoenas, search warrants, and investigative demands and inquiries. She conducts internal corporate investigations and represents clients in cases involving the False Claims Act (FCA), the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), tax fraud, securities fraud, and other financial fraud.
As a state court trial judge, Nicole presided over thousands of cases, including noteworthy criminal jury trials and evidentiary hearings. As a federal prosecutor, Nicole successfully investigated, prosecuted and tried some of the largest and highest profile white collar crime cases filed in federal court in Minnesota. She has significant trial and appellate experience.
Nicole has extensive experience leading and managing teams and in effective crisis management. At the Department of Justice (DOJ), she served as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Chief of the Criminal Division, and Counsel to the U.S. Attorney.
Prior to her DOJ service, Nicole practiced civil litigation in a large law firm, representing clients in copyright infringement, trademark infringement, theft of trade secrets, and other intellectual property and complex civil matters.
Nicole’s government enforcement background includes extensive experience investigating and prosecuting complex federal criminal cases. Representative matters include:
- Investigated and prosecuted an $80 million financial services fraud and bankruptcy fraud case involving a prominent auto dealer. The high-profile case was the largest bankruptcy fraud case ever prosecuted in Minnesota.
- Investigated and prosecuted a $41 million corporate bribery, conspiracy, money laundering, and tax fraud case involving a scheme to defraud the IRS and a top Fortune 500 specialty retail company. All three co-defendants were convicted, and millions of dollars of luxury vehicles and other assets were forfeited.
- Investigated and prosecuted health care fraud-related claims that resulted in one of the first convictions nationwide of an illegal online pharmacy operator. Five co-defendants were convicted, and millions of dollars in assets were forfeited.
- Investigated and prosecuted one of the District of Minnesota’s largest corporate fraud cases, resulting in convictions of the corporate defendant and six officers, along with millions of dollars in fines, civil fraud penalties, and court-ordered restitution.
Nicole’s civil litigation background includes broad experience helping clients protect their copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and patents, as well as defending clients accused of theft of intellectual property and related claims. Representative matters include:
- Represented an information technology and business software consulting firm in a suit involving trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement and unfair competition claims. The case resulted in consent judgments in favor of the client.
- Represented a medical equipment manufacturer in the defense of a patent infringement suit. The case resulted in a consent judgment of non-infringement in favor of the client.
- Represented a global data and analytics company in a suit alleging breach of a noncompete and trade secret misappropriation. After obtaining a preliminary injunction in favor of the client, the case settled on favorable terms.
- Represented an international beverage import company in the defense of an action involving claims of breach of an alleged distributorship agreement. The case resulted in summary judgment in favor of the client.
News & Resources
News & Press Mentions
- Guest instructor, Criminal Investigations, University of St. Thomas School of Law (2016)
- Guest instructor, White Collar Crime and Compliance, University of St. Thomas School of Law (2014)
- Guest instructor, Trial Practice, University of Minnesota Law School (2017; 2018)
- Guest instructor, Sociological Perspectives on the Criminal Justice System, University of Minnesota (2018)
- Co-author, Bankruptcy Crimes and Fraud, Minnesota CLE Desk Book (2012)
- Speaker, Fraud in the Post-Crisis Banking World, Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group (part of national, multi-agency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force) (2011)
- Speaker, Brady/Giglio for Law Enforcement Agents, Department of Justice training for FBI, DEA, and ATF agents (2011)
- Speaker, Federal Law Update (2011), Third Party Subpoenas in Criminal Cases (2008), Criminal Investigations of Individuals and Corporations (2006), all for Federal Bar Association’s Annual Federal Court Practice Seminar
- Speaker, Codifying, Clarifying and Cleaning up Loose Ends: The 2000 Amendments to the Federal Rules of Evidence, Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association (2001)
Events & Speaking Engagements
Industries & Practices
- Anti-Corruption Group
- Banking & Financial Institutions
- Commercial Litigation
- Corporate Governance & Compliance
- Government Solutions & Investigations
- Healthcare & Life Sciences
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Securities & Financial Services Litigation & Enforcement
Professional & Civic
- Minnesota District Judges Association Criminal Jury Instructions Committee (2019-2022)
- Eighth Circuit Model Criminal Jury Instructions Subcommittee (2008-2013)
- District of Minnesota Electronic Court File Sealed Document Committee (2011-2013)
- University of St. Thomas School of Law Adjunct Law Professor, Evidence (2020-2022)
- Hamline University School of Law Adjunct Professor, Unfair Competition and Predatory Practices (2001)