Attorney profile

Attorney Profile

Sarah M. MacGillis

Sarah MacGillis found her niche in being a trial lawyer. She brings unparalleled enthusiasm, hard work and tireless creativity to her practice. Sarah has been named as a Super Lawyer by Minnesota Law & Politics Magazine every year from 2011-2016. Previously, that same magazine named her a Rising Star for 9 consecutive years.  She is on the Mpls. St. Paul Magazine’s list of “Top Women Attorneys in Minnesota.” 

Criminal Law Practice:  Sarah began her criminal practice in 1997. Since then, she has represented individuals charged with offenses ranging from assault to tax evasion in both state and federal court. She has won acquittals and dismissals in numerous cases all over the state of Minnesota. She has represented numerous professionals in white collar criminal prosecutions in the federal district court in Minnesota. Sarah is a well-regarded defense attorney who also accepts appointments to represent federal defendants pursuant to the federal Criminal Justice Act.

In addition, she has significant appellate experience before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. She brought the first post-Apprendi challenge in Minnesota successfully arguing before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court that Minnesota’s pattern offender statute was unconstitutional. She brought an appeal in a case of first impression on the significance of the deprivation of a peremptory challenge under the Minnesota Constitution which was decided in her client’s favor.  She recently appealed the conviction and sentence in a complicated federal fraud trial involving hundreds of exhibits and three weeks of complex testimony.  She has appealed convictions for mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, mortgage fraud, and serious narcotics offenses.

Professional Licensing Board Defense: Sarah has represented professionals in actions initiated by professional licensing boards. In this capacity, she has represented nurses, physicians and other professionals during investigations and/or disciplinary proceedings attaining non-disciplinary results in numerous cases.  In this capacity, she has appeared before the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, the Minnesota Board of Nursing, the Minnesota Board of Social Work, and the Minnesota Board of Psychology.

Legal Expertise:  Sarah was an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School from 2003-2007 and at Hamline University School of Law from 2001-2003. She has presented CLEs on many substantive areas of criminal law including eye witness identification and false confessions. She has also lectured extensively on written and oral sentencing advocacy in state and federal court. Sarah was recently selected to be a federal defense practitioner mentor in the federal district courts in Minnesota. In that capacity, she supervises new federal defense practitioners in all facets of their practice and provides professional assistance as needed.  She has been a regular contributing author to the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s magazine, Challenger. Sarah sat on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers from 2004-2008 and for the Innocence Project of Minnesota from 2001-2004.

On a Personal Note:  Sarah grew up in a small town in southeastern Minnesota where she learned that hard work, steely determination, and pure grit pay big rewards. That lesson, passed on to her by her parents, has made her a dedicated and talented advocate. Her interest in people and the circumstances of their lives make her a compassionate and spirited ally.

Outside of practicing law, Sarah enjoys spending time with her large family. She’s a solid cook, an enthusiastic cribbage player and a committed long distance runner who has completed numerous races in multiple states. She travels when life allows it, still reads a paper version of the daily news, and always enjoys a tough crossword puzzle.

Background

Education:

  • – B.A. St. Olaf College
  • – J.D. Hamline University School of Law (cum laude)
  • – Law Review 1995-1997

Court Admissions:

  • – State of Minnesota
  • – Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • – Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • – Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals