Associate, Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason
Zelle Hofmann associate Elizabeth Kniffen feels she’s a born litigator, and her work with the firm so far seems to bear that out. She has represented clients in several high-profile cases, including matters involving high-value insurance coverage in connection with Hurricane Katrina and antitrust complaints against Microsoft.
Although she seems to be a natural, it took a while for Kniffen, 36, to see her way to that path.
“I worked as an employment counselor for a nonprofit in Minneapolis, and one of the things I did was help people figure out where they were going next with their careers,” she said. “It was then I took the advice I was giving other people — I talked to lawyers and law students about what they did.”
In the eight years since, her practice has expanded to include work in antitrust/competition, class actions, complex litigation, insurance coverage and reinsurance. She feels that the mix of work and the environment she’s in are a perfect fit.
“I knew I wanted to do litigation before I went to law school,” Kniffen said. “Adversarial advocacy would fit well for me. Zelle was attractive because we do large-scale litigation but in a small-firm environment.”
A highlight for Kniffen was her signature work on Comes v. Microsoft Corp., an antitrust matter resulting in a $180 million settlement. She wasn’t intimidated that working on the case representing plaintiff consumers was one of her first assignments upon arriving at Zelle.
“When I started, things were starting to work toward trial,” she said. “I went to Iowa and was part of the trial team behind the scenes. Having that experience early in my career was very formative and exciting — a high-profile, high-stakes case.”