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Brett Kelley
Brett Kelley

2019 Up & Coming Attorneys: Brett Kelley

Brett Kelley learned to work under pressure and under fire during 10 years in the Army. ­The former captain, Ranger and decorated combat veteran was more than ready for the law.

­That helps explain how Kelley, who began practicing in 2017 after a judicial clerkship, already has first-chaired a federal criminal trial, second-chaired a murder trial and is managing teams of experienced attorneys in federal white-collar criminal investigations and complex civil litigation.

Kelley says he thrives under the pressure of high-stakes litigation and enjoys the thrill of tackling the high-profile cases his firm often handles. Importantly, Kelley said, his military training taught him how to take care of himself while doing it.

In his first case, Kelley was the chief author of all briefing for the legal team representing the Minnesota Legislature in the showdown over then-Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of lawmakers’ operating budget. He was consequently recognized as a Minnesota Attorney of the Year. Clients in other notable public cases Kelley has worked on include the Wetterlings, Jared Scheierl, and former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach.

Kelley focuses entirely on litigation at Kelley, Wolter & Scott, which he joined in 2017. His father, noted attorney Doug Kelley, is a partner at the firm as well as a former Army Ranger.

­The younger Kelley considered going to business school until he served as a company commander. Managing hundreds of soldiers and helping resolve their frequent legal issues steered him to the University of St. ­Thomas School of Law. Kelley is happy he chose the law.

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