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Erin Neils
Erin Neils

In-House Counsel 2023: Erin Neils

Private Company with annual revenues up to $500M

Erin Neils wasn’t looking for a new job. But a want ad looking for a general counsel at Champlin-based specialty subcontractor Egan Company jumped out at her.

“Being in-house is something that I was always interested in,” Neils said. “When I read the description I thought, ‘This really sounds like me.’ Eight years later, it was the right opportunity at the right time.”

The move has worked out for all involved. Neils, who was previously an associate at Rabuse Law Firm (now DeWitt LLP), has experience with a number of areas including contracts and subcontracts, employment law, corporate governance, corporate acquisitions, equal employment opportunity and affirmative action compliance and dispute resolution.

As Egan has grown and the industry has become more complex, Neils has held the fort as a one-person legal department at the company. She has also influenced Egan’s diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging initiative and is active with the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Bar Association Construction Law Section Council.

“Between light rail, the Vikings’ stadium and just the great clients we have, I’m just grateful to be a part of it,” she says of her work. “I can’t even say I’ve played a key role. It’s just great to be a part of it.”

Neils has also done much more than clear professional hurdles. After a cancer diagnosis in 2019, her treatment was successful enough to allow her to have a baby a year later. She also finds joy in running, having done numerous half marathons.

She also has her pulse on current and pending developments in her industry.

“There’s a lot happening in the Legislature that’s impacting construction,” said Neils. “Innovation and construction kind of go hand in hand, so it’s always worth keeping an eye on developments in contract law. There’s a lot to keep track of, but it keeps me on my toes.”

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