Defense Attorney Profile

Thomas C Gallagher
Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer

Gallagher began working as a paralegal in 1984.  Soon discovering a passion for criminal law, he decided to go to law school at the University of Minnesota Law School, one of the top-rated law schools in the United States.  After summer clerking and then graduating in 1988, he worked for a law firm doing their criminal defense work, plus assigned cases in other areas.   That broad legal experience in the early years provided a good foundation.  After all, the law is a seamless web.

In 1993 Gallagher founded his own practice, Gallagher Criminal Defense law firm in Minneapolis.  Part scholar and part public performer, hard work has always been the key ingredient for Gallagher’s success.

Tom Gallagher-sm1“Liberty means you don’t need to justify your choice, the government must justify its intrusion.”

Whether writing motions and briefs, legal articles or legal education materials, written communications skills are a key tool for a lawyer.  And whether presenting a case to a jury or judge, or speaking to another group, or even a client, verbal communication skills – including listening – are at least as important.

Gallagher is frequently consulted by other lawyers, and is happy to do so.  He has been referred clients by other lawyers, judges, prosecutors and police officers, as well as former clients and their families.  Intellectual curiosity, and personal caring drive his desire to help people.

Top-rated Attorney

Peer Review Awards and Ratings:

AV Rating (Highest possible), Martindale-Hubbell:        2003 – 2018

Recognized Leader Among Lawyers
Leadership positions in legal, political and community organizations; and bar association memberships:
Member Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice 2000 – present
President Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice 2010 – 2011
Member Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 1995 – present
Member National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 1995 – present
Member NORML Legal Committee 1995 – present
Chair, Board of Directors Minnesota NORML 2017 – present
Board of Directors Minnesota NORML 2011 – present
Commissioner Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission 2011 – 2017
Member Hennepin County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section 1988 – present
Member Minnesota State Bar Association, Criminal Law Section 1988 – present
Member, Issue Editor Hennepin County Bar Association, The Hennepin Lawyer Editorial Committee 1989-2004
Member – Board of Governors Minnesota State Bar Association, Board of Governors 1995-2001
Chair Hennepin County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section 1995-1999
Lecturer and Presenter at Seminars presented to Lawyers, Judges, Police Officers, and others in the legal community:
Defending Marijuana Cases Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice June 15, 2018
Guns – Criminal Laws and Civil Rights Minnesota Continuing Legal Education October 27, 2016
Marijuana – It’s Still Illegal: Selected Issues in Defending Marijuana Cases in Minnesota Criminal Justice Institute, Minnesota CLE August 26, 2013
Auto Stops, Searches and Arrests Law; and, Confessions and Their Suppression Law of Arrest, Search, Seizure, and Confessions in Minnesota, Lorman Ed Svcs November  30, 2012
Guns – Criminal Laws and Civil Rights


Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice July 9, 2011
Auto Stops, Searches and Arrests Law; and, Confessions and Their Suppression Law of Arrest, Search and Seizure, and Confessions in Minnesota, Lorman Ed Svcs April 20,  2007
Winning DWI And CVO Cases at Pretrial Hearing and at Trial; and, Winning Implied Consent and Other Drivers License Cases Strategies for Success with DWI Cases in Minnesota, Lorman Ed Svcs June 10, 2005
Drivers License Law and DWI Practice DWI Practice Institute, Minn CLE November 14, 2005
Winning Domestic Assault and Other Domestic Crimes Cases; Protecting Gun Rights; Preventing Immigration Problems; Criminal Record Expungement Defending Domestic Crimes, Hennepin County Bar Association CLE October 21, 2004
Drivers License Law and Records; Expungement Criminal Justice Institute,Minn CLE August 23, 2004
How to Win DWI – DUI Cases for the Defense. Independent Chemical Test Right as a Constitutional Right; right to exculpatory chemical test evidence in a DWI case; duty of state to preserve evidence. Winning DWI Cases, Hennepin County Bar Association CLE November 14, 2002
Strategies in Handling DWI and DUI Cases in Minnesota, Topics:  (1) Searching for the Truth – Winning with Discovery; and  (2) Vehicle Forfeiture and Plate Impoundment – Get It Back Lorman Education Services January 27, 2000
DWI Defense Update Criminal Law Committee of the Hennepin County Bar Association January 21, 1998
Ethical and Practical Considerations When Representing a Person Accused of Violence Against a Loved One; Guns and Immigration; State and Federal Laws; Defense Strategy Family Law and Domestic Abuse, Minnesota CLE May 16, 1997
Civil Commitment Law in Minnesota Minnesota Continuing Legal Education March 29,1996
Basic Civil Litigation – The Closing Argument Minnesota Continuing Legal Education  March 7, 1996
How to Use Medical Records to Win Your Case Minnesota Association of Legal Assistants  June 16, 1995
Articles Published:

DWI Laws of 1997 – A Brave New World The Hennepin Lawyer 1998
We Must Save Ourselves From Violence Created by U.S. Drug Prohibition Laws Minneapolis Star Tribune 1993
Other Education
National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) Trial Advocacy Skills Training Intensive Trial Practice, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota November 7 – 14, 1998
Education Major Degree Graduated
University of Minnesota Law School Law Juris Doctor 1988
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Psychology Bachelor of Arts 1983
Gallagher has been rated by various organizations to be one of the best criminal lawyers in Minnesota(top five to seven percent – links appear below):
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  • “AV rated:”Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating by lawyers & judges (best-rating for ethics & legal ability):



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  • “Superb” rating “10 out of a possible 10,” the best possible, by