Sonia Miller-Van Oort

T: 612.756.7125
E: SoniaMV@sapientialaw.com
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About

 

Sonia Miller-Van Oort is a highly respected and accomplished litigation attorney. She has worked on a variety of litigation involving commercial disputes, product liability cases, non-competition and non-solicitation matters, breach-of-contract cases, invasion-of-privacy matters, franchise disputes, tortious interference claims, and misrepresentation and fraud claims. Having represented clients nationally, regionally, and locally, Sonia has a breadth of experience briefing and arguing dispositive and non-dispositive motions, negotiating settlements in complex matters, and trying cases both in state and federal court. Sonia’s clients most value her strong oral advocacy abilities, negotiation skills, and practical, yet innovative approach to addressing their needs.

Sonia’s skills both inside and outside of the courtroom have been recognized by her peers and adversaries alike. In 2002, Sonia was selected as one of only ten attorneys in Minnesota to be recognized as an “Up and Coming Attorney.” She was subsequently named a “Rising Star” by Minnesota Law and Politics in 2005, 2006, 2008, and a “Super Lawyer” in 2013, 2014, and 2015. And in 2007–2008, Sonia had the distinguished honor of being elected the 89th President of the Hennepin County Bar Association (one of the 15 largest county bar associations in the country), serving as the Association’s first Hispanic President and the second youngest President in its history. Sonia is currently an officer of the Minnesota State Bar Association and will be the state’s first Hispanic Bar President in 2017.

Not only is Sonia committed to her legal practice and meeting her clients’ needs, she is also committed to public service. Over the years, Sonia has provided pro bono assistance to numerous clients, including representation of parents, guardians ad litem, and children caught in foster care and custody disputes. Her commitment to community is also reflected in the variety of non-profit boards of directors on which she has served: the Hennepin County Bar Foundation, Volunteer Lawyers Network, University of Minnesota Legal Services, and the Notre Dame Club of Minnesota. Sonia also served for eight years on the School Board of the Hopkins-based Spanish-immersion public charter school, International Spanish Language Academy, serving as Chair for two years and an officer for several. Sonia feels a strong allegiance to her law school and was honored to be asked to serve on the Indiana University Alumni Board of Directors for several years, as well as the Latino Alumni Advisory Board.

Also very importantly, Sonia likes to have fun. She enjoys playing with her two children, helping her husband design cool furniture, playing competitive tennis, dancing the night away, and cheering on the Notre Dame football team.

  • Memberships/Affiliations

    Council on Litigation Management

    Defense Research Institute

    Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association

    National Association of Professional Women

    Minnesota Women Lawyers

    Hennepin County Bar Association:

    President (2007–2008)

    President-Elect (2006–2007)

    Treasurer (2005–2006)

    Secretary (2004–2005)

    Executive Committee (2004- 2009)

    Board of Directors (1998- 2009, 2010- present)

    Community Relations Committee (Chair: 2002- 2004; Co-Chair: 2001–2002)

    Finance & Planning Committee (2003–2008)

    Leadership Institute Planning Committee (2003- 2005)

    Nominating Committee (1999–2004)

    Program Assessment Committee (2002–2003)

    Delivery of Legal Services Committee (Co-Vice-Chair: 2000–2002)

    New Lawyers Section (Chair: 1999–2001)

    Minnesota State Bar Association:

    Treasurer (on leadership track to be President in 2017)

    Board of Governors/Assembly (1998—2004; 2006—2011)

    Operations Committee (2009—present)

    Diversity Implementation Task Force (2006—present) (Co-Chair: 2009—present )

    Governance Committee (2007—2009; Chair 2011–2015)

    Operations Committee (2009–present)

    Diversity Implementation Task Force (2006–present) (Co-Chair:  2009–present)

    Governance Committee (2007–2009)

    Food & Drug Section (Treasurer: 2002–present; Secretary: 2001–2002)

    American Bar Association:

    National Council of Bar Presidents (2007–2009)

    National Affiliate Assistance Team, Young Lawyers Division (1999–2000,2002–2003, 2004–2006)

    Lawyers with Disability Committee, Young Lawyers Division (Co-Vice Chair: 2003– 2004)

    Litigation Committee (Co-Vice Chair: 2002–2003)

    Co-Coordinator, Young Lawyers Division Pilot Project-Taking Hate Out of the Classroom (2001–2002)

    Co-Coordinator, Young Lawyers Division Pilot Project- Operation Arbitration (2000–2001)

  • Civic Involvement

    International Spanish Language Academy, School Board (Chair 2009–2011)

    (Former) Hennepin County Bar Foundation — Board of Directors

    (Former) Volunteer Lawyers Network – Board of Directors

    (Former) Indiana University School of Law- Alumni Board of Directors

    Notre Dame Club of Minnesota — Board of Directors

    University of Minnesota Student Legal Services- former Board of Directors

    Youth Empowerment Summit- Minneapolis, Founder

    Helping Kids Belong Project — Coordinator

    “We the Jury” Project — Coordinator

    Immaculate Heart of Mary – Lector, Volunteer Teacher

  • Representative Experience
    • Tonicstar, Ltd. v. Lovegreen Turbine Services, Inc., 2006 WL 2472826 (D.Minn)
    • Leucadia v. Intermas, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2334 (D.Minn)
    • Berczyk v. Emerson Tool Craft, et al., 291 F. Supp. 2d 1004 (D.Minn. 2003)
    • Hammel v. Eau Galle Cheese Factory, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7515
    • Hammel v. Eau Galle Cheese Factory, 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 11380
    • In Re: Welfare of S.N.R., 617 NW 2d 77 (Minn. App. 2000)
    • Halloran v. FranChoice
    • Brambillas v. Underwriters of Lloyds of London
  • Publications
  • Presentations
    • “Millennials in the Workforce: Making the “In it for me” Employee In It For You,” CBIZ & Flynn Gaskins & Bennett Seminar, 5/09
    • Panelist,” Women as Leaders in the Legal Profession,” Visions of Women’s Leadership Conference, University of St. Thomas, 10/08
    • Speaker, “Judicial Elections—the Changing Landscape,” American Association of University Women, 11/06
    • “Strategic and Long-Range Planning for Organizations” — 2005 NAPABA National Bar Leadership Institute (IL)
    • “Trends in Non-Compete Litigation” — Firm Seminar, November, 2004
    • “State Farm v. Campbell: The Last Word on Punitive Damages?” — Firm Seminar, September, 2004
    • “Finding & Motivating Members” — 2004
      ABA Young Lawyers Division Fall Conference (TX) & Western Regional Conference (CA)
    • “Top Ten Changes in the ADA”- 2004 ABA Young Lawyers Division Mid-Year Meeting (TX)
    • “Where are We with the ADA”- 2003 ABA Young Lawyers Division Fall Conference (PA)
    • “Is Adoption of the ‘Inevitable Disclosure’ Doctrine Inevitable in Minnesota Courts?” Firm Seminar, 12/03
    • “Defending a Medical Device Claim”- MSBA CLE, 6/03
    • “Taking Hate Out of the Junior/Senior High School Classroom”- 2002 ABA Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference (CO)
    • “Operation Arbitration”- 2001 ABA Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference (AK)
    • “Goal-Setting: Achieving Your Personal Goals”- 2000 ABA Young Lawyers Division Spring Conference (TX)
    • “Youth Empowerment Summit”- 1999 ABA Midwest Regional Conference (WI)
    • “The Lawyerist”- 2015 Podcast #32: Sonia Miller Van Oort’s Non-Traditional Law Firm

Education

J.D., cum laude, Indiana University—Maurer School of Law, Indiana Law Review (1997)

B.A., Dean’s List, University of Notre Dame (1993)

Moscow State University (Summer Program 1992)

Court Admissions

State of Minnesota

State of Iowa

U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota

U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Honors/Distinctions

“Top Attorneys in Minnesota,” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2015)

“Top Women Attorneys in Minnesota,” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (2014)

“2014 Attorney of the Year,” by The Minnesota Lawyer

“Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics (2013, 2014, 2015)

“Thought Leader,” Future Firms, Indiana University- Mauer School of Law (2009)

“Minnesota Rising Star” by Law & Politics (2005, 2006, 2008)

“Star of the Quarter” by American Bar Association Young Lawyer Division (2006)

Awarded “Distinguished Service Award” by Notre Dame Club of Minnesota (2006)

Selected by Minnesota Lawyer as 1 of 10 “Up and Coming Attorneys” (2002)

Personal

Favorite travel spot: Israel

Favorite sport: Tennis

Theme song: “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

Favorite part of being a lawyer: Developing litigation strategy and implementing it to get the desired result