James focuses his practice on criminal defense and expungements because he believes that a mistake or a single event should not define that person. He is diligent in his preparation, skilled in negotiating with the state and arguing in court, and he will not hesitate to aggressively advocate for his client.
Just as important, James is respected by his peers and judges alike. It is his dedication to his clients – and a work ethic and drive to routinely get favorable results for them – that has led to his prestigious honors. When hiring James, you know you are getting one of the best and most respected Minnesota criminal defense attorneys on your side.
Before becoming a private criminal defense attorney, James was a prosecutor for a local jurisdiction. This experience allows him to understand each matter from the State’s perspective as he develops each clients personalized defense strategy. The result is a thorough legal strategy that will best position the client for trial or to negotiate a favorable resolution.
James has experience handling the gamut of criminal charges, including, but not limited to, felony charges, DUI, expungements, domestic assault, assault, drug charges, criminal neglect, obstructing legal process, theft, disorderly conduct, order for protection violations, invasion of privacy, probation violations, and traffic violations. James has appeared on behalf of his clients throughout the State of Minnesota.
In his free-time, James enjoys the fun and challenges associated with raising two girls. He is an avid golfer and sports fan.
Licenses and Bar Admissions
- Mitchell Hamline School of Law, JD – Magna Cum Laude
- Gustavus Adolphus College, BA Political Science and Government
- State v. B.G.
- Charges: 3 counts each of: Attempted 2nd Degree Murder; 1st Degree Assault; 2nd Degree Assault with a Dangerous Weapon
- Resolution: Acquittal at trial on ALL nine counts.
- State v. K.B.
- Charges: 4th Degree DUI – Marijuana – Misdemeanor
- Resolution: Acquittal at trial
- State v. M.V.
- Charges: 5th Degree Assault – Misdemeanor
- Resolution: Acquitted at a jury trial.
- State v. J.B.
- Charges: Obstructing Legal Process – Misdemeanor
- Resolution: Continuance for dismissal.
- Click here to view more of James’s bad ass case results
- 2015-23 Rising Star – Awarded to only 2.5% of attorneys statewide under the age of 40. A patented process by an independent company recognized Mr. Gempeler for his professional achievements, peer recognition, and devotion to the practice. He is one of a select few attorneys statewide to be a Rising Star Criminal Defense attorney.
- 2015-16 North Star Lawyer – Awarded for over 50 hours of pro bono services in a calendar year.
- 2015 Up & Coming Attorney – Awarded to only 27 attorneys statewide with less than 10-years of experience. A panel of attorneys and professionals recognized Mr. Gempeler for his professional accomplishments, leadership and service to their community and profession, and achievements.
Presentations and Publications
- Navigating Minnesota’s New Cannabis Laws” Twin Cities Startup Week, September 2023
- “A New Leaf: Cannabis Legalization in Minnesota”, Hennepin County Law Library, August 18, 2023
- “Navigating Minnesota’s New Cannabis Laws” Twin Cities Startup Week, September 2023. Mr. Gempeler presented with his partner, Ms. Jen Reise, on the new law that legalized cannabis. We were two of the three presenters that gave a thorough overview of the new laws from the licensing, criminal, expungement, and employee perspectives.
- “A New Leaf: Cannabis Legalization in MN” Hennepin County Law Library, August 2023. Mr. Gempeler presented with another partner at North Star Law Group to discuss the new law that legalized cannabis. The two discussed what the law legalized, what remains criminal conduct, and the licensing and regulations associated with the new law.
- “The Law Firm Is Also a Business – Business Practices and Ideas to Make You More Successful” Solo & Small Firm Conference through Minnesota CLE, August 2023. Mr. Gempeler was joined by two other attorneys on a panel, moderated by the current president of the State bar association, discussing best business practices.
- “Guerilla Marketing: 8 Unique Tips to Improve Your Networking and Marketing” Solo & Small Firm Conference through Minnesota CLE, August 2023. Mr. Gempeler joined with another presenter on these important networking and marketing tactics for success as solo/small firm attorneys. Clearly, Mr. Gempeler is well-respected in the legal community beyond just his legal expertise.
- “Five Marketing Lessons Learned in Growing a Profitable Small Law Firm” Solo and Small Firm Summit through the Minnesota State Bar Association, May 2023. Mr. Gempeler was a lead presenter on these marketing and networking tips for fellow solo/small firm colleagues.
- Click here to view more print and online publications
- MSBA Criminal Law Section council member
- MSBA Solo/Small Firm Section elected council member
- Expungement Task Force – group consisting of public and private attorneys who discuss latest trends and work towards effecting change through group policies and actions
- Richard T. Oakes American Inn of Court
Volunteer and Mentorship
- Volunteer criminal defense and expungement attorney for the MAC-V (Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans) at its monthly free legal clinics and annual two-day Stand Down event
- Volunteer criminal defense and expungement attorney at the Hennepin County Legal Access Point walk-in clinic
- Attorney coach for Eagle Ridge Academy mock trial team
- Adviser to William Mitchell College of Law’s Trial Team
- Mentor to students at Gustavus Adolphus College
- Mentor to students at William Mitchell College of Law