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We provide the strategic, outcome-driven
solutions you need.


Astute, practical counsel. It’s the foundation of every service The Cullen Group, LLC offers. Whether you run a business, law firm, or in-house legal department, we’ll help you tackle complex challenges and provide the strategic, outcome-driven solutions you need to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.


The common thread to Mary’s many successes is her people skills, patience, and ability to bring together multiple stakeholders with different and often strongly held views, including whether and how a dispute should be resolved in the first place. These allow her to navigate the complexities of the relationships and pave the way toward resolving difficult, high-risk disputes.


The common thread to Mary’s many successes is her people skills, patience, and ability to bring together multiple stakeholders with different and often strongly held views, including whether and how a dispute should be resolved in the first place. These allow her to navigate the complexities of the relationships and pave the way toward resolving difficult, high-risk disputes.


Founder Mary Cullen has extensive experience as a trial lawyer at a top-tier international law firm and as associate general counsel at a Fortune 100 science company, where she managed global litigation, dispute resolution, and enterprise risks. She has litigated, mediated, and arbitrated hundreds of client disputes; run big cases in multiple jurisdictions across the country and around the world; and managed teams and projects of all sizes.


Experience, preparation, vision.

The levers for getting you to your win.


In addition to direct representation, we provide:

  • Litigation portfolio evaluation and management

  • Legal operations projects

  • Value-based billing and negotiation

  • Special projects

  • General counsel and chief litigation counsel services

  • Mediation, arbitration, and serving as court-appointed special master





Mary is an experienced trial lawyer and a former partner at Faegre & Benson (now Faegre Baker Daniels) in Minneapolis, where she worked for 22 years.


During that time, she tried more than 25 cases, including federal and state jury and court trials, arbitrations, and administrative hearings. She has substantive experience in complex commercial litigation, employment, general contract and business torts, product liability, environmental law, personal injury, insurance, intellectual property, real estate and construction, mergers and acquisitions, technology, securities litigation, and affordable housing. She also has experience in class action litigation and multi-district litigation.


After leaving Faegre, Mary served as associate general counsel at 3M for seven years. She managed global enterprise risks and reputational exposure in connection with the highest-profile disputes, directed the defense and prosecution of complex legal actions, and oversaw direct outreach to federal and state regulators, NGOs, and other company stakeholders.


She also personally managed litigation, arbitrations, and disputes in jurisdictions across the United States and around the world, including Israel, Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Germany, Austria, France, the United Kingdom, and many other western European countries.




Mary is a qualified neutral under MN Rule 114 and is on the
Minnesota Supreme Court’s list of qualified neutrals. She serves as a mediator for private parties, Washington Country District Court, Ramsey County District Court, and the Minneapolis Department of Human Rights. 



  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN;

    graduated magna cum laude

  • B.A., College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN


  • Supreme Court for the State of Minnesota

  • United States District Court for the District of Minnesota

  • United States Supreme Court

  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

  • United States District Court for the District of Arizona



  • Super Lawyer, Minnesota Law & Politics

  • Hennepin County Bar Association Distinguished Service Award for pro bono service, 2008

  • President’s Award, Minnesota Bar Association, 2001

  • John C. Benson Pro Bono Award, Faegre & Benson, 2000




  • American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section, Early Dispute Resolution Committee, current co-chair

  • American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry and Litigation Section, current member

  • Arbitral Women, an international organization committed to promoting women and diversity in international dispute resolution, current member

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, current member; former Chair of Construction Section

  • Washington County Bar Association, current member

  • Federal Bar Association, past member

  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, past member

  • Association of Corporate Counsel, current member

  • Ramsey County Bar Association, past member

  • Washington County Bar Association, current member

  • Hennepin County Bar Association, past member

  • Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc., past board member (2011–2016)

  • Wildlife Science Center, past board member (2011–2014); past chair (2012–2014)

  • William Mitchell College of Law, member, board of trustees (2001–2011); past chair (2008–2010)

  • Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, past board member (2004–2010)


  • Led the 3M team in a $75 million breach of contract and environmental matter in the High Court of Justice in London. The States of Guernsey alleged that its use of a 3M product led to extensive environmental contamination at the Guernsey Airport. Three weeks into the trial, Guernsey dismissed all claims and made a substantial contribution to 3M’s legal costs.

  • Led the 3M team in a $200 million breach of contract and fraud matter in the Southern District of New York. The claims arose out 3M’s sale of its European pharmaceutical business to Meda, a Swedish company. Meda sought damages in excess of $200 million, plus punitive damages. The judge ruled entirely in 3M’s favor.

  • Led the 3M team in a $25 million breach of a royalty agreement claim. 3M acquired a dental products company and disputes and litigation about earn-out provisions and other matters were settled through a settlement and second royalty agreement. Claimants alleged 3M breached the royalty agreement and began arbitration seeking $25 million. The arbitrator ruled entirely in 3M’s favor.

  • Led the 3M team in a $50 million breach of an acquisition agreement claim in the High Court of Justice in London. Claimants asserted 3M breached its obligations after it acquired BacLite, a product intended to provide a rapid culture-based screening test for the MRSA virus. The High Court ruled in favor of 3M on virtually every important issue. 3M later filed defamation claims against involved parties in federal court in the United States. The cases received widespread media attention on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • Lead counsel for Ramsey County where plaintiffs sought $20 million in tort claims. The jury returned a complete defense verdict for Ramsey County.

  • Lead counsel for Seagate Technology in a patent case brought by Siemens accusing Seagate hard disc drives of infringing Siemens’ patented GMR sensor technology. Following a six-week jury trial in the Central District of California, the jury returned a complete defense verdict for Seagate. The trial was covered by IP Law360, Bloomberg, and other news organizations.

  • Lead counsel for Wyeth in a trade secret trial involving Premarin, a billion-dollar product. The court granted Wyeth a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from developing the first generic version of Premarin. 

  • Lead counsel for plaintiffs in a multi-party contract dispute. After a four-week trial, plaintiffs were awarded damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

  • Lead counsel for Compellent Technology in a two-week arbitration in Colorado. All trade secret misappropriation and intentional tort claims were defeated.

  • Lead counsel for a real estate developer in a complex commercial lending case. Following an evidentiary hearing, the court awarded a TRO and preliminary injunction against Heller Financial in the Northern District of Illinois.

  • Lead counsel for a coalition of non-profits and the City of Minneapolis in a case involving extensive mortgage fraud in North Minneapolis. Obtained an Order appointing a receiver for 250 abandoned properties in Minneapolis, MN.




Ellie Vilendrer is a creative problem-solver with a distinguished ability to optimize outcomes and build relationships. She has extensive experience serving healthcare, software, and technology companies, ranging from start-up to publicly-traded, in roles including outside general counsel, intellectual property counsel, and privacy counsel. She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and is co-author of the privacy law chapter in the Representing the Ongoing Business Deskbook, 3rd Edition (2019, Minnestoa CLE).

Ellie is Co-Chair of the Early Dispute Resolution Committee of the American Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Section. She is a Qualified Neutral, Rule 114 Minnesota General Rules of Practice, and serves as a neutral on several panels. She has spent hundreds of hours studying and training in the field of negotiations and mediation (and related fields of influence, psychology, neuroscience, and economics). Demonstrating she can put theory to practice, Ellie achieved the best outcome in a scored negotiation among 60 professional negotiators from around the world in 2015.

Her family's award-winning short film promoting peace, Nurturing the Seeds of Peace, was broadcasted at the United Nations in New York on November 6, 2019, and was also an Official Selection featured at the International Peace & Film Festival in January 2020. Her family's short film on human rights, Justice for All, was broadcasted at the United Nations on December 15, 2020, in celebration of the UN's 75th anniversary.

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We understand business because

we’re experienced in business.


Both Mary and Ellie have founded, operated, grown, and sold successful start-ups.

ELLIE co-founded Hitsfu Corp., a data science company, whose artificial intelligence powered technology, Clairvoyance™, used machine learning to predict, in real-time, how using a certain marketing channel or deploying an A/B test variant would affect the ROI of an app. In 2016, her company earned a distinguished top-10 placement in the high-tech division of the MN Cup, from over 200 high-tech division applicants and over 1500 applicants overall.

MARY is a founding member of T3 Enterprises, a start-up that developed, manufactured, and sold two products for construction industry use — CORK (now marketed under the trademark HoleMole) and EWOC, an environmentally friendly concrete wash-out system. Both products received patents and won the Most Innovative Product award at the World of Concrete, the world’s largest construction trade show. The company was sold in 2017.





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Driven by our beliefs,

every step of the way.



in fairness, justice, advocacy, speaking up for others, facing and resolving conflict, and challenging the status quo.



in operating at the intersection of law, business,

and common sense.



the courts are but one tool among many to resolve conflict.


that trust, collaboration, and transparency are the pillars for strategic dispute resolution.



in leveling the playing field and ensuring the same rules apply to everyone.



in yes and in getting from your dispute to your win — your business objective — by advancing your interests.


Thank you for your interest in The Cullen Group, LLC.

For more information, please contact Mary Cullen.

Thanks for submitting!



333 Washington Ave. N.

Suite 300 

Minneapolis, MN 55401


P.O. Box 201

Scandia, MN 55073

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