Lisa K. Marso


For more than twenty years, Lisa Marso has been providing advice, training, policy and contract drafting, and investigation services to her clients on employment, governmental and insurance benefit law. In addition she defends employers and insurers in regulatory and court proceedings such as discrimination, harassment, wage, and employment contract claims, and life/health/disability insurance matters.

Lisa Marso is passionate about helping her clients make knowledgeable, practical and wise decisions.


Lisa Marso is a partner in our litigation section, with a primary focus in employment law, governmental law, and life/health/disability law. She serves as the City Attorney for Brandon, South Dakota, and Attorney for Split Rock Township. Her clients also include both the small employer as well as those who employ thousands of employees. Clients represented include banks, cities and counties, manufacturers, insurance companies, franchisors, and health care providers.

Lisa has particular employment law experience in:
• Successfully representing employers and insurers in administrative, civil and appellate claims. In so doing, she has assisted in developing legal precedent that protects both employers and insurers in South Dakota.
• Obtaining a number of court dismissals of cases involving bad faith allegations against employers and insurers.
• Providing training in the workplace, speaking to small and large employers, and conducting pre-litigation investigations to resolve disputes prior to litigation being undertaken.
• Labor negotiations on behalf of the employer and assistance to employers in unfair labor practice matters.

In addition to her involvement in employment law such as discrimination, ERISA, FLSA, COBRA, and unfair labor practice matters, Lisa has substantial varied litigation experience. This practice includes discovery, mediation, trials, and appellate work wherein she has been involved in trying 20 cases, and writing and arguing over 40 cases in the South Dakota Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lisa obtained her law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law (1994), graduating in the top 10% of her class. She is admitted to practice law in South Dakota. She obtained her bachelor’s of art degree from the University of Minnesota, Southwest (1991), graduating Summa Cum Laude. Lisa has lived most of her life in the Sioux Falls area and resides in Brandon, SD with her husband Randy who is a high school athletic director and her two college enrolled children. Lisa enjoys running, swimming, biking, baking, reading, participating in community events, and spending time with colleagues, friends and family.

Professional and Community

  • The Defense Research Institute (Committees: State Representative; Employment Law (state editor);Health, Life & Disability)
  • South Dakota Defense Lawyers Association (Past President & Executive Committee)
  • State Bar of South Dakota (Committees: Employment Law; Workers’ Compensation & Disciplinary Board)
  • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (Committees: Employment, Health, Life & Disability)
  • American Bar Association (Labor Law)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Best Lawyers in America in Employment Law/Management (2012-2015)
  • Chambers USA (Band 1 Ranked in Labor & Employment)
  • Super Lawyers (2012-16)
  • 2016 Corporate Intl Global Awards: Labor & Employment of the Year in South Dakota

Reported Cases and Results

  • Kolda v. City of Yankton (SD Supreme Court): Affirming jury’s verdict finding police officer was not wrongfully terminated or due process violated
  • Tornow v. Sioux Falls Civil Service Bd (SD Supreme Court): Affirming denial of writ related to wrongful termination claim
  • Warnock v. City of Canton (DSD): dismissing wrongful termination, due process, 1983 and privacy act claims
  • Ernesti v. City of Sioux Falls (DSD): dismissing age discrimination failure to hire claim
  • Trierweiler v. Wells Fargo Bank (8th Cir): Affirming summary judgment to employer on pregnancy discrimination claim
  • Wold v. Taher, Inc. (DSD): dismissing FLSA, retaliation, wrongful discharge and breach of contract claims)
  • Anspach v. United of Omaha Ins. Co., (DSD): dismissing breach of contract, tort and bad faith claims related to group life insurance benefits
  • Broughton v. UNUM Life Ins. Co. of Am. (DSD): dismissing claim for disability benefits

Publications and Presentations

  • Thomson Reuters Practical Law State Author for Employment Law (2013-2016)
  • Defense Research Institute Employment Law State editor (2011-2016)
  • Employment Practices: What Counties Need to Know
  • Employment Law Basics: What South Dakota Lawyers Should Know
  • Employer EEOC Mandated Anti-Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation Awareness Training- (English and Spanish)
  • Dealing with the Sick, Injured & Disabled Employee
  • Medical Marijuana-Impact on Employer Issues
  • Employment Background Checks & Social Media Monitoring
  • Employer Drug Testing
  • Employee Handbooks
  • Hiring, Firing and Managing Employees
  • Investigation, Termination and Document Retention