Dean M. Zimmerli

Agriculture Law & Agribusiness

Dean M. Zimmerli


Dean Zimmerli is the Managing Partner of Gislason & Hunter LLP. He grew up on a southern Minnesota farm. He understands and appreciates the work farmers do to maintain their business and feed and fuel the country. Much of the work he does relates to the agriculture industry. His practice includes civil litigation related to agriculture law and agribusinessbusiness and corporate lawreal estate, environmental law and land usefinance and banking, commercial disputes and general litigation, with a focus on banking, water and drainage, and appeals.

Zimmerli’s broad experience in civil litigation beyond collection and enforcement actions allows him to provide comprehensive representation to banks and other creditors through the entirety of a lending relationship with a borrower. He regularly represents banks and other creditors in bankruptcy and state courts to enforce the creditor’s rights, recover collateral and maximize recovery on troubled loans.

He has developed expertise and a unique perspective in drainage and water law, by representing project proponents, concerned landowners and drainage authorities. Zimmerli represents clients throughout the drainage project process from preparing petitions, to advocating at drainage authority meetings and hearings and litigating drainage appeals. Serving as an advisor to landowners or other stakeholders with concerns over potential projects, he represents clients from all points of view on drainage projects. Beyond public drainage systems, he helps clients with various regulatory and environmental concerns related to water and agriculture, including disputes between landowners concerning water, flooding, crop loss and more.

Zimmerli is a skilled appellate attorney, practicing before courts including Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court. He is often asked by other lawyers or clients to take over an appeal after a case has been decided by the trial court. Zimmerli enjoys distilling complex factual and legal disputes into convincing arguments. He has successfully defended judgments in his clients favor, and obtained key reversals where a lower court has misapplied the law.


Honors & Awards


  • Greater Mankato Growth Leadership Institute2017
  • MSU Center for Rural Behavioral Health Advisory Board2022 - Present
  • Lind House Association2017 - 2023