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Judicial Appointments News

Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Fourth Judicial District Candidates to Governor Walz

5/4/2020 11:00:15 AM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – The Commission on Judicial Selection announced today it is recommending three candidates for consideration to fill the current vacancy in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. This vacancy occurred upon the retirement of the Honorable Ivy S. Bernhardson and will be chambered in Minneapolis in Hennepin County.

Julie Allyn: Ms. Allyn currently serves as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. Previously, she served as an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Ms. Allyn is a skilled trial lawyer with twenty years of experience prosecuting major felony crimes ranging from murder and rape cases to international and domestic terrorism matters. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. Ms. Allyn’s community involvement includes serving as a mentor in the St. Thomas Law School Mentor Program, member of the Federal Bar Association’s Membership Committee, Chair of the Wellness Committee for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its representative on the U.S. District Court’s Wellness Committee, and parent volunteer for Minneapolis Storm Hockey. She was previously involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Minneapolis and on the Fulton Neighborhood Board.

Jessica Ryan: Ms. Ryan is currently in private practice representing Tribal Governments and American Indian families. She has extensive litigation experience, serving as a prosecutor in several tribal courts and defense counsel in state courts. She also has appellate court experience. Previously, Ms. Ryan was a Chief Judge and Court of Appeals Judge for two tribal courts. She played a key role in renegotiating the Tribal/State Agreement between Minnesota’s Tribal Nations and the Department of Human Services related to child welfare, and she has sought to improve its application through rule, statutory, and Bench Book revisions. Her community involvement includes serving as a faculty member for state and regional trainings on the Indian Child Welfare Act and Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act, and building relationships between Tribes and Bands and non-Indians.

Laura Thomas: Ms. Thomas currently serves as a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Law Clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School. In her role as Clinical Professor, she has been instrumental in designing Law in Practice, a lawyering skills program at the Law School, for which she co-authored a nationally-recognized textbook and which she teaches annually. She also supervises and mentors student attorneys who represent indigent and working poor individuals through the Law Clinic program. Ms. Thomas has expanded the reach of the clinic to serve under-represented populations in a larger segment of Minnesota, and created a new clinic specifically addressing legal issues involving families. Previously, Ms. Thomas clerked for Judges Harlan Nelson and Thomas Stringer in Otter Tail County then joined private practice. Ms. Thomas’s community involvement includes membership in the bar association, serving as a block club leader, being an active member of Minneapolis Uptown Rotary, and volunteering at Joyce Food Shelf.

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