Professor Laura Thomas Appointed to Hennepin County District Court Bench

Governor Tim Walz has appointed Professor Laura Thomas as a District Court judge in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. Thomas will be chambered in Minneapolis in Hennepin County.

“Laura Thomas has been a beloved teacher, an exemplary faculty colleague, and a key architect of our leading clinical program,” said Garry W. Jenkins, dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law. “We will miss her enthusiasm and dedication. Yet, it is always a point of great pride when a member of our community is called to the bench. I am confident that she will be a wise and even-handed jurist.”

In addition to serving as a clinical professor of law, Thomas has served as director of Law Clinics. 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. She was the 2018 recipient of the Stanley V. Kinyon Clinical Teacher of the Year Award.

In making the announcement, Governor Walz said, "Thomas is exceptionally qualified, with a deep understanding of the law and its impact on Minnesotans."

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said, “Ms. Thomas is a nationally-recognized legal expert with a long history of service to Minnesotans, including our most vulnerable and under-represented. Not only does she use her role to stand up for families who need it most, she has instilled these values in her students, building classes of legal professionals who will fight for Minnesota families. She will serve the Fourth Judicial District well.”

Prior to joining the Law School, Thomas worked in private practice in Minneapolis and clerked for Judges Harlan Nelson and Thomas Stringer in Otter Tail County.

Full Appointment Release:

Hon. Laura Thomas