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Wisconsin Judges Directory

Susan Richard Nelson Appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge

ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 30, 2000) -- Chief U.S. District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson has announced the appointment of Susan Richard Nelson to the position of U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Minnesota. Nelson will take the oath of office in a public investiture ceremony in the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis at 3:00 p.m., Monday, June 12, 2000. She will maintain judicial chambers in the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in St. Paul.

Nelson fills a new position and will become the sixth magistrate judge. She was among a group of five finalists considered by sitting federal judges before her selection several weeks ago.

In making the appointment, Chief Judge Magnuson lauded Nelson's qualifications for the judicial post. "Susan Nelson brings to the federal court more than 22 years of experience before trial and appellate courts throughout the country as one of the outstanding lawyers in Minnesota," said Magnuson. "Her civil trial practice and reputation are second to none. She is simply a great lawyer and a great person, and her unanimous appointment by the judges of this court demonstrates the confidence we have in her ability to serve the citizens of this state."

Nelson joined the Minneapolis-based law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. in 1984 and became a partner in 1988. Her civil trial practice has involved complex product liability and mass tort matters in some of the most significant lawsuits in Minnesota and the United States, including the 1998 landmark tobacco trial.

Nelson was born in 1952. She graduated with High Honors from Oberlin College (Ohio), and received her J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Nelson serves on numerous civic and cultural boards including, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and William Mitchell Center for Conflict Management, and is the former president of Minnesota Women Lawyers. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, Federal Bar Association and Hennepin County Bar Association. Nelson was a Presidential appointee to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Constitutional Law Committee and was a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Bias CLE Requirement.

Nelson is married to attorney Tom Nelson. They have two sons, Rob and Michael, and live in Bloomington. She is active in her children's school and in her sons' baseball programs.

Nelson was selected as a Leading Minnesota Lawyer (Super Lawyer, Personal Injury) by the Minnesota Journal of Law & Politics from 1995 - 1999. And along with fellow members of the tobacco trial team, Nelson was named "Member of the Year" by the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, 1998 "Trial Lawyer of the Year" by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, and 1998 "News Maker of the Year" by the Minnesota Women's Press.

U.S. magistrate judges are appointed by the judges of the U.S. District Court for a term of eight years, and may be appointed to successive terms. Nelson joins five other U.S. magistrate judges in the District of Minnesota: Judge Raymond L. Erickson in Duluth, Judge Franklin L. Noel in Minneapolis, Judge Jonathan Lebodoff in Minneapolis, Judge John Mason in St. Paul and Judge Arthur Boylan in St. Paul. Nelson also joins three part-time U.S. magistrate judges: Senior Judge J. Earl Cudd in Minneapolis, Judge Randall Burg in Bemidji and Judge E.S. Swearingen in Minneapolis.

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