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Wisconsin Judges Directory


(St. Paul, MN)--Governor Jesse Ventura today announced the appointment of Judge Sam Hanson and Helen Meyer to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The vacancies will occur with the resignations of the Honorable Joan Ericksen Lancaster on June 14, 2002 and the Honorable Edward Stringer on August 31, 2002.   Seventy-four people applied for these two positions.

Hanson has been an at-large judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals since November 2000.  He was an attorney and partner in the law firm of Briggs and Morgan in Minneapolis from 1966 to 2000, where he specialized in civil litigation and regulated industries.  He served as the firm's president from 1988 to 1993.  Hanson was a law clerk for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Robert Sheran from 1965 to 1966 and a law clerk for Hennepin County District Court Judge Douglas Amdahl from 1964 to 1965.  Hanson earned his law degree with honors from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1965 and his bachelor of arts degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield in 1961.

"As a judge of the Court of Appeals, Judge Hanson has distinguished himself as a person who writes his opinions clearly and concisely, yet with a full analysis of the issues," Governor Ventura said.  "Judge Hanson's legacy on the Supreme Court will be immediate, and it will be felt for many years to come."

Hanson is a member of the Minnesota and national Boards of Law Examiners, the Minnesota Supreme Court Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure Advisory Committee, is chair-elect of the William Mitchell College of Law Board of Trustees and is on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.  He has been inducted into the American College of Trail Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates.  Hanson also works with people in third world communities through Global Volunteers.

Hanson, 62, was born in Mankato and resides in Minneapolis with his wife, Mirja.  They have six children and three grandchildren.

Meyer has been the owner of Meyer and Associates in St. Louis Park since 1996, where she has a civil trial practice which includes mediation and arbitration work.  She is also certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Minnesota State Bar Association.  Meyer was a founding partner of the Pritzker and Meyer law firm in Minneapolis in 1987, where she practiced until 1996 and was an associate attorney with the law firm of Schwebel, Goetz, Sieben and Hanson in Minneapolis from 1982 to 1987.  Meyer earned her juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1982 and her bachelor of science degree from the University of Minnesota in 1976.

"Helen has taken risks in her career.  She built her own law firm.  She has served on law-related committees and has tackled tough and sometimes unpopular issues in her profession and worked to see them through," Governor Ventura said.  "Helen also relates well to the common person.  Her clients come from a variety of backgrounds, education levels and professions.  In writing her opinions, Helen will make sure they make sense to everyone."

Meyer is an at-large governor's appointee to the Commission on Judicial Selection, a board member of the Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification and the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association, where she served on its executive committee.  She was chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section Governing Council and the Bar Association Committee on Judicial Evaluation, was a board member of the Creative Dispute Resolution, Inc. and a member of the Civil Jury Instruction Guide Lawyer's Committee.

Meyer, 48, was born in St. Joseph, raised on a Stearns County dairy farm and resides in Edina with her husband, Jan Halverson and their three sons, Max, 15, Alex, 13 and Jack, 6.

Following the announcement of the two Supreme Court justices, Governor Ventura announced the appointment of Second Judicial District Judge Wilhelmina Wright to fill Judge Hanson's position on the Court of Appeals.

Wright has served as a Second Judicial District trial court judge in Ramsey County since November 2000.  Prior to that she was an assistant United States Attorney in Minneapolis, where she prosecuted federal criminal cases in the Economic Crime Section.  She was a member of the Major Crimes Section prior to joining the Economic Crime Section and has been an assistant U.S. Attorney since 1995.  She was an associate attorney with the law firm of Hogan and Hartson in Washington, DC and Houston, Texas from 1991 to 1995 and a law clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith in Detroit, Michigan from 1989 to 1991.  Wright earned her juris doctorate degree from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1989 and her bachelor of arts degree cum laude from Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut in 1986.

"When I appointed Judge Wright to the Ramsey County bench, I described her as a rising star," Governor Ventura said.  "In less than two years, Judge Wright has distinguished herself as a hard-working judge who treats people fairly and with respect.  She will bring her intellect, work ethic and sense of fairness to the Court of Appeals.

Wright serves on the Board of Trustees of William Mitchell College of Law, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Board of Directors and the Yale Alumni Schools Committee.  She was also on the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, the Board of Directors of the Girl Scout Council of St. Croix Valley, the St. Paul Public Schools Graduate Standards Advisory Committee, and volunteered for Clare House, an adult foster home for people living with AIDS.

Wright, 38, was born in Norfolk, Virginia and resides in St. Paul with her husband, Daniel Schmechel and their daughter, Kathryn.

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