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Wisconsin Judges Directory

For immediate release:
Monday, May 20, 2002


(St. Paul, MN) Governor Jesse Ventura today announced the appointment of David Higgs and William Leary to the Second Judicial District trial court bench in Ramsey County.  The first opening occurred as a result of the Supreme Court's conversion of a vacant Second Judicial District court referee position to a district court judgeship.  The second opening will occur with the retirement of the Honorable George Petersen on June 7, 2002.  Sixty-two people applied for these two vacancies.

Higgs is an attorney and shareholder in the law firm of McCollum, Crowley, Vehanen, Moschet and Miller in Bloomington, a position he has held since 1996.  He was a senior attorney with American Family Insurance Company in Arden Hills from 1987 to 1996, an attorney and managing partner in the law firm of Ostgard, Higgs and Warner in St. Paul from 1986 to 1987 and an attorney with Engebretson and Associates in St. Paul from 1981 to 1985.  Higgs earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1981 and his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1978.

"David has an enthusiasm for the law," Governor Ventura said.  "I know he will use this enthusiasm as a judge.  People who appear before David will know that he will hear their case with interest and concern."

Higgs is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and has served on its Board of Governors and Civil Litigation Section Governing Council, is a member of the Ramsey County Bar Association and has served on its Membership and Judiciary Committees, is a member of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and was a member of the Minnesota Minority Lawyers Association.  Higgs is also a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court Board of Law Examiners, the Board of Directors of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, the National Conference of Bar Examiners and was a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court Racial Bias Task Force.

Higgs, 46, was born in Washington, D.C. and resides in St. Paul with his wife, Kathleen Vanderwall.  He has two stepdaughters, Jennifer and Jillian and three grandchildren, Cameron, Sydney and Hope.

Leary is an attorney and shareholder in the law firm of Geraghty, O'Loughlin and Kenney in St. Paul, a position he has held since 1980.  He was a law clerk for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge John J. Connelly in St. Paul in 1980 and a law clerk for Second Judicial District Judge Sidney Abramson in St. Paul from 1976 to 1979.  Leary earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1979 and his bachelor of arts degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1971.

"As a law clerk for Ramsey County Judge Sidney Abramson, Bill did a lot of research and writing.  Other Ramsey County judges have said that Judge Abramson relied heavily on Bill's analytical and writing abilities," Governor Ventura said.  "Bill will be able to put those skills to good use on the Ramsey County bench.  I know his opinions will be well thought out and well written."

Leary is a member of the Minnesota and Wisconsin State Bar Associations, the Ramsey County Bar Association, American Bar Association, Defense Research Institute and the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association.  He has been the chair of the Board of Conciliation of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and has been a youth athletics coach, active in his church and has worked in a variety of areas with underserved and disadvantaged people.

Leary, 53, was born in Chicago and resides in St. Paul with his wife, Barbara Washburn.  They have two children, Tim, 19 and Amy, 14.

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