Article Page Right Side Ads Text Area
Judge Jamie Anderson welcomes her new position as a Hennepin County District Court Judge with enthusiasm and optimism. Direct interaction with people has always been a significant part of Anderson’s life, both personally and professionally. Anderson has strived to convey respect and dignity to each person she encounters, and she carries this sentiment with her to her new role.
Anderson’s journey began at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul where she studied public relations and broadcast journalism. Anderson attributes her succinct writing style to this background in journalism. While in college, Anderson wrote for the yearbook and was a member of a service sorority, through which she organized and participated in community service projects. After graduating in 1997 with a bachelor of arts degree, Anderson applied to law school. Driven by a continuing passion for media and First Amendment law, Anderson moved to California to attend California Western School of Law in San Diego, where she received her J.D. in 2000.
During law school, Anderson wrote for the school newspaper. She also clerked at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., the summer of 1999. During her third year of law school, Anderson became engaged to her high school sweetheart and now husband. After Anderson graduated from California Western School of Law, she relocated back to the Twin Cities area and got married in December 2000.
Anderson began her work in Minnesota at Himle Horner, a public affairs firm, in January 2001. While working there, Anderson sat for the February bar exam and was admitted to the Minnesota Bar shortly thereafter. Ready for a new challenge, Anderson pursued a position as a committee administrator with the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2003. While the Legislature was in recess, she was assigned to the Unemployment Insurance Legal Affairs Division at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, where she reviewed and ruled on unemployment cases on appeal. Building on this experience, Anderson left the Minnesota House of Representatives later that year for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, where she worked as a legislative affairs director until 2005.
From 2005 to her present appointment as Hennepin County District Court judge, Anderson worked as an attorney with the Howse and Thompson law firm in Plymouth. Her practice included a range of civil cases that exposed her to a variety of skills and experiences that she now brings to her new role on the bench. Anderson identifies the ability to quickly jump into a new case, understand its history, and connect individuals with the resources they need to avoid recidivism as crucial to her new position. Her wealth of experience working with people has allowed her to create a comfortable, yet respectful courtroom. Anderson is currently assigned to Community Court, a criminal block where she handles primarily misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses.
Anderson commented on “how well people respond to just being treated nicely” throughout the court process. Despite the fact that people are often caught in a challenging cycle, Anderson reminds herself daily that, above all else, these are “people” and “not just cases or parts of the system.” For example, Anderson and her new colleagues, ranging from judges and court staff to probation officers and attorneys, seek to find the underlying issues or reasons for offending, such as homelessness or prostitution, and then try to connect offenders with resources that will empower them to avoid reoffending.
For fun, Anderson enjoys spending time with her family and participating in her church, where she teaches Sunday school and is involved in children’s ministry. Anderson and her husband have two young daughters, who keep them quite busy. Most of their relatives live within the Twin Cities metro area and in relatively close proximity to one another, which allows them to spend significant time together.
Judge Anderson recommends that new lawyers absorb as much as they can and diversify their experience during their early years of practice. She encourages new lawyers to try many different areas of the law, if they have the opportunity to do so, because there is “a real skill in getting accustomed to quickly figuring new things out.” Anderson believes that her diverse background is what enables her to come into this new position and new practice area with confidence, humility, and excitement. She also stresses the importance of working hard and learning to balance several different things at once because “life does not slow down or get easier.”
Judge Anderson truly brings with her a passion for people. Her appreciation for her new colleagues—whom she describes as hard working, knowledgeable, and wanting to make a difference for the offenders coming into the system—communicates her commitment to her new position as judge with the Hennepin County District Court.