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As this issue of THL goes to press, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has appointed Judge Gildea as an Associate Justice of the
Plummer is a small town on
As Judge Lorie Skjerven Gildea recalls, Plummer had no street or stop signs when she was a child. “There are street signs now,” she says, “but it will always be home to me. In a town the size of Plummer, everybody did everything, played sports, participated in school plays, joined 4-H, etc. I had a wonderful time growing up in a safe, supportive place, and I know how lucky I was.”
From Plummer, Gildea went to college at the University of Minnesota–Morris, where she studied political science and was active in student government and was a drummer in the concert band. Gildea graduated from Morris in 1983 and left
Gildea stayed in
Gildea credits her colleagues and family for helping her to attain these successes in life. “We all have people who inspire us. I have been lucky to be guided by serious and dedicated professionals at every step of my career. These mentors inspire me. I am also inspired by my family. My parents have an amazing work ethic; they are always true to their word and they know the gift of finding pleasure in the simple things in life.”
Community involvement has been a hallmark of Gildea’s career. She served on the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission from 2001 to 2004 under Governors Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty. She was a member of the YWCA of Minneapolis Board of Directors. Gildea has also been involved in the bar: “Bar activity is so important,” she says. “Lawyers can get overly focused on the culture or specialty of their firm or employer. But when you work with the bar, your horizons broaden as you meet people with different experiences, specialties, and perspectives.” Gildea has served on the MSBA’s civil litigation section’s governing council and on the diversity committee, and she currently serves on the MSBA’s council, formerly known as the executive committee, and in the Assembly.
Following her appointment, Judge Gildea was kind enough to provide answers to the following questions posed to her by THL:
THL: What are your general views on what it means to be a judge?
LG: The American judicial system is the envy of the world. I can think of no greater honor than to serve that system in the largest and most diverse county in my home state. The judges in
THL: What is your view on bar involvement?
LG: My first experience with the bar association was serving on The Hennepin Lawyer Committee for the Hennepin County Bar Association, which provides a great opportunity for the writer in all of us to learn about areas of law in which we do not practice. It is very important for all lawyers to make time to serve the profession in some capacity through the bar association. This service provides an opportunity for plaintiff’s lawyers and defense counsel, for large-firm lawyers and those in solo practice to come together and work collaboratively in a nonadversarial setting on important matters that are critical to our justice system, such as access to legal services. We all benefit from these interactions and this exposure. It makes us better lawyers and it makes us better people.
THL: Has progress been made in advancing women in the legal profession?
LG: We have seen many changes in our lifetime. The legal profession continues to evolve for women litigators, negotiators, and judges. I was in one of the first
THL: Anything else you’d like the bar membership to know about you, and your expectations in the courtroom?
LG: I hope that the architecture and art of the law will guide trial practice in my courtroom. The architecture of law should help to ensure the fairness of the process, and the art of law generally brings the truth to light. You can’t have Perry Mason moments every few weeks, but you can bring articulation and a vision to almost every case. Most importantly, I expect counsel to be on time and to be prepared.
As for me, I am a die-hard Gophers sports fan. When Governor Pawlenty announced my appointment, he joked that my avid support for Gopher women’s hockey was a decisive factor in his choice. Away from the courthouse, I am very charitably described as an enthusiastic competitor in the Western equestrian sport of reining.
2004: Assistant County Attorney, Complex Crimes Unit, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office
1993: Associate General Counsel, University of Minnesota
1993: Special Prosecutor Minneapolis City and Hennepin County Attorney’s Offices
1986: Associate, Litigation Group, Arent Fox, Washington, D.C.