Mn Judicial Branch Logo
Find Court

Directory Lookup
In this section:


Home > Directory Lookup > Judicial Directory >

Judge Profile:

Senior Judge Bruce D. Willis
(retired 2008)

Court of Appeals

Minnesota Judicial Center
Phone: (651) 297-7650


  • Born January 29, 1941, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Raised on a farm in Medina Township, Hennepin County, Minnesota
  • Married July 17, 1971, to Elizabeth Ann Runsvold of Sioux City, Iowa
  • Two children, Andrew John and Ellen Elizabeth


  • Orono High School, Long Lake, Minnesota, diploma, 1958
  • Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, B.A. in English, 1962
  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, LL.B., 1965

Bar Admissions:

  • Minnesota Supreme Court, 1965
  • United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, 1965
  • United States Court of Federal Claims, 1989
  • United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1991
  • United States Supreme Court, 1992

Military Service:

  • United States Army Reserve, 1965-68 (graduate, United States Army Intelligence School, Ft. Holabird, Maryland, 1966; final rank E-4)
  • United States Navy Reserve, 1968-74 (final rank Lieutenant)

Professional Experience:

  • Appointed and assigned to serve on the Court of Appeals as a Senior Judge.
  • Judge, Minnesota Court of Appeals, 1995-2008
  • Private law practice with Popham, Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman, Ltd., Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1965-95
  • Special Assistant Minnesota Attorney General for anti-trust matters, 1968-72

Professional Activities:

  • Hennepin County Bar Association Member, Ethics Committee, 1981-88 (Screening Committee Member, 1986-88)
  • Member, Legal Fee Arbitration Board, 1981-86 (Chair, 1983-86)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association Member, Public Law Section, 1996-present
  • Trustee, Lawyers Public Affairs Commission (Minnesota State Bar Association political action committee), 1988-93 (Chair, 1990-93)
  • Hennepin County Delegate to Minnesota State Bar Association Conventions (Member, Professionalism Committee, 1999-present) (Member, Judicial Elections Committee, 2005-present)
  • American Bar Association Member, Appellate Judges Section, 1996-present
  • Hearings Before the Election Law Task Force of the Committee on House Administration, 98th Congress, 1st Session, 1983 (written and oral expert testimony)
  • Member, Federal Commission on Voter Participation and Ballot Integrity, 1987
  • Member, Federal Election Commission Advisory Committee for Contested Elections and Recounts Project, 1989-90
  • Hearings Before the Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform of the Committee on House Administration, 102nd Congress, 1st Session, 1991 (written and oral expert testimony)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, 1986-2003
  • Member, Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards, 1997-2005 (Executive Committee Member, 2004-05)
  • Member, Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Civil Appellate Rules, 1997-present
  • Member, Warren E. Burger Inn of Court, 1998-99 (Chair)
  • Lecturer at continuing legal education programs on a variety of topics, 1970-present
  • Author, Election Law, Bench and Bar of Minnesota, November 1970
  • Author, Private and Public Financing of Campaigns Under Minnesota's Ethics in Government Act, The Hennepin Lawyer, July-August 1980
  • Author, The Open Meeting Law, Minnesota Administrative Procedure, Butterworth Legal Publishers 1987 (book chapter)
  • Author, Campaign Finance in Minnesota: Tune-Up or Overhaul?, The Hennepin Lawyer, July-August 1992

Civic Activities:

  • Board Member, Minnesota Ethical Practices Board (now known as the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board), 1990-95 (Secretary, 1990-91; Vice Chair, 1991-92; Chair, 1992-93)
  • Expert witness on governmental ethics, Citizens Jury, 1990
  • Chair, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Commissioner Search Committee, 1990-91
  • Expert witness before Citizens League Task Force on Barriers to Candidacy, 1991
  • Member, Common Cause Task Force on Election Law Reform, 1992-93
  • Expert witness before Governor's Commission on Public Service Reform, 1993
  • Member, Minnesota Commission on Judicial Section, 1991-94


  • Selected by Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics as one of 1990's Lawyers of the Year, 1991
  • Selected by Minnesota Lawyer as one of Minnesota's Best Trial Lawyers, 1991
  • Included in various Who’s Who publications, including Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World
  • Orono High School’s Alumnus of the Year, 1998