Assistant Chief Judge Kathryn Davis Messerich

Appointed April 19, 2004, by Governor Tim Pawlenty. Elected in 2006 and 2012. Current term expires Jan. 2019.

Specialty Judicial Assignments

Family Dependency Treatment Court
Adult Felony Drug Court
Juvenile Rotation 


William Mitchell College of Law (Juris Doctor 1987)

            Law Review Editor (1985-86)

University of Minnesota (Master of Science 1984)

            Major: Maternal-Child Nursing

Northern Michigan University (Bachelor of Science – Nursing, 1979) (magna cum laude)

            Major: Nursing

            Minor: Biology and Psychology     

Employment Background:

Halleland, Lewis, Nilan, Sipkins & Johnson, P.A. (2000-2004)


Allina Health System (1997–2000)

            Associate General Counsel for Litigation

Bassford, Lockhart, Truesdell & Briggs, P.A. (1991-1997)

            Shareholder (1992–1997)

            Associate (1991-1992)

Lommen, Nelson, Cole & Stageberg, P.A.  (1987-1991)


Registered Nurse: (1979 –1987)

Bar Admissions:

Minnesota Supreme Court (1987)

Federal District Court, District of Minnesota (1987)

Wisconsin Supreme Court (1993) 

Teaching and Lecturing:

University of Minnesota Law School Adjunct Professor – Health Law (2004, 2005)

William Mitchell College of Law Legal Writing Instructor (1993-1995)

University of St. Thomas Law School – Mentor Program (2004-present)

Judicial Trial Skills Training Program (2010-present)

Professional Organizations, Committees, and Activities:

Hennepin County Bar Association 4th District Ethics Committee: Chair (2004), Vice Chair (1998-2003), Investigator (1993-1998)

Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association: President (2001-2002), Executive Committee (1998-2001), Board of Directors (1996-1998), Editorial Committee – “Minnesota Defense” (1988-1993), Creative Dispute Resolution Board of Directors (1996-1998)

Minnesota State Bar Association (1987-present)

Wisconsin State Bar Association (1993-present)

Defense Research Institute (1987-2004)

Minnesota Women Lawyers (1987-present)

Minnesota Board of Continuing Legal Education (2003-2009)

Minnesota Board of Legal Certification (2009-present)

Minnesota District Judges Association (2004-present)

Minnesota District Judges Association Civil Jury Instruction Guide Committee (2004-present)

Committee on Minnesota Civil Jury Instruction Companion Handbook (2007-present)

First Judicial District Executive Committee (2005-present)

First Judicial District Resource Management Committee (2010-present)

Supreme Court Advisory Committee, General Rules of Practice for District Courts (2007-present, appointed Chair in 2011)

Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers of Minnesota (1994–present)


Certified Civil Trial Specialist, Minnesota State Bar Association

            Certified 1994, Re-certified in 2000

ASTAR—The Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center

            Fellowship Candidate in Resource Judge Program (2010– Expected completion in 2012)

Awards and Honors:

American Board of Trial Advocates Fellow (2005)

Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association “President’s Award” (2004)

Defense Research Institute “Exceptional Service Award” (2002)

Northern Michigan University “Distinguished Alumni Award” (2002)

Minnesota Lawyer “Lawyer of the Year” (2001)

Community Activities:

Minnesota State Bar Association Mock Trial Competition

  • Judge (1989-present)
  • Coach
    • Harding High School (1990-1992, 1994-95)
    • Southwest Junior High School (1993)
    • Henry Sibley High School (2003-2007)
    • Eastview High School (2008-present)

Wisconsin State Bar Association Mock Trial Competition Judge (1989-1992)

Washburn Child Guidance Center Board of Directors (2003-2004)

Multiple community presentations on the Judicial System for Citizen Police Academies, local schools, and civic groups in Dakota County

MACV Veterans’ Stand Down (2010)

Volunteer Judge for Veteran’s Court