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Attorney Eric J. Magnuson named next Chief Justice

Posted: Monday, March 17, 2008

Saint Paul – Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the appointment of Eric J. Magnuson as Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Magnuson will succeed the Honorable Russell A. Anderson, who announced his retirement from the Supreme Court last week.  Chief Justice Anderson’s retirement is effective on June 1, 2008.

“I want to again thank Chief Justice Anderson for 25 years of hard work and dedication as a judge, and for committing his life to protecting and upholding our state and nation’s values and principles,” Governor Pawlenty said.

Magnuson, 57, is an attorney and shareholder in the business litigation department at the Briggs and Morgan Law Firm in Minneapolis, a position he has held since 2007.  He practices almost exclusively in state and federal appellate courts, and works in consultation with trial attorneys on matters in anticipation of appeal.  Previously, he was an attorney and partner with the Rider Bennett law firm in Minneapolis from 1977 to 2007, where he chaired the appellate group practice and was managing partner from 1999 to 2000.  He was a law clerk to former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Sheran from 1976 to 1977, and a law clerk to former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Douglas K. Amdahl, who was a Hennepin County district court judge at the time.  Magnuson earned his juris doctorate degree cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1976, and his bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Minnesota in 1972.

“Eric is nationally recognized for his appellate advocacy and writing, and is consistently ranked among the top appellate attorneys by his peers.  He has argued hundreds of cases to the state and federal appellate courts covering a wide range of issues over the course of his 30-year career.  Eric has also taken on leadership positions in his law firms and in legal professional associations, which will serve him well as he assumes the leadership of state’s judicial system.  He will be an outstanding Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Governor Pawlenty.

Magnuson writes and edits several federal and state appellate treatises, and is co-author of the 2007 edition of West Publishing’s, “Minnesota Practice: Appellate Rules Annotated”, co-editor and chapter author of the fourth edition of the “Eighth Circuit Appellate Practice Manual”, and co-editor of Matthew Bender’s, “The Art of Advocacy: Appeals.” 

Magnuson is the founding president of the Eighth Circuit Bar Association, a fellow and past president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and co-reporter to the Minnesota Supreme Court Appellate Rules Committee.  He is a member of the American Bar Association, where he co-chaired the Appellate Practice Committee of the Section on Litigation, and the Appellate Advocacy of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.  He is also a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, where he has chaired the Court Rules and Judicial Administration Committee and the Court of Appeals Task Force.  He has also served as chair of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection since 2003.

Magnuson has been recognized by his peers as one of the “Best Lawyers in America,” is in the “2007 Annual Guide to Appellate Law in America”, and is listed as a “Top 10 Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Law and Politics.

Magnuson was born in Morris, Illinois and resides in Inver Grove Heights with his wife, Katie.  They have four adult children and one granddaughter.

The Minnesota Supreme Court hears appeals from the Court of Appeals, Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals and Tax Court; reviews first-degree murder convictions, and legislative election disputes.  The Supreme Court consists of seven justices, including one chief justice and six associate justices.