News Item
Governor Dayton Appoints Paul Thissen to Serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Governor Mark Dayton today announced his appointment of Paul Thissen to serve as the next Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Thissen will fill the vacancy created upon the United States Senate’s confirmation of the appointment of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David R. Stras to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Thissen brings 25 years of legal experience to the Supreme Court, is widely regarded as a top legal mind in Minnesota, and has devoted 16 years to public service in the Minnesota House of Representatives, including prior service as Speaker of the House.

“Paul Thissen is a committed public servant and one of the sharpest legal minds in our state, with 25 years of legal experience,” said Governor Dayton. “Throughout his career, Paul has worked to expand access to justice for all Minnesotans, and to defend the rights of those with no other recourse. He previously chose to leave private practice to serve as a public defender; he has led an effort to train Minnesota lawyers to better serve Minnesotans with disabilities; and he has traveled the state and met with Minnesotans from all walks of life. These experiences give Paul a unique legal perspective, which will be a tremendous asset to the Court and to the Minnesotans it serves. I am confident Paul will be an exceptional Justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, working to ensure individual Minnesotans are better seen and heard in our justice system.”

“Throughout my legal and legislative service, I have worked hard to promote the values of fairness, accountability, and individual dignity, while making sure Minnesotans’ voices are heard,” said Thissen. “I thank Governor Dayton for the honor and opportunity to continue serving the people of our state on the Minnesota Supreme Court. I will work hard to ensure Minnesota’s justice system better sees, hears, and works for all people in our state.”

About Paul Thissen

Paul Thissen is Senior Counsel of the Health Law Group at the Ballard Spahr Law Firm (formerly Lindquist & Vennum) where he works with clinics, hospitals, health plans, and long-term care clients. He was previously a Shareholder at Briggs and Morgan, an Appellate State Public Defender, and a Law Clerk for the Honorable James B. Loken at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

During his 25-year legal career, Paul Thissen has represented a wide range of pro bono clients, including survivors of domestic abuse seeking protective orders, people fleeing persecution in their home countries, and parents seeking to preserve custody rights. Thissen also developed and organized a program to train lawyers on the unique needs and obstacles to justice for people with disabilities, and then paired those lawyers with pro bono clients. Thissen is a board member for Healthy and Happy Kids, a Trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and a former volunteer mock trial coach.

Thissen has been recognized as a top legal mind in Minnesota. In 2006, he was named one of "Forty Under 40" by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal; in 2008, he was named one of the "Best Brains" by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine; and in 2008 and 2012, Thissen was recognized as one of “100 Influential Minnesotans in Health Care” by Physician Magazine.

Paul Thissen has been a Minnesota State Representative since 2003, serving previously as the Speaker of the House, and as Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. Thissen earned his B.A. from Harvard University and his J.D. from the University of Chicago.