Judge Susan N. Burke

Hennepin County Courthouse
Fourth Judicial District
(612) 348-2040

Chambers Phone: (612) 348-8797
Reporter: (612) 596-1216
Law Clerk: (612) 348-6339
Judicial Clerk: (612) 348-2459

Fourth Judicial District Judicial Officers

Judge Susan N. Burke


Elected in 2004, 2010, 2016, and 2022. Current term expires December 31, 2028.


  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law (1990)
  • B.A., 3rd in class, magna cum laude (3.98/4.00) Hanover College (1987)
  • Diploma, 1st in class, summa cum laude (4.00/4.00) Manhattan High School (1983)


  • United States Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota, Criminal Division, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1994-2004
  • Trial Attorney, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Honors Program, Washington, D.C., 1992-1994
  • Judicial Law Clerk, Honorable Paul A. Magnuson, United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 1990-1992

Professional Presentations:

  • American Judges Association, Annual Educational Conference: Introduction of Cynthia Gray, Director of American Judicature Society Center for Judicial Ethics, “Top 10 Recent Judicial Ethics Cases,” (Las Vegas, NV), 2009
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Discussion leader for a group of the first women judges appointed to the Egyptian judiciary on judicial decision-making and role of a judge, (Cairo, Egypt), 2008
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, Panel Member, “Balancing Life & Career,” 2008
  • Twin Cities Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners, “Presenting Complex Fraud Cases,” 2008
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, Panel Member, “Judicial Selection,” 2008
  • William Mitchell College of Law, Panel Speaker, “Judicial Clerkships,” 2007 and 2008
  • American Bar Association, Annual Convention, Standing Committee on Minorities in the Judiciary, Panel Member, “Achieving a Diverse Judiciary,” (San Francisco, CA), 2007
  • National Hispanic Bar Association, Mid-Year Conference (Minneapolis, MN), Panel Speaker, “The Art of Jury Selection,” (Minneapolis, MN), 2007
  • William Mitchell College of Law Latino Law Student Association, Panel Speaker, “The Invisible Woman: Report of the ABA Commission of Women in the Profession,” 2007
  • Hamline University School of Law Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Dinner Speaker, “Achieving Success,” 2006
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, Panel Member, “Being a Judge,” 2006
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law, Multicultural Reception Speaker, “Access To Justice,” 2006
  • Twin Cities Committee on Minority Lawyers and Larger Law Firms, Minority Recruitment Conference, Judicial Clerkship Panel Member, 2004-2006
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers , Panel Member, “Advice to New Attorneys,” 2006
  • St. Thomas University School of Law Asian Law Student Association, Dinner Speaker, 2006


University of Minnesota Law School

  • Criminal Law Seminar, Guest Speaker, “United States Sentencing Guidelines,” 2003-present
  • Trial Advocacy Course, Guest Instructor, 2001-present

St. Thomas University School of Law, Trial Advocacy, Adjunct Faculty, 2008

Minnesota County Attorneys Association, Advanced Termination of Parental Rights Trial Skills Course Faculty, 2008

United States Department of Justice National Advocacy Center (Columbia, S.C.)

  • Trial Advocacy School, Instructor, 2002-2004
  • Title III Wiretap Seminar, Instructor, 2001-2003

Also taught classes for the Minnesota Institute of Legal Education (MILE), the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Minnesota Sheriffs Association, and the Minnesota State Association of Narcotics Investigators.

Professional Memberships and Activities:

American Bar Association

  • Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, At-Large Council Member, 2009-present
  • Judicial Division, Conference of State Trial Judges, 2007-present
  • Lt. Governor, Fourth Circuit, Law Student Division, 1989-1990
  • University of Virginia Law School Chapter President, 1989-1990
  • University of Virginia Law School ABA/LSD Representative, 1989-1990
  • Member, 1991-present

National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), Board of Trustees, 2009-present

American Judges Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2009-present

American Judges Association

  • Chair, Judicial Ethics Committee, 2008-2009
  • Minnesota Delegate to the Assembly, 2007-2009
  • Member, 2005-present

American Judicature Society member, 2009-present

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

  • Judicial Council, 2004-present
  • Co-Chair, Thomas Tang Central Regional Moot Court Competition, 2008
  • Judge, Thomas Tang National Moot Court Competition, 2005-present (Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Las Vegas)
  • President, Minnesota Chapter, 2003-2004
  • Board of Directors, Minnesota Chapter, 2000-2008
  • Advisory Board, Minnesota Chapter, 2008-present
  • Member, 1999-present

Federal Bar Association- MN Chapter

  • Board of Directors, 1995-1999, 2007-2009
  • Member, 1992-present

Minnesota State Bar Association

  • Executive Council, 2006-2008
  • Board of Governors/Assembly, 2000-present
  • Operations Committee, 2008-present
  • Appointments & Elections Committee, 2006-2008
  • Planning Committee, Retirement Dinner for Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz, 2006
  • Judicial Selection Task Force, 2002-2004
  • Governance Task Force, 2002-2004
  • Minority Bar Summit Representative, 2000-present
  • Diversity Committee, 2000-2004
  • Public Law Section, 2000-2004
  • Member, 1992-present

Hennepin County Bar Association

  • Bench & Bar Committee, 2006-2008
  • Board of Directors/Governing Council, 2001-2004
  • Nominating Committee, 2002-2005
  • Criminal Law Committee, Co-Chair, 2001-2002
  • Member, 1996-present

Minnesota District Judges Association

  • Board of Directors, Fourth District Alternate Representative, 2008-present
  • Board of Judicial Standards Ad Hoc Committee, 2006-2008
  • Member, 2005-present 

Minnesota Women Lawyers

  • Advisory Board, 2009-present
  • Myra Bradwell Award Selection Committee, 2002
  • Judicial Endorsement Committee, 1999-2004
  • Attorney Mentoring Program, 1998-2004
  • Law Student Mentoring Program, 2000-2004
  • Member, 1998-present

Community Activities

YWCA of Minneapolis, Board of Directors, 2008-present

Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, Executive Council Retreat, Panel Member, “Leadership,” 2009      

Fil (Filipino)-Minnesotan Association, Installation of the Board of Directors, 2008

Family Alternatives, Training for Foster Parents, 2008

State of Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program, Swearing In Ceremony, 2007

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Race for the Cure, 2006 and 2007

National Association of Asian American Professionals, Panel Speaker, Wells Fargo Corporate Headquarters, “Working Women: Shaping the Standard for Success,” 2007

Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Joint Dinner of Women Professional Associations, Panel Member, “Pipeline to Power: Increasing Women’s Leadership,” 2006

League of Women Voters, Leaders of Today and Tomorrow Conference, Speaker, 2006

Also volunteered in the past for the Minnesota Special Olympics, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Andersen Open School Board, the Hanover College Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the St. Paul Downtown Community District Council (non-partisan elected office).

Bar Admissions:

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 3/18/1996

United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, 10/31/1994

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, 12/7/1992

Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota, 8/20/1992

Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, 12/7/1990

Assignment History:

Criminal & Civil, 8/2008-present
Juvenile, 7/2006-7/2008
Criminal & Civil, 2004-7/2006

Honors and Awards:

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Trailblazer Award- selected to receive one of this national bar association’s most prestigious awards in Boston in November 2009; recognizes extraordinary contribution to the Asian Pacific American legal community, as well as the broader Asian Pacific American community

Hanover College Athletic Hall of Fame- inducted as the only student in college history to graduate with 12 varsity letters (volleyball, basketball & softball) and an Academic All-American nominee in volleyball & softball

Additional Information:

Judge Burke has served as a state district court judge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since January 3, 2005. 

Judge Burke is the first and only Japanese American judge in Minnesota.  On November 8, 2004, she became the first Asian American initially elected to the bench in Minnesota. 

Prior to her election to the bench, Judge Burke served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota from 1994-2004.  From 1992-1994, she worked as a Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Federal Programs Branch in Washington, D.C.  She was one of approximately 30 attorneys hired through the Honors Program out of approximately 2,000 applicants in 1991.

While at the Department of Justice, Judge Burke was the first to litigate a case interpreting the John F. Kennedy Records Collection Act of 1992.  She defended the FBI when Jimmy Hoffa’s daughter sued the FBI to close its investigation of Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance.  Judge Burke also litigated nine cases against Adam Walinsky and Ann Coulter.

From 1990-1992, Judge Burke served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul A. Magnuson, United States District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota.  She is a 1990 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia.  In 1987, she graduated third in her class from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.

Judge Burke was recently inducted into the Hanover College Athletic Hall of Fame for volleyball, basketball and softball.  She was a two-time Academic All-American nominee, and was the only student in the college’s history to graduate with 12 varsity letters.  Although retired from these sports, she enjoys competing in events at her golf club, Hazeltine National Golf Club, host of the 2009 PGA Championship. 

Judge Susan Burke is married to Judge Kevin Burke, former Chief Judge of the Hennepin County District Court.  She gave birth to their daughter, Kate, on February 17, 2005, three months after her election to the bench.