Minnesota Law

Fall 2023
Raising the Bar

Alumni News

Judge Toddrick Barnette ’92

Judge Toddrick Barnette ’92 Confirmed as Community Safety Commissioner of Minneapolis

In October, Toddrick Barnette ’92 was sworn in to serve as the community safety commissioner of Minneapolis. Barnette previously served as chief judge of Hennepin County where he oversaw Minnesota’s largest county court operations, managing 63 state judges and supporting more than 550 employees. Over the last three decades, he has worked as a judge, prosecutor, and public defender. He held a leadership role on the Hennepin County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee — a coordinator of multiple government parties to ensure justice and safety in the region.

“Over the last three decades, Chief Judge Barnette has established himself as a leading voice in Minnesota’s public safety and criminal justice communities,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a media release. “With his broad set of lived and professional experiences, he is uniquely situated to forge the partnerships necessary to continue building out a strong, comprehensive safety system and lead a team to keep Minneapolis safe. Judge Barnette is a rare talent, one that has deep connections in Minnesota, and I’m grateful he has agreed to serve as the next member of our administration’s cabinet.”

Tamar Gronvall ’00, Comissioner of Administration

Tamar Gronvall ’00 Appointed Commissioner of Administration

Governor Tim Walz appointed Tamar Gronvall ’00 to serve as Minnesota’s Commissioner of Administration. The Commission of Administration oversees and manages administrative functions of executive branch state agencies. Gronvall will oversee about $2 billion in state purchases in a single year and another $176.5 million in operating costs.

The Honorable Natalie Hudson ’82, chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court

The Honorable Natalie Hudson ’82 Appointed Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court 

The Honorable Natalie Hudson ’82 was appointed chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court this past summer by Governor Tim Walz. Hudson became the first chief justice of color and the first Democratic-appointed judicial branch leader in 25 years. Governor Walz told Minnesota Public Radio, “I know that she will use her decades of judicial experience and deep understanding of our justice system to lead the Judicial Branch with a steady hand and strong conviction.” 

Dana Mitchell ’97, Deputy Attorney General of Minnesota

Dana Mitchell ’97 Appointed Deputy Attorney General of Minnesota 

Dana Mitchell ’97 was appointed Deputy Attorney General of Minnesota by State Attorney General Keith Ellison ’90. Mitchell stepped into the role left by Deputy Attorney General Luz María Frías, who retired on September 29. Mitchell will oversee the Government Support Section of the Office, which provides legal support to a wide range of State of Minnesota agencies, boards, and commissions. 

“Dana, a Minnesotan with deep roots here, is deeply committed to the people of our state,” said Attorney General Ellison. “She is smart, capable, and an excellent lawyer, of course, and she is much more: she is someone who works relationally, is an active member of the community, understands the importance of representing State agencies well, and applies an equity lens to everything that we do. In just a few short months, she’s proven herself to be a tremendous asset in the Attorney General’s Office. We’re all very proud of her and know she’s going to do a wonderful job as Deputy Attorney General.” 

Chief Judge Jenny Starr ’03; Workers’ Compensation Judge David M. Bateson ’00; Assistant Chief Judge Veronica Walther ’09; and Workers’ Compensation Judge Nicole Surges ’90

Four Minnesota Law Alumni Judges Sworn In at the State of Minnesota’s Office of Administrative Hearings 

On June 9, the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) held a judicial investiture ceremony to formally swear in the 11 newest judges who have joined OAH since 2019. Four of those judges are University of Minnesota Law School alumni. Nearly 400 guests attended the ceremony, which was open to the public. Minnesota Law alumni sworn in include: Chief Judge Jenny Starr ’03; Workers’ Compensation Judge David M. Bateson ’00; Assistant Chief Judge Veronica Walther ’09; and Workers’ Compensation Judge Nicole Surges ’90