Governor Pawlenty Appoints Ekstrum and Jorgensen to Tenth Judicial District Judgeships

On November 3, 2005, Governor Tim Pawlenty announced the appointment of B. William Ekstrum and Kenneth L. Jorgensen to two Tenth Judicial District trial court bench vacancies in Washington County. These vacancies are due to the retirements of the Honorable Stephen L. Muehlberg on September 30, 2005, and the Honorable Gary J. Meyer on October 31, 2005.
Ekstrum is an attorney and shareholder with the Fridley law firm of Newquist and Ekstrum, a position he has held since 1987. Prior to that, he was an attorney with the Fridley law firm of Smith, Juster, Feikema, Malmon and Haskvitz from 1980 to 1987. Ekstrum earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1979 and his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1971.

“Bill has a great breadth and depth of experience in civil as well as criminal law,” Governor Pawlenty said. “He also has a tremendous diversity of life experiences and active participation in the community, which will serve him well as a judge.”

Ekstrum is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, serving on the Elder, Family and Probate Law Sections; the Anoka County Bar Association; National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; and chairs the Anoka County Domestic Violence Justice Committee; as well as the Anoka County Order For Protection Oversight Committee. He is a member of the Fridley/Columbia Heights Rotary Club, serving as president in 2003-2004; a member and past board chair of the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA; a member and past president of the Blaine Area Chamber of Commerce; a member and past president of the Metro North Chamber of Commerce; and a member of the Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce. Ekstrum has also held various positions including six years as lay leader of Fridley United Methodist Church, and is a member of the Encore Wind Ensemble and Lake Wobegone Brass Band. Ekstrum, 57, was born in Minneapolis, and lives in Blaine with his wife, Margaret. They have two adult children, Karen Burton and Kristen Ruesges, and five grandchildren.
Jorgensen is the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, a position he has held since 2002. He was the Office’s first assistant director from 1993 to 2002, senior assistant director from 1988 to 1993 and assistant director from 1984 to 1988. Jorgensen earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1984 and his bachelor of science degree from Mankato State University cum laude in 1981.

“Ken’s career with the Lawyer’s Board gives him a unique and valuable perspective as someone who has investigated and prosecuted ethical complaints against lawyers,” Governor Pawlenty said. “In addition, he has the leadership and demeanor to be a great judge.”
Jorgensen is a member of the American, Minnesota State, Ramsey County, First, and Seventeenth District Bar Associations. He is currently secretary of the Seventeenth District Bar Association. Jorgensen also teaches Professional Responsibility and Legal Practicum at William Mitchell Law School, and has presented over 170 continuing legal education programs in Minnesota as well as other states for 20 years. He also served as a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct, and was a boys and girls soccer coach and boys floor hockey coach through Maplewood Community Recreation. Jorgensen, 48, was born in Fairmont, and lives in West Lakeland with his wife, Tricia, and their two children, Sam, 15, and Emily, 13.


Art Exhibition by Local Lawyer Jennifer Wellner

Variations, an exhibition of recent paintings by local lawyer Jennifer Wellner, will have an opening reception on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2005 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at 1111 Main Street, Hopkins. The exhibit will be on display from December 1, 2005 through January 8, 2006 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday; 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturdays; and Noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.


Governor Pawlenty Appoints Jasper and Tonelli Larkin to Tenth Judicial District Judgeships

On October 20, 2005, Governor Tim Pawlenty announced the appointment of Jonathan N. Jasper and Michelle A. Tonelli Larkin to two Tenth Judicial District trial court bench vacancies in Wright County.

Jasper is the managing partner of the law firm of Jasper and Brandt in Anoka. He has been an attorney with the firm and its predecessors since 1994. He was an associate attorney with the Berglund and Varco law firm in Anoka from 1993 to 1994 and with the law firm of Rider, Bennett, Egan and Arundel in Minneapolis from 1987 to 1993. Jasper earned his juris doctorate degree from Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York in 1987 and his bachelor of arts degree cum laude from Hamline University in St. Paul in 1984.

“Jonathan has a great breadth of legal experiences – from practicing civil commercial litigation with a large law firm to a criminal defense practice in a two-person law firm,” Governor Pawlenty said. “In addition, Jonathan’s wonderful people skills and sense of humor will be appreciated by those who appear before him.”

Jasper is a Supreme Court-appointed member and vice-chair of the State Board of Public Defense. He is also a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, serving on its Board of Governors and chairing its Young Lawyers’ Section from 1993 to 1994; and the Anoka County Bar Association, where he was a member of the Executive Board. He had also served on the 21st District Bar Association Ethics Committee.
Jasper is a member of the Andover Planning Commission, Minnesota StandDown (helping indigent veterans find solutions to their legal problems), has been a volunteer Moot Court Judge at Hamline University Law School, and a speaker at law schools and high schools. Jasper, 42, was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, and lives in Andover with his wife, Jenny, and their two daughters, Courtney, 9, and Casey Jo, 7.

Tonelli Larkin is a senior attorney and trial team supervisor with the Fourth Judicial District public defender’s office in Hennepin County. She has been an assistant public defender in the Hennepin County public defender’s office since 1992. Tonelli Larkin earned her juris doctorate degree magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1992 and her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1988.

“Michelle is assigned the most difficult cases that the public defender’s office handles, which is a testament to her legal skills,” Governor Pawlenty said. “Her intellect and ability to handle a heavy caseload will be an asset to a very busy bench in Wright County that has an ever-growing caseload.”
Tonelli Larkin serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court Juvenile Delinquency Rules Committee and previously served on the Supreme Court’s Task Forces on Court Appointed Civil Counsel, Juvenile Justice Services its and Advisory Committee on the Amendment of the Juvenile Protection Rules. She has been an instructor for numerous continuing legal education seminars, and volunteers for the University of St. Thomas School of Law mentor program. Tonelli Larkin is also co-chair of the Church of the Epiphany’s Springfest Silent Auction Committee and volunteers for the church’s State Fair diner, magazine drive, and marathon. Tonelli Larkin, 39, was born in Spring Valley, Illinois, and lives in Andover with her husband, Joel Larkin, and their son, Porter, 6.


The Joseph E. Wargo-Anoka County Bar Association Professorship in Family Law

Endowment Summary:

This professorship at the University of Minnesota was created in memory of Joseph E. Wargo, a 1938 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School who was a distinguished member of the bench and bar as well as a dedicated supporter of the Law School. He founded the current law firm of Barna, Guzy, and Steffen, Ltd., and then served as a municipal court judge in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, and a district court judge in Anoka County until his retirement in 1979. His greatest interests included family law and the state of the family in contemporary society. The Anoka County Bar Association funded one-half of this professorship in honor of and appreciation for Judge Wargo’s many years of legal service. Contribution to this fund since inception total $250,200, and $250,000 has been added through the Permanent University Fund Match.

Professorship Holder:

Judith Younger continues as the Joseph E. Wargo-Anoka County Bar Association Professor of Family Law. She teaches and is recognized for her work in the areas of wills and trusts, property, and family law.

Financial Summary:

Market value as of 03-31-05: $1,096,643
Actual payout for previous 12 months: $48,046