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Attorneys of the Year: Susan Segal

Minneapolis City Attorney

Armed with 25 years of experience as an employment lawyer and deputy Hennepin County attorney, Susan Segal was appointed Minneapolis City Attorney in 2008. She leads an office of 100 employees — including 65 attorneys — which prosecutes all adult misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes in Minneapolis and performs all of the city’s legal work.

Segal litigates on behalf of the city to minimize payouts by settling cases that need to be settled while taking others to trial.

“We settled fewer than 50 percent of our cases over the last five years,” Segal says. “The majority we resolved in court either through summary judgment or trial. Of those, our win rate is something like 95%, with almost 300 lawsuits resolved since January 2009.”

Segal has devoted a large amount of time to eradicating juvenile sex trafficking. She championed the Minnesota “Safe Harbor” law, which ensures that minors sold for sex aren’t prosecuted, but instead treated as victims. Segal received the Myra Bradwell Award from Minnesota Women Lawyers in 2013 for her efforts with the Safe Harbor legislation. Now U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is taking the law national by introducing new federal legislation.

Segal represented the city in the Vikings stadium deal and in negotiations with the Timberwolves for the renovation of Target Center. “I’ve had my hands full with professional sports venues,” she says. “We’re also dealing with the Minnesota Orchestra situation. It’s just been a great, challenging job.”

She’s proud of the city’s work in domestic violence; the city increased the conviction rate in domestic violence cases from 50 percent to more than 70 percent. She’s been a key catalyst in making Minneapolis safer and helped launch the Downtown 100 Initiative, an innovative crime-reduction effort that monitors the city’s top offenders.

“We can do really interesting, good, progressive policy work on the criminal side,” she says. “And on the civil side, the city has really complex, challenging legal work. It’s the most fascinating mix you can imagine.”

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