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Breaking the Ice: Judgeship continues attorney’s public service

 Name: Annie Clasesson-Huseby

Title: Judge, 9th Judicial District

Education: B.S., public administration, M.P.A., public administration, J.D., University of North Dakota.

For 9th Judicial District Court Judge Annie Classeson-Huseby, serving on the bench is the next step in a legal career dedicated to public service.

Before her October appointment to a newly created judgeship, Huseby worked for a decade in the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office as an assistant, chief assistant and county attorney. Her first job was as a staff attorney with Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota.

“This is a way to pay it forward and continue working for the community,” Huseby said.

Huseby’s chambers are in Bemidji but she travels throughout the 17-county district in north-central and northwestern Minnesota.

Huseby shares a longtime interest in the law with Judge Michelle Anderson, her cousin and law school classmate who recently joined the 6th Judicial District bench. They lived together through law school, traveled to Norway to study international law and had similar practices before their appointments.

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. A simple hello will do. I’m an approachable and open person; I’m happy to chat with anyone.

Q. What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A. From a young age the legal profession interested me. I was a participant in the high school mock trial program in Virginia, Minnesota. We had really active lawyer coaches. … That helped because there was this interest at a young age and then that flame was further fanned by people who were willing to be mentors — Mark Muhich, Patrick Roache, he’s deceased now, and James Cope.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. I have the “Twilight” series now on my bedside table. My daughter, who is 12, is now reading it for the first time. I’m rereading it so we can talk about what’s going on in the book. My son and I just completed the “Harry Potter” series.

Q. What are your most favorite and least favorite aspects of being an attorney or judge?

A. The thing I like most is the opportunity to make a difference not only as a lawyer but also as a judge. … In terms of what I like least, maybe reading legal descriptions for property.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. We have two busy kids, so we spend most of our free time watching them participate in activities, whether that’s band, basketball, volleyball, golf or baseball.

Q. If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?

A. My hometown is Bemidji, so the first thing would be to go to the lakefront to have our picture taken in front of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Downtown Bemidji and the lakefront have a lot of great statues, including Chief Bemidji, which is near the statues of Paul and Babe.

Q. Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most—and why?

A. I have the great privilege of working with three great judges here in Beltrami. But I have worked and appeared before [Chief] Judge [Paul] Benshoof and Judge [Shari] Schluchter many times, and I admire them a great deal and have learned so much from them.

Q. Where do you like to eat lunch?

A. My favorite place for lunch Raphael’s Bakery in downtown Bemidji. I love their cream of wild rice soup.

Q. What is the highlight/lowlight of your daily commute to work?

A. Commuting to my chambers, the best part is driving by Lake Bemidji and the Mississippi River. … It’s a gift to drive by such beautiful places every single day.

Q. What is your favorite depiction of the legal profession in popular culture?

A. My all-time favorite legal movie is “My Cousin Vinny.” It’s hysterical, but more than that it really does show a large number of legal and ethical issues that attorneys and judges might run into, and it has some of the best cross-examination examples that you can find.

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