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Dana Bartocci is education and organization development manager for Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District. (Submitted photo)
Dana Bartocci is education and organization development manager for Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Passion for education drives career path

Name: Dana Bartocci

Title: Education and organization development manager, 4th Judicial District

Education: B.A., political science and cultural studies, University of Minnesota; M.S., educational administration and policy, University of Wisconsin; J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School

Dana Bartocci, education and organization development manager for the 4th Judicial District, works to support the court’s mission of providing justice.

A senior management team member, Bartocci focuses on judicial and internal staff education, diversity and equity, organizational development, and change management.

The 4th District, which serves Hennepin County and has 560 employees and 63 judges, is the only district with such a role, Bartocci said. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” she said.

Bartocci liked the people and topics in the education classes she took during law school, and she pursued that path professionally.

She previously was a career counselor at William Mitchell College of Law, training and development director at Maslon, and employer relations and alumni career adviser for the University of Minnesota Law School.

“I get more people asking me for career advice or how to move in their career than I ever did people asking me for legal advice,” Bartocci said.

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

A. I’m a professional trainer, so if you look at me I’ll start talking to you. I’m a big extrovert and will chat with anybody and listen to anybody’s story.

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

A. There was a program in high school, which I now have almost 20 years volunteering for as an attorney, called Youth in Government, through the YMCA. I went to Youth in Government in high school and thought it was the best experience ever. I thought I wanted to go into politics and thought you had to be lawyer to get there. That’s what started me on that path. Then when I got to law school I realized there are so many other paths you can take.

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

A. On my bedside table is “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell. When I come home I sometimes don’t want to read Malcolm Gladwell or things like that. So also on my e-reader is the “Jack Reacher” series by Lee Child.

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. Everybody brings something different to the table. Sometimes it’s a J.D. Sometimes it’s years of experience. I’m a little annoyed when some people’s opinions aren’t taken as seriously in general in the legal community if they don’t have a law degree.

Q. What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?

A. When I go to work every day, no matter what task I am doing I know that the mission is to provide justice.

Q. Least favorite?

A. I am not proud of the racial inequities that are baked into all systems of government including the legal system. It is now time to unravel hundreds of years of inequities so I can be proud of all aspects of the legal system.

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

A. Family. I have three kids, a husband and a dog. I make it a priority to stay in touch with family and friends.

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

A. I’m from Wausau, Wisconsin. My parents live on the river, so swimming in the Wisconsin River if it was summer and if not ice skating on it.

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

A. [Fourth Judicial District] Judge Pam Alexander. She just retired. She paved the way for many women and women of color in the justice system and is still working to fight inequities in the system.

Q. What if any is your favorite depiction of the law, the legal professional in popular culture?

A. I recently listened to the “Serial” season three podcast. It’s about the Cleveland court system. They allowed recordings everywhere. It’s different from the 4th Judicial District but you don’t often get to pop the hood on what’s underneath justice. This shed some light good and bad for Cleveland. Sometimes I felt like I was at work but I enjoyed hearing that.

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