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LaJune Thomas Lange
LaJune Thomas Lange

2019 Diversity & Inclusion: Judge LaJune Thomas Lange

LaJune Thomas Lange is a pioneer in the field of diversity when it comes to the Minnesota bar and bench.

For starters, she served on the 4th Judicial District Courtin Minneapolis. Although officially retired, she also serves as an adjunct professor of law, teaching international human rights and civil rights.

She has been on the forefront of those issues to see a number of important changes — one of which she cites is the 1992 election of retired Justice Alan Page to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

“There have been significant changes in diversity impacting policy and impacting the Supreme Court,” she said. “That is just one example.”

Still, Lange said, there’s a lot of work to do before Minnesota’s bar and bench are truly inclusive.

“There are some things we have to keep working on,” she said. “Senior partners in major law firms, retention levels of attorneys of color so they can stay long enough to make partner. Those are all works in progress.”

Lange is a longtime member and adviser of the International Leadership Institute, which works to provide local communities of color, as well as immigrant families, with tools that help them access community housing and health care, as well as education on relevant laws and regulations.

Beyond that, she is focused on the importance of strengthening the various diverse bar associations so they can become a greater resource to the more general bar associations.

“I’m encouraged by what they see overall from those associations,” she said. “They’re aware of the needs. But it really depends on how they visualize the transformation they want for their community or for their sector.”

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