Senior Assistant Hennepin County attorney Jon Schmidt spent a lot of time arguing before Minnesota’s appellate courts in 2019. As the head of the county’s appellate unit in the special litigation division, Schmidt argued seven times at the Minnesota Supreme Court and eight times at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
The cases involved weighty issues, including cell phone location data, body cavity searches, and an appeal from a conviction of a defendant who shot five African American men at a Black Lives Matter protest, Schmidt said.
Before joining Hennepin County, Schmidt worked at Briggs and Morgan for 12 years, where he helped create a pro bono program with the state’s appellate public defenders’ office. When he left private practice, “the hardest call I had to make was to the folks at the PD’s office because I have the greatest respect for all of them and the work that they do,” he said.
He joined the county attorney’s office because he wanted to give a voice to the victims of crime on appeal. “I love the appellate work,” Schmidt said. “I love the storytelling aspect, digging into the law and figuring out what the law should be. It’s a fascinating job.”
Schmidt is honored to receive this award but feels awkward about the recognition. “I don’t feel that my work is any more important than the work that all of the excellent attorneys at Hennepin do every day,” he said.
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.
Gain access to all of our great content with a month-to-month subscription. Start your subscription here.