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Steven Rau

Recognition of outstanding service: Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau

In October 2019, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Steven Rau went back to his chambers to share stories and goodbyes. He was in great form that day and everybody had fun, said Chief Judge John Tunheim. It was quintessential Rau, and three weeks later friends and family held his funeral.

Rau died from gastric cancer that he had battled for years, keep­ing up a full caseload until six weeks prior to his death on Nov. 8. “He loved his job and did not want to stop working,” said his widow, Christine Meuers. He held hearings over the phone from a hospital bed and his clerk delivered opinions to him for his signature, said Meuers.

She said he told her, “I’m going to suck the marrow of the bone of life.”

Rau took the bench in 2011 where he quickly became known for doggedly pursuing settlements. He would always go the extra mile and take on the toughest cases, Tunheim said. In one very public piece of litigation he held 13 settlement conferences, Tunheim recalled.

He was a stalwart contributor to the Federal Bar Association, Tunheim said. Before becoming a judge, he played a lead role in the creation of the Federal Transportation Program for children whose mothers were incarcerated in federal prisons out of state. He was also instrumental in establishing the Pro Se Project, a partnership between the FBA and the courts, to provide counsel to unrepresented litigants.

“We already miss him,” said Tunheim. “We were happy to have him for as long as we did.”

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.

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