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Amber Donley
Amber Donley

Bar Buzz: Family law attorney Donley tapped as judge

Amber Donley, a private family law attorney from Waconia, was appointed Wednesday to the 1st Judicial District bench.

Gov. Tim Walz’s office announced the appointment on Wednesday evening.

“Amber Donley is active in her community, has proven leadership experience, and has wide-ranging legal experience that will make her successful in this role,” said Walz said in a press release.

Donley, who will chamber at Gaylord in Sibley County, will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of District Court Judge Timothy J. Looby.

“I want to thank Judge Looby for his years of service to our state and am honored to appoint Ms. Donley as his successor,” the governor said.

Donley currently works as an associate in the Waconia offices of Melchert Hubert Sjodin, P.L.L.P., where her practice concentrates on family matters, including child protection.

She also is a Rule 114-qualified neutral evaluator who covers adoption, child custody, child support, dissolution/divorce and general family issues, among other matters. She is qualified as a parenting time expeditor as well, according to her firm’s web site.

Earlier in her career, she handled municipal matters and prosecutions in several McLeod and Sibley county municipalities.

Donley is currently chair of the McLeod/Sibley Early Case Management and Initial Case Management Conference Steering Committee and is a volunteer attorney for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services.

She also is a member and past president of the 8th District Bar Association and has served as a mock trial attorney coach. She also is a member of the Waconia-West Carver Rotary Club.

Donley earned her bachelor’s degree from Concordia College in Moorhead and her juris doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law.

“Ms. Donley is both exceptionally qualified and deeply committed to serving her community,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “We’re honored to appoint her to the First Judicial District.”

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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