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Jennifer Cross
Jennifer Cross

2020 Up & Coming Attorneys: Jennifer Cross

In her childhood, Jennifer Cross dreamed of an unlikely career as a doctor, dentist and attorney. The experience of shadowing a pediatrician for a day extinguished the idea of being in health care.

“I always gravitated toward government in classes, and that’s where my focus has been,” Cross said. The University of Minnesota Law School graduate joined the city of Bloomington’s legal team as an assistant city attorney in 2012.

The five-attorney criminal division prosecutes around 5,000 new cases a year. While Hennepin County prosecutes felonies and a handful of other crimes, Bloomington and other cities handle gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor cases, she said. That would range from domestic abuse to drunken driving to running stoplights.

The Department of Public Safety named Cross to the 2017 DWI Enforcer All-Star Team. Her office praised her leadership in transitioning to a paperless system over the last year as arraignments and pretrial hearings moved to the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis from an Edina courthouse that shuttered in 2019. The change prepared the office just in time for working remotely during the pandemic.

What do you find the most rewarding or love best about working in the legal profession?

As a prosecutor specifically, my client is justice. I get to treat people as individuals and figure out how did we get this situation and what is the best result. It may not be the harshest result. Maybe it is trying to figure out this person’s circumstances led to this and how do we change that.

What’s the best piece of advice that you ever received?

Your reputation is everything. It’s something you work on crafting every day.  You start with the intention of being the best you are.

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