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Susan Trombley
Susan Trombley

2021 Unsung Legal Heroes: Susan Trombley

Susan Trombley, a self-described third-generation civil servant, says helping people is her core guiding principle.

That’s why, although easier jobs are available in her field, Trombley went straight from library school to working face-to-face — through a cell door or across a table — with inmates as a law librarian in the state’s Law Library Service to Prisoners (LSSP) program.

“If I can help people have faith in the justice system, that’s what I’d like to do,” said Trombley, whose father was a county social worker and grandfather the chief accountant for the city of St. Paul.

Trombley’s LSSP work has taken her primarily to Oak Park Heights, a level 5, maximum-security prison, and Lino Lakes, a level 2, minimum-security facility. She ventured behind bars while she and her husband have raised their six children, ages 8 to 19.

Further, Trombley recently completed her law degree, with honors, through Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s blended learning program. In her last year, she served as symposium editor for the Law Review, published an article in the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bench & Bar publication and organized continuing legal education programs.

Trombley said she earned the law degree not to practice but to help more people. Her turn to focus on her career had come, she said, after she had supported her husband’s.

To pursue professional growth, Trombley began working in late August as a law librarian at Fredrikson & Byron in Minneapolis.

In working with inmates, Trombley focused on providing legal information and reminding them that she was there to help.

“It is as simple as treating somebody else the way that you would like to be treated,” Trombley said. “I can’t always solve their problem. But they know somebody is listening and if there’s something I can do to help, I’m doing my best to do that.”

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