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Rita Coyle DeMeules
Rita Coyle DeMeules

2021 Attorneys of the Year: Rita Coyle DeMeules

After a decade as Minnesota Supreme Court commissioner, Rita Coyle DeMeules is embracing retirement.

Over the years, DeMeules played a key role in managing and innovating the work of the court. Those efforts included using technology to ensure the effective administration of justice and support openness and accessibility of its public proceedings.

The Supreme Court commissioner serves as chief counsel to the Minnesota Supreme Court and provides legal research, advice, and memoranda recommending dispositions in a wide variety of civil and criminal legal cases that come before the court and supervises a staff of senior attorneys.

“It’s never been dull here on the fourth floor,” says DeMeules. “Working with the judges, the court staff, and everyone else has helped me fulfill an important constitutional role.”

During her tenure with the court, DeMeules put an emphasis on inclusive leadership and commitment to fairness, impartiality and equal treatment, leading to increased public confidence in the appellate process.

Before going to work for the Supreme Court, succeeding Richard Slowes, DeMeules served as an assistant attorney general from 2006 to 2011. There she represented the state of Minnesota and Minnesota agencies before state and federal trial and appellate courts.

She also provided legal research, analysis and advice to state agencies on litigation and agency policies, and served as principal attorney responsible for several trials, motions, pretrial activities and arguments.

For the prior 15 years or so, she was a partner and associate at the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in Minneapolis, and also served as an adjunct professor at William Mitchell School of Law.

Taking DeMeules’ place will be Timothy J. Droske, who has co-chaired the appellate practice group at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis since 2016.

As for DeMeules?

“I’ll be doing nothing specific!” she says. “Probably traveling around Minnesota.”

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2021 here.

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