Gov. Walz Names Alumna a Judge

A new judicial seat was created for the Seventh Judicial District, opening up a vacancy in Clay County.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz appointed Jade (Collins) Rosenfeldt ’05 to a District Court judgeship.

The Minnesota Legislature created a new judicial seat in the Seventh Judicial District and it was placed in Becker/Otter Tail counties. Judge Michael Fritz, currently chambered in Clay County, will be transferring to the new position creating the vacancy in Clay County to be filled by Rosenfeldt.

“I am incredibly humbled and excited for this opportunity,” Rosenfeldt said. “One of my core values is service to my community. And, I have great pride for Clay County – the place I was born and raised.” 

There are three levels of courts in Minnesota: District Courts, the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court. The district courts’ primary role is to hear cases in a variety of areas including criminal, civil, probate, juvenile, family and treatment courts. As a private attorney, Rosenfeldt has extensive experience in a wide variety of cases such as these.

After graduating from the University of North Dakota Law School, Rosenfeldt spent the last 11 years in state and federal courtrooms across Northwest Minnesota and North Dakota, successfully advocating on behalf of clients in all types of court proceedings. While her law practice was focused primarily on family and criminal law cases, she has represented clients in nearly all types of cases including real estate and planning and zoning matters, business litigation, expungement proceedings, implied consent cases, orders for protection and harassment restraining order cases, guardianship and conservatorship matters, Title IX hearings, and even a presidential pardon matter.

“I chose to stay in Clay County, to set up a practice, and to not only serve my community through the practice of law but also to volunteer with organizations and causes also dedicated to improving our community,” she said. “Being a judge for my community will allow me to serve my community in one of the most impactful ways and I am honored with this incredible responsibility.”

But how does a private attorney get named a judge? In Minnesota, only licensed attorneys may become district court or appellate court judges either by election or appointment by the governor. When a seat is open, attorneys submit an application, along with other materials to the Commission on Judicial Selection, a committee comprised of attorneys and non-attorneys. The commission reviews the applications, decides which applicants to interview and, after interviewing them, submits three to five finalists to the governor.

Rosenfeldt credits her time at Concordia for nudging her into the practice of law. Social work and sociology helped her to critically think about difficult topics, exposed her to a multitude of experiences throughout the community and paved the way for her to start analyzing processes and procedures for change. 

“My experience at Concordia played a pivotal role in my journey,” Rosenfeldt said. “I was incredibly blessed with phenomenal professors at Concordia who were especially engaged in my education and prompted me to continue my education with law school. I think back and can now realize that Concordia really shaped the way in which I began to see the world and promoted the notion that I could make a difference no matter the career path.”