Susan Richard Nelson

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Susan Richard Nelson
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
Assumed office
December 21, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byJames M. Rosenbaum
Personal details
Born (1952-03-22) March 22, 1952 (age 68)
Buffalo, New York
EducationOberlin College (B.A.)
University of Pittsburgh School of Law (J.D.)

Susan Richard Nelson (born March 22, 1952) is an American lawyer and United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.[1] She was previously a United States Magistrate Judge with the same court.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Nelson was born in Buffalo, New York and graduated from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors in 1974 and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Nelson's first job was a camp counselor and waterfront director at Camp Interlocken in Windsor, New Hampshire during the summers of 1973 and 1974.[2] Later in 1974, Nelson became a bank teller at the First Federal Savings & Loan in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Between January and June 1975 she worked was a waitress at Stouffers Restaurant and later at the Pittsburgh YMCA as a camp counselor for the summer.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Nelson's first professional employment was an unpaid internship with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and then as a summer associate with the law firm of Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay in Pittsburgh from 1977 through 1980.[2] From 1980 to 1983 she worked as an associate with the firm of Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn in New Haven, Connecticut. From 1984 to 2000 Nelson worked as an associate (promoted to partner in 1988) with the law firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a partner with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi her civil trial practice involved complex product liability and mass tort lawsuits in Minnesota and the United States, including the 1998 landmark tobacco trial. Nelson also worked in various positions with Minnesota Women Lawyers since 1996.[3]

Judicial service[edit]

Nelson was appointed as United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Minnesota, and took the oath of office on June 12, 2000. She filled a new position and became the sixth magistrate judge.[4][3]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Nelson was recommended to President Barack Obama for a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on November 3, 2009. On April 21, 2010, Obama nominated Nelson to the court, for the seat vacated by James M. Rosenbaum. Judge Nelson was confirmed by the Senate with unanimous consent on December 17, 2010. She received her commission on December 22, 2010.[3]


Nelson is married to attorney Tom Nelson. She has two sons, Robert and Michael.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The Honorable Susan Richard Nelson – United States District Court – District of Minnesota".
  2. ^ a b c "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees" (PDF). United States Senate. Retrieved June 18, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d "Nelson, Susan Richard – Federal Judicial Center".
  4. ^ "Susan Richard Nelson Appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge" (Press release). Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. 30 May 2000. Retrieved 18 June 2010.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
James M. Rosenbaum
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota