New judge is ‘someone we can count on’
Amidst all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding Minnesota’s judicial system, last Friday’s investiture of Carlton County’s newest judge was no exception. As Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake asked the standing-room-only crowd at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College to rise, she introduced the judges of the Sixth Judicial District as they filed in wearing their black robes.
The guest of honor at the ceremony was Leslie E. Beiers, recently appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to take the place of long-time Carlton County Judge Dale Wolf, who retired earlier this spring.
St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin called the day “a grand, historic event” as he welcomed friends, family, law enforcement officials and members of the area judicial system.
“What I told Governor Dayton regarding Leslie Beiers was that she has proven time and time again that she is someone we can count on,” said Rubin. “She stands out among her peers for her grasp of the law, her tempered passion and the way all are treated by her with respect.”
Beiers’ life-long friend Dr. Janie Goodall reiterated Rubin’s praise of Beiers, saying she was not only exemplary in her work ethic and commitment to justice, but in her willingness to commit time to other things as well, such as volunteering for the food bank, providing legal aid to those who cannot afford it, and working with disabled skiers.
Rebecca St. George, in-house counsel for the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, added that Beiers mentored her through her own process of becoming a lawyer.
“I’m really excited for Carlton County,” commented St. George of Beiers’ investiture as judge. “She’s going to make us proud.”
In introducing Wolf, Rubin said Wolf “inspired a lot of Leslie’s values,” referring to the time 25 years ago when Beiers worked with Wolf after starting out her career as an assistant Carlton County attorney before taking a job in St. Louis County.
“How great to continue such a passion for justice,” stated Rubin.
Wolf commented on what a great experience it was to work with Beiers all those years ago and now welcome her back as his replacement.
“It’s wonderful that my successor is also my friend,” said Wolf.
He went on to praise Beiers for her ability to apply the law in order to benefit the community as a whole, as well as for her “much-needed ability to listen.”
“You can rest assured that all stakeholders will be heard [under Judge Beiers], whether or not they are represented by counsel,” said Wolf. “I know she will be a neutral magistrate and do what the law requires, even if it’s not popular.”
Carlton County Judge Robert Macaulay, who will be Beiers’ colleague, said he remembers Beiers as being “universally respected” by everyone during her earlier years with Carlton County, including the people she represented and prosecuted, as well as the officers of the court, probation and police officers.
“I am looking forward to working with you and learning from you,” Macaulay told Beiers. “I am one of the luckiest guys in the world, first working with Judge Wolf and now spending the rest of my career working with you.”
Macaulay proceeded to issue the oath of office to Beiers, who then donned her official robes with the assistance of her spouse, Linda Krug, and then turned to address the audience as her first act as The Honorable Leslie E. Beiers.
She thanked her mom and dad for their support, admitting she was “a spirited child” and liked to argue, adding that her parents never tried to silence her.
“Instead, they told me, ‘You should be a lawyer!’” Beiers said. “They pushed me toward a career where I could use my voice.”
Beiers said she looks forward to returning to Carlton County, where she first learned to become a lawyer and was schooled by such well-known local attorneys such as Butch Newby, Keith Carlson and Rex Laaksonen.
She closed by relating a story of when she was walking down the street one day and saw a sign in a store window that said, “Work hard and be nice.”
“That really stuck with me,” Beiers said. “I could hear the voices of both my parents in it. My dad worked hard, often six to seven days a week, and my mom was the one who always said, ‘Be nice — you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar — be respectful, be prepared, be on time and listen.”
As she looked out over the audience, Beiers concluded by pledging, “I will bring my best to the bench every day.”