Aanes takes life lessons to the bench: Newest judge joins 9th District
Organized, practical and serving the people are words used to describe newly elected judge Patricia A. Aanes. Aanes, who practiced law in Brainerd for nearly 20 years and focused on family law litigation and mediation--was sworn in Friday, Feb. 8...
Organized, practical and serving the people are words used to describe newly elected judge Patricia A. Aanes.
Aanes, who practiced law in Brainerd for nearly 20 years and focused on family law litigation and mediation-was sworn in Friday, Feb. 8, by retired Judge Richard Zimmerman in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd. Former Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Aanes to fill the position for a retiring Judge David Ten Eyck. That judgeship will be chambered in Brainerd in Crow Wing County.
Family, friends and colleagues filled the gallery of Courtroom 1 to honor and support Aanes as she took her judicial oath. Judges in the 9th District also attended, including Judge Erik Askegaard, Judge Jana Austad, Judge David Hermerding, Judge Christopher Strandlie, Judge Chuck Halverson and retiring Judge Earl Maus. Ninth District Judge Kristine DeMay led the swearing-in event and said it was an honor to be asked to speak about Aanes.
"I've known Patti for several years," DeMay said. "A lot of the information she shared with me was information I didn't know. And when I read through that ... I understand why the governor chose her this position. I think Patti's background has shaped her into the type of person who will serve the community well as a judge."
Minnesota's 9th Judicial District covers 25,000 square miles in the 17 counties of Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau.
DeMay said Aanes grew up on a hobby farm established by her great-grandparents when they immigrated to Duluth. Aanes' childhood taught her many valuable lessons and instilled in her a "very strong work ethic."
Aanes sums up her upbringing as, "Life happens," DeMay said. "Much of it is out of our control, but we meet our responsibilities and we face our challenges, both day and night. These lessons have carried over and served her well over her law career and will serve her well as a judge.
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“ If she is as good at judging other people as she is her kids, she will be a fantastic judge.” - Jacob Aanes, son
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"Through all her experiences she brings a lot of talent to the bench. The one thing in the center of her law practice and her community involvement is serving the people. The thing Patti said to me that really stuck is that she tries to be practical in her approach but always to be mindful of the matters people take to their lawyers as they are often the most important things in their lives at the time."
Zimmerman said he met Aanes when she was the new attorney in town.
"She was always well prepared," Zimmerman said. "I was impressed with her and as the years went by I was even more impressed with her.
"She has the respect of the legal community, she's smart and she cares about her clients. It wasn't just about winning, it was about what made sense for her clients in the long run. ... I'm happy for her and happy for the community, I know she will be successful."
Zimmerman administered the oath, as Aanes stood before him with her husband Paul Aanes their two sons, Jacob and Nathan, at her side. When the oath was completed, Aanes received her robe and thanked her parents, Jerry and Maggie Alander and her family, friends and colleagues who came to support her during the ceremony.
"I want to thank my husband and my children-they really don't want me to talk about them today or have me overrule their objections," Aanes said.
After the ceremony, her oldest son Jacob said it's exciting to see his mom go through her career from being a lawyer to now being a judge. He said his mom definitely uses her judgment skills on him and his younger brother.
"If she is as good at judging other people as she is her kids, she will be a fantastic judge," he said.
"Growing up, we always noticed Patti was so organized in everything she did," Aanes' father Jerry Alander said. "She had to work at everything. It didn't surprise us at all that she went to law school and would become a good lawyer. It didn't surprise us that she wanted to become a judge. We think she will do a great job for the citizens of the state of Minnesota. I always thought one day she will be on supreme court and that's what we're hoping for."
Aanes earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris, and her Juris Doctor law degree from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Aanes most currently was a solo practitioner at Patricia A. Aanes Attorney at Law. Previously, she was a partner at Erickson & Aanes Law Offices, a partner at Erickson, Pearson & Aanes Law Offices, an associate at Erickson & Pearson Law Offices, and a law clerk for judges Michael Seibel and Donald E. Rysavy, 3rd Judicial District court judges.
Aanes' former law office partner John Erickson after the ceremony said, "We now have a judge, and we've had many good judges, but this judge is one who will be very level-headed, insightful and be in control of her courtroom. She will be a pride and joy to the community."
"It was a pleasure to be here this afternoon for her swearing in," Hermerding said. "I am looking forward to having her as a colleague on the bench. She is going to make a great judge. "She will be with me Monday over in Aitkin County shadowing me for the day."
Hermerding said he has known Aanes for a long time. He said his daughters used to baby-sit her boys.
Hermerding said Aanes' organizational skills and her willingness to listen to people are two of her biggest qualities that will serve her well as a judge.
"So much of being a judge is listening to what people say and then following through," Hermerding said.
Outside the courtroom, Aanes serves as the board chair of Crow Wing County Victim Services and Brainerd Lakes YMCA and is vice chair of the Brainerd Public Schools Foundation. Aanes is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and participates in youth ministry.
Aanes and her family live in Baxter with their dog, T-Rex.