Lois Conroy (’97) Joins Hennepin County District Court Bench
MARCH 21, 2013—Last fall Lois Conroy (’97) was elected and recently she was sworn in as a judge on Minnesota's Fourth Judicial District Court. The former prosecutor handled more than 1,000 cases for Minneapolis and Hennepin County in a variety of areas before joining the bench.
A Canby, Minn., native and the first person in her family to go to college, Conroy completed her B.A. at the University of Minnesota-Morris, spending one undergraduate year at Georgetown University as an Engelcliff Scholar and working in U.S. Senate. During law school, she externed for U.S. District Court Judge (ret.) James M. Rosenbaum (’69), interned with the Minnesota Justice Foundation, and clerked in the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office Criminal and Civil Divisions before graduating, cum laude, in 1997.
After a short practice as a civil attorney in corporate and employment law during a City of Minneapolis hiring freeze, Conroy became an Assistant City Attorney in 1998. In 2005 she was promoted to senior status, one of the youngest to receive the posting, and served through 2012. Twice during her career she was cross-deputized as an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney and worked with then Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar and current Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman (’74) on numerous drug, domestic assault, and criminal sexual conduct cases.
Some of Conroy's favorite and most important work with the Minneapolis City Attorney's Office involved community-based crime prevention. She was instrumental in initiating the Downtown Court Watch, a crime-watch program involving businesses and residents, and the extension program, the Downtown 100 Initiative, which monitors frequent offenders and helps address criminal activity with housing and treatment intervention. In 2011, in its second year, Downtown 100 was recognized as one of the country's top ten criminal justice programs, and in 2012 it received a Downtown Achievement Award from the International Downtown Association. A MinnPost article credited Conroy for much of the program's success, citing her "bulldog approach and a deep commitment to improving the city's street life."
Conroy has received the Minneapolis Police Chief's Award of Merit and awards for her prosecution work from the International Chiefs of Police and the Association of Prosecution Attorneys. She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Hennepin County Bar Association, Minnesota Women Lawyers, and the Downtown Improvement District SafeZone Advisory Committee and is a former adjunct professor at the Law School.