New to the Bench: Judge Anna Andow

Judge Anna Andow was appointed as a district court judge in the Fourth Judicial2109 - Andow District in February of 2021. She was previously served as a child support magistrate at the Family Law Justice Center in Minneapolis. Ms. Andow earned her B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, B.S. in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington, and J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.

Why did you want to become a judge in the Fourth Judicial District?

I have dedicated my whole career to serving the public and I strive to continue to do so in a different capacity. As the only full-time Spanish speaking family law attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, I honed my litigation skills while representing a very diverse population struggling not only to navigate the legal system, but also struggling to make ends meet. In my role as a child support magistrate, it was crucial that I listened to everyone’s circumstances, especially once the pandemic crippled our economy and devastated many families. It was certainly my intent to help families move forward and overcome any financial hardships the pandemic caused.

And now in my present role, I think about the impact that court decisions have on people’s lives. I keep that in mind when presiding over various matters. You simply cannot have a cookie cutter approach when presiding over different cases because no two lives are the same. Everyone has different needs, circumstances, and factors that impact their everyday lives. It is important to give people the opportunity to be heard and it is crucial that we do so in order to arrive at a fair outcome.

What was your career path before becoming a judge?

I was a child support magistrate at the Family Justice Center here in downtown Minneapolis from March of 2018 to March of 2021. I was then appointed to the district court bench. Prior to working as a child support magistrate, I was a full-time family law attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid for 11 years. I have learned so very much from each position that I have held. I use the skills I have honed throughout my career along with my personal experiences in an effort to arrive at a fair outcome for all. I consider myself incredibly grateful and very privileged to be a judge.

What has it been like being onboarded as a judge during the COVID-19 pandemic? Challenging and incredibly stressful, yet exhilarating! It is difficult to not have direct contact with the public or colleagues. Little details do matter. Greeting everyone and asking participants how they are doing, how their day is going, and whether they have any questions that the Court can answer is just a small way of bringing a bit of humanity into virtual hearings. Although the pandemic has certainly presented many challenges to holding court hearings, huge strides have been made in accessing the courts, resulting in an increased participation by the public in court hearings despite the pandemic. I certainly want to take this time to thank the public for their patience while the court irons out all tech issues.

Additionally, I want to profusely thank all court administrators, especially all court clerks, for orchestrating and navigating all court tech issues and making it possible for the public to access the courts even during such trying times. A big thank you to everyone for all your hard work. I couldn’t possibly do my job without your hard work and dedication to serving the public.

What do you think is the most pressing issue facing our judicial system today?

Addressing racial inequities that exist throughout our society, as well as the growing financial disparities. Equal access to jobs, quality education, affordable housing, and racial disparities in the judicial system are just some of the areas where such inequities are pervasive. It is important that we continue to address such issues in order to move forward as a society toward a future which includes equal opportunities for everyone. Not doing so simply undermines the integrity of the courts and jeopardizes our justice system.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I don’t have one specific favorite thing. I do, however, love spending time with friends and family, exercising/playing sports, enjoying outdoor activities, and traveling. I love trying different foods and restaurants as well as embarking on new adventures with friends and family.

What’s one book, one movie, and one musician/band you recommend?

I enjoy a wide array of books, movies, and music genres. However, the last two books I read were A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. The last movie I saw in a movie theater was Parasite.

If I am feeling nostalgic and I am thinking about my grandparents, I listen to anything by Pedro Infante, especially “Cien Años” or any other one of his songs, and anything by Los Panchos, but my favorite is “Sabor a Mí,” which was one of my grandmother’s favorite songs. Overall, I listen to all kinds of music. It just depends on what I’m doing and what I’m in the mood for.
Managing Editor
Elsa Cournoyer

Executive Editor

Joseph Satter