In Minnesota, there are currently 293 district court judges who preside over matters in ten judicial districts. While the Minnesota Rules of Court provide attorneys with significant information applicable to court proceedings, each judge may have his or her individual preferences with respect to motion practice and courtroom conduct.

In an effort to assist attorneys who may be appearing before a judge for the first time, the MSBA Civil Litigation Section Governing Council provided all district court judges with a brief questionnaire. The responses that we received are organized here by judicial district and the judge’s name. We hope you find these responses to be helpful in your preparation for district court appearances.

For information about this project or to report an error in any judicial directory listing, contact Kara Haro, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.

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Third Judicial District Judges

Schwab, Steven

District Court Judge

Counties: Freeborn

State Court Bio: View Bio

Contact with chambers:

  • Set forth your preferred method to contact chambers (telephone, email, etc.). Telephone
  • To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions? Court administration
  • To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions? Law clerk

Motion practice:

  • Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. All hearings are set through court administration
  • Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. Stipulated matters
  • Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? No
  • How much time do you allot for motion hearings? Depends on the hearing - generally 30 minutes
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. May attend by phone if permission is granted and there is no testimony.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. All such issues need to come before the court at a short hearing
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. No hearing is necessary is all parties have signed the stipulation and a proposed order is provided.
  • Do you have particular requirements or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? Requests can be submitted to the law clerk
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. Party seeking the default needs to appear and is prepared to provide any required testimony
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions. Filed with court administration.


    Written submissions:

  • Do you want to receive paper courtesy copies of the parties' written submissions? If you do, set forth the number and preferred format of courtesy copies and identify any document type you do not want to receive. Courtesy copies are not necessary
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for requests to deviate from the requirements of the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts. Rarely, if ever, deviate from the rules and procedures.


    In-court proceedings:

  • Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. All courtrooms are equiped with computers/use TaskManager and MNCIS
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney's use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. attorneys are free to use computers and available technology in the courtroom
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submissions of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral argument. Written submissions may be submitted after the hearing if the court permits that and sets a time limit.
  • Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? Attorneys may bifurcate the issues if it would expedite the process


    Pretrial procedures:

  • Describe your preferred procedures for pretrial settlement conferences, including the timing of such conferences, persons who must attend, whether persons may attend by telephone or video conference, and how you participate in settlement discussions. Settlement conferences are generally done in the courtroom. Parties may be excused. Attorneys must appear.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. Always require a hearing
  • What is your schedule for a typical trial day? Start at 8:30 am. / one hour lunch/ go until 4:30 or later if necessary
  • Set forth your voir dire procedures. Depends on the case. generally follow the rules set forth in civil procedure.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to courtroom decorum, including movement in the courtroom, use of a podium, whether attorneys should sit or stand, and how to address witnesses. Attorneys need not stand to address the court. Movement in the courtroom is permitted as long as the court reporter can get a clear and concise record.
  • Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? Not generally.
  • Identify your practices with respect to the use of technology in the courtroom during trial. May use any available technology.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Would prefer to have the exhibits marked in advance. Also prefer exhibits that are stipulated to by the parties.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures for handling objections. Objections and any supporting argument should be made by each side. Prefer to avoid bench conferences unless absolutely necessary.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. Would prefer that the parties have reviewed the testimony in advance and bring to the court any objections prior to the playing of the deposition.
  • May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? Have not dealt with this issue.
  • Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. Attorneys are free to contact jurors once a verdict is rendered.

 Other matters:

  • Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful.           Always require basic respect between counsel, parties and witnesses. Decorum is important.