The Honorable Lawrence Cohen


Oral History Excerpts

[On his first case in his first job working for a St. Paul lawyer] “…he was becoming overburdened with the amount of law that he was doing. And I was a smart mentsch and I told him he needed me and he said, “Okay, we’ll give you a try!” And threw me a case, he actually took it around his desk and threw me a case in the air, and said, “You’ll meet the clients in the morning.” [It was] a divorce case. It was proving up a default divorce. And I didn’t know what the clients looked like until the morning. I met them, I goofed it up. Boy I did a lousy job. That was how I started my career in law.”

“[I’m here to] help other people. To be helpful to other people. And this is how I try to be a judge and a person. As a judge, I really tried to be considerate and to be helpful and not to be harsh. And I really feel like I’m Jewish when I’m doing that.

-The Honorable Lawrence Cohen

Born 1933 in St. Paul, Minnesota. Judge Cohen graduated from St. Paul Central High School in 1951, the University of Minnesota in 1955 and the University of Minnesota Law School in 1957. He was an attorney in private practice from 1957 to 1972 and served as a Ramsey County commissioner from 1970-1972. He also served one term as mayor of St. Paul from 1972-1976. He was appointed Ramsey County District Court judge by Governor Rudy Perpich in 1988 and reelected in 1990 and 1996. Judge Cohen retired in 2002.

Click here to hear his interview and read the transcript.