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Hon. Steven E. Rau Memorial Lecture – COVID’s Effect on the Courts
Start Date: 5/3/2022Start Time: 5:00 PM
End Date: 5/3/2022End Time: 7:00 PM
Event Description:

Hon. Steven E. Rau Memorial Lecture – COVID’s Effect on the Courts

May 3, 2022

Mitchell Hamline School of Law- In Person and Webcast
Lecture-Zoom (


This panel will explore the impact of COVID on client experience and professionalism in the courtroom. The panelists are:

Peter Knapp, professor of law and former director of the Mitchell Hamline Clinics

Judge Becky Thorson ’95, Magistrate Judge, District of Minnesota

Danielle Shelton Walczak ’98, Executive Director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid

Moderated by Tom Weber

Presenter Biographies

Peter B. Knapp is a Professor of Law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where he has taught since 1989, and served as Interim Dean and President during the 2019-2020 academic year.  He teaches Evidence, Torts, Civil Advocacy Clinic, and Advocacy, the College’s required courses in basic trial and appellate skills.  He and Prof. Michael Steenson serve as the co-reporters for the Minnesota Civil Jury Instruction Guide.  Before joining the faculty at Mitchell Hamline, Prof. Knapp practiced law with Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly.   

Danielle Shelton Walczak is the Executive Director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. Prior to that she worked for the City of Minneapolis first as the Director of the Complaint Investigations Division for the Civil Rights Department. There she led a staff of attorneys who investigated discrimination claims in the areas of employment, housing, business, lending and public accommodations. She also contributed to the writing and passage of the City’s Section 8 ordinance and comprehensive update of the city’s Civil Rights ordinance. Danielle then went on to become the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the City Coordinator’s Office. There she oversaw the divisions of: Arts Culture and Creative Economy, Sustainability, the Northside Promise Zone, Human Trafficking and Race and Equity. Her primary function was to make sure the divisions’ work remained core initiatives of the City; and the divisions’ strategic goals aligned with that of the larger enterprise goals. While the Director of Strategic Initiatives she contributed to the drafting and passage of multiple housing ordinances and the creation of the Arts and Cultural Affairs Department. Danielle lives in Minneapolis with her husband and her Westie, Finni.

United States Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson was appointed to the bench in 2014. Prior to her appointment, she was a partner at Robins Kaplan Miller and Ciresi, and before that at Greene Espel. Judge Thorson graduated summa cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law—now Mitchell Hamline—and has been an adjunct professor at the law school at various times since 1997. She currently serves on the Board of Mitchell Hamline School of Law and its IP Advisory Committee. Judge Thorson has been active in the Federal Bar Association, serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Federal Lawyer from 2012 to 2015 and as Chapter president in 2005-2006. She currently co-chairs the Chapter’s Mass Tort and Class Action Committee. She was appointed to the Federal Practice Committee, District of Minnesota, in 2008, and was appointed Chair in 2014. She is engaged in legal education as a presenter or teacher locally and abroad, most recently assisting judges in Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.

Tom Weber is assistant director of marketing at Mitchell Hamline. He’s a longtime journalist, most recently with Minnesota Public Radio news and author of “Minneapolis: An Urban Biography.”

This CLE is complimentary to alumni. If you register to view online a Zoom link will be provided in the confirmation email when you register.

If you register to attend in person, please note that all in attendance must wear a mask and show proof of vaccination. There will be a reception after the event.

Click the link below to register. You will be asked to enter a law school and a grad year. If this does not apply to you, please put ‘other’ for the school and XX for the grad year.



Location Information:
Mitchell Hamline School of Law - *Main Campus
875 Summit Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
Phone: 651-227-9171
Room: Auditorium (245)
Contact Information:
Name: Allison Burke

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