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Ellen Louise Maas

Ellen Louise Maas Retired Judge, Washington County (Minn.) District Court

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General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Governmental & Public Agency
Personal Injury
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Ellen Louise Maas, Retired Judge, Washington County (Minn.) District Court, joins JAMS in the Twin Cities following a distinguished 28-year judicial career. Appointed to the bench in 1995 and subsequently elected five times, Judge Maas is known for her legal acumen, as well as for her patience and the respect she accords litigants who come before her.

Nationally recognized for her handling of a six-week jury trial (Frazier v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., 811 N.W.2d 618) arising from a 2003 multiple-fatality car-train crash in Anoka, Minnesota, Judge Maas knows what it takes to handle high-stakes litigation, how to help parties assess their positions and how to resolve issues fairly under pressure.

During her time on the bench, Judge Maas made significant contributions to the administration of justice in Minnesota, including a 13-year tenure on the Board of Judicial Standards. While in Anoka County, she played an important role in the design and adoption of the “one judge/one family” docketing plan in family court. This innovation paved the way for similar improvements in the assignment of complex civil matters. 

Judge Maas has performed over 2,000 weddings for Minnesotans, counting this judicial duty as her special favorite.

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Minnesota District Judges Association, 1995–2024
  • Minnesota Bar Association, 1982–2024
  • Washington County Bar Association, 2009–2024
  • Anoka County Bar Association, 1995–2009

Selected Awards and Honors

  • President’s Award, Minnesota District Judges Association, 2022
  • Trial Judge of the Year, Minnesota Chapter, American Board of Trial Advocates, 2011

Selected Committee and Leadership Positions

  • Member, Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards, 2009–2022
  • Member, Minnesota Supreme Court Educational Advisory Council, 1998–2003
  • Member, Commitment Appeal Panel (f/k/a Supreme Court Appeal Panel), 2002–2008
  • Member, Minnesota Uniform Local Rules Task Force, 1990–2004
  • Member, Minnesota Civil Jury Instructions Guidelines Committee, 1996–2024

Civic Involvements

  • Concert Bassoonist
    • Principal Bassoonist, Board Member and Past President; Kenwood Symphony Orchestra; 1986–2024
    • Principal Bassoonist, Northern Symphony Orchestra, 2006–2024
    • Bassoonist, Mississippi Valley Orchestra, 2007–2024
    • Bassoonist, Guest Musician, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, 2000–2024
    • Bassoonist, Artrio Bassoon Trio, 2020–2024
  • Photojournalist and Author, Loon Chronicles, White Bear Press Publications, 2016–2024
  • Nationally Recognized Wildlife Photographer
    • Garden Club of America, Blue Ribbon Winner
    • Minnesota State Fair Fine Art Exhibit
    • Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge
    • Northern Lights Juried Art Exhibition
  • Member, Saint Paul Garden Club
  • Avid Distance Runner (more than 20 marathons)

Background and Education

  • District Court Judge, Tenth Judicial District, 1995–2023
    • Chambered in Anoka County, 1995–2008; Washington County, 2009–2023
    • Elected, 1996; reelected, 2002, 2008, 2014, 2020
    • Appointed by Gov. Arne Carlson, 1995
  • Attorney/Shareholder, Popham Haik, 1988–1995
  • Attorney, Arthur Chapman, 1983–1988
  • Law Clerk for Justice Glenn E. Kelley, Minnesota Supreme Court, 1981–1982
  • Assistant Director; Easter Seals Sheltered Workshop for Handicapped Adults; Des Moines, Iowa; 1977–1978
  • J.D., With Distinction, University of Iowa College of Law, 1981
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Public Administration, Drake University, 1978


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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