Minnesota Supreme Court Anne McKeig ’92 was elected to the American Law Institute, a private, independent, nonprofit organization that publishes materials that can be used throughout the legal system to improve the administration of justice .
The organization’s publications – known as restatements, model codes and principles – do not review the law, but have long been used as secondary sources to help lawyers and others in the legal system interpret laws and the previous ones.
McKeig was one of 60 new members elected this summer — and the only person elected from Minnesota. “I am honored to be part of such a distinguished group of minds and hope to be able to contribute something to the meaningful work of ALI,” she said in a statement to Mitchell Hamline.
“Judge McKeig’s expertise over her career has helped courts and the legal profession rethink and reform the way they deal with these issues to ensure the law protects children,” the president said and Dean of Mitchell Hamline, Anthony Niedwiecki, by appointing her to ALI. The institute is currently working on a restatement that covers children and the law. “I can’t think of a better voice to have on your board as you bring this project to fruition,” he added.
Justice McKeig was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016, the first Native American to join that bench and the first Native American woman ever appointed to a state Supreme Court. It was a historic moment in a career that began 30 years ago after graduating from Hamline Law.
She immediately joined the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, where she focused on child protection matters, particularly those falling under the provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act. She was in court every day, working on adoption and ward issues, and she helped establish an ICWA social worker unit there. Justice McKeig’s work has taken her across the country meeting with tribal governments and working on policies and procedures that have made Hennepin County’s method of handling ICWA cases a national model.
When she was appointed as a judge of the Hennepin County District Court, Judge McKeig continued to focus on child protection issues. She led a federal grant application process to enable the court to participate in a project (Family Court Enhancement Project) focused on improving custody and visitation decision-making for families experiencing domestic violence. The county received a $400,000 grant in 2013, months after Justice McKeig’s three-year term as presiding judge.
Justice McKeig also brought her expertise on child protection and ICWA to the classroom as an adjunct teacher. She has taught summer courses on ICWA and child protection proceedings for the past two summers.
“Judge McKeig has served as a tribal judge, a district court judge, and a state Supreme Court judge,” Niedwiecki added. “But for our students, she has also been an accessible trainer who helps our future lawyers keep children and tribal communities in mind early in their careers.
“Our school also works hard to instill in our students the need to serve the public, and Anne McKeig fits that mold perfectly.”
Members of the American Law Institute also include several current and retired Mitchell Hamline faculty members, including Dean Anthony Niedwiecki; former deans Eric Janus and Doug Heidenreich; professors Sharon Sandeen and Michael Steenson; and professors emeritus Kenneth Kirwin, Dan Kleinberger, Christina Kunz, and J. David Prince.
Further reading: Anne McKeig ’92: A fearless protector of children