25 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 1163 (1999)
Tribute to Justice Esther Tomljanovich

handle is hein.journals/wmitch25 and id is 1183 raw text is: TRIBUTE TO JUSTICE ESTHER TOMLJANOVICH
Douglas G. Hoddert
It seems we owe a debt of gratitude to Portia Moot. Ms. Moot
was a lawyer. Before there were many, if any, women lawyers in
Minnesota, Ms. Moot stationed herself in the courtroom doing bat-
tle for her clients. In the early 1940s, one could listen to the adven-
tures of Portia Moot on a radio show of the same name. To our
collective benefit, during some of her free time in grade school,
Justice Esther Tomljanovich did just this. Today, Justice Tomljano-
vich explains that it was her desire to emulate Portia Moot that was
at least partially responsible for her becoming a lawyer-and ajus-
tice on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Now, on the occasion of
her retirement from the Minnesota Supreme Court it is easy to
look back on her career as a lawyer and jurist to see a distinguished
and selfless list of contributions and accomplishments.
Justice Tomljanovich was born in Iowa. Within a year she and
her family moved to Buck Lake, Minnesota. Justice Tomljanovich
spent most of her formative years in Minnesota's Iron Range where
she got her early education in a one room, country school house
north of Nashwauk. She graduated from Nashwauk High School
and from there attended Itasca Junior College. Then, at nineteen
years of age, she left her family to come to St. Paul, where she
rented a room at the YWCA and attended the St. Paul College of
Law, which later merged into William Mitchell College of Law.
Justice Tomljanovich was the only woman in her class at law
school. Still, she was treated well by the professors and her class-
mates and was never frightened of the experience. She explains
that she never realized she had anything to fear, a state of mind
passed down to her from her father. After graduating, she had ex-
pected to return to Nashwauk to practice law. However, she re-
mained in St. Paul and continued employment with Minnesota Mu-
t Douglas G. Hodder, former Editor-in-Chief of the William Mitchell Law
Review, served as law clerk forJustice Tomljanovich during the 1995-96 session. He
is currently a patent attorney with the law firm Morrison & Foerster in San Fran-
cisco, California.


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