Q&A with School of Law Alumnus Adam Rowe-Johnson ’20 J.D.

Adam Rowe-Johnson ’20 J.D. is an assistant county attorney in the Hubbard County Attorney’s Office. Prior to working in northern Minnesota, he was a judicial law clerk for Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District, which covers the west central portion of the state. As a student, Rowe-Johnson clerked for the Minneapolis City Attorney, Dakota County Attorney and Olmsted County Attorney’s offices. He also worked in the law school’s Federal Commutations Clinic with Professor Mark Osler and was active as a student representative for the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Adam Rowe-Johnson ’20 J.D.

How and when did you decide you wanted to pursue a legal career in greater Minnesota? What drew you to this type of career?

I never really planned on working in greater Minnesota, but once I started in Park Rapids, I quickly saw the appeal. Because it is a smaller office, I really get to know my coworkers, including the office staff. I am also able to enjoy a challenging caseload — prosecuting all gross misdemeanor and felony drug and theft crimes. Even though I am a newer attorney, I am trusted with higher level offenses that might otherwise be handed to more seasoned attorneys in larger offices.

What has stood out to you about working as an assistant county attorney?

Although I was taught this while clerking in law school and as a judicial clerk, it remains true even more so in practice: getting on Court Administration's good side can go a long way, but getting on their bad side can literally ruin cases. Always treat the clerks with respect — the judges will hear about it either way.

What do you like best about Park Rapids or northern Minnesota, both professionally and personally?

Professionally, it is a great place to practice law. There is a wealth of extremely knowledgeable attorneys and the public defender's office is phenomenal to work with. Personally, the food up here is surprisingly good. If you're ever in the area, you need to try out The Good Life Cafe.

What’s something you learned at St. Thomas, in class or out, that you carry with you as a legal professional?

When I prepare for trial, I still use the matrix that Professor Osler teaches in his criminal practice class.

Who last inspired you professionally and why?

Professor Osler's continued efforts through the Federal Commutations Clinic, and now he has been named to the Minnesota Conviction Review Advisory Board. As a former clinician of his, I know that prison is not always the right answer for crimes. Because of this, I have begun working toward creating Hubbard County's first Drug/Treatment Court in an attempt to help those that are struggling with addiction.

What do you do to manage your stress, prioritize wellness and maintain your overall health? There are so many great trails, lakes and state parks nearby, so my fiancée and I usually try to take our dog for long hikes when we can.