Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday afternoon that he has appointed attorney Shawn Pearson to fill a vacancy on the Sixth Judicial District bench in St. Louis County. Pearson will replace Judge Shaun Floerke, who recently stepped down from his post to lead the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

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In a news release, Walz said he was proud to appoint Pearson, adding: "Mr. Pearson brings a wealth and depth of experience and steadfast leadership to the bench. I have no doubt that his service will greatly benefit the people of Duluth and St. Louis County."

Minnesota's Sixth Judicial District serves Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties.

Pearson, a 46-year-old attorney practicing out of Duluth, frequently represents parents in cases involving child protection. He also is trained as a mediator and handles a variety of employment discrimination matters in state and federal courts.

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Although he most recently served as an independent attorney, Pearson previously practiced at Barnes & Thornburg and Mansfield Tanick & Cohen, where he litigated a wide variety of civil matters across the state and before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. He also served as in-house counsel for General Mills and Essentia Health. Pearson began his career in law as a Chicago law clerk, representing workers exposed to asbestos.

Pearson's involvement in the community has included serving as a mentor through Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and on the board of directors for the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce and Zenon Dance Company. He has taught community engagement seminars at Community Action Duluth and the Family Freedom Center. He also has volunteered his services as a pro bono attorney for the Children's Law Center. He currently serves as a board member for the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.

Pearson earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.