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Samuel Lee Hanson, Associate Justice, 2002-2008

Samuel Lee Hanson, Associate Justice, 2002-2008

Portrait of Justice Samuel Hanson


Samuel Lee Hanson was appointed Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Jesse Ventura on June 22, 2002.  


Samuel Lee Hanson was born on August 26, 1939, in Mankato, Minnesota. He graduated from Saint Olaf College in 1961, and William Mitchell College of Law in 1965.

During law school, Hanson served as deputy clerk of courts for the U.S. District Court from 1961 to 1963 and law librarian for the U.S. Court of Appeals from 1963 to 1964. Hanson clerked for future Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice, Douglas Amdahl, at the Hennepin County District Court from 1964 to 1965 as part of an experiment to test out having law clerks in the district court. After graduating from William Mitchell, cum laude, Hanson clerked for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Robert Sheran from 1965 to 1966. 

Beginning in 1966, Hanson practiced law at the Minneapolis firm, Briggs and Morgan, where he served as president from 1988 to 1993. In 2000, after thirty-four years of private practice, Hanson left Briggs & Morgan when Governor Jesse Ventura appointed him to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Just two years later, on June 22, 2002, Governor Ventura appointed Hanson Associate Justice of  Minnesota Supreme Court where he served until January 1, 2008.

After retiring form the Court, Hanson returned to Briggs and Morgan. They merged with another law firm and became Taft in 2020. In December of that year, he left Taft and now has a solo Alternative Dispute Resolution practice. 

He married his first wife in 1962, during law school, and they had 3 children together. They divorced in 1977. He then married his current wife, Mirja Karikoski, in 1979, who was born in Boston of Finnish parents and grew up in Japan. They had one biological child and adopted two others.

You can read more about Justice Hanson in the resources linked in this guide, which serve as sources for this brief biography.

Signature of Sam Hanson

Image credit: Signature of Samuel Lee Hanson, Roll of Attorneys, Supreme Court, State of Minnesota, 1858-1970, p.373,

Highlighted Resources