State government leaders, and members of the legal community celebrated the 40th anniversary of the state’s Administrative Hearings Office Thursday at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
The OAH began its work on Jan. 2, 1976. The administrative court was formed to provide impartial decisions in workers’ compensation cases, and challenges to government action involving Minnesota’s citizens, businesses, and government agencies.
The OAH processes 10,000 cases a year, holding 1,000 hearings in more than 100 different communities. Its offices are based in St. Paul and Duluth.
During Thursday’s celebration, the office’s chief judge Tammy Pust swore in two new judges to the OAH panel.
For his part Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton praised the work of the office, calling its formation as an independent and objective body 40 years ago “visionary”.
Mitchell Hamline professor Mehmet Konar-Steenberg found it fitting that the agency’s 40th birthday was being marked at the newly combined Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
“So much of the legacy of Hamline University School of Law and William Mitchell College of Law is about public service,” Konar-Steenberg told a crowd of about 400. “And so much of what we continue to do here at Mitchell Hamline is going to be about public service.”
The OAH and Mitchell Hamline are connected in another way: nearly half of the agency’s 37 judges are Mitchell Hamline alums.