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Quick questions with Judge Matthew J. Opat

Judge Matthew J. Opat has served the community in Fillmore County since 1977.

Judge Matthew J. Opat
Judge Matthew J. Opat.
Contributed / Minnesota Judicial Branch
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Judge Matthew J. Opat recently received the Professional Excellence Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Opat ws appointed to the Third Judicial District in Minnesota by Gov. Mark Dayton in June 2013. He was elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2020. His current term expires Jan. 2027.

Opat received his Juris Doctor from Hamline Unversity School of Law in St. Paul in 1977.

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Opat's decades of law experience include private practice out of Chatfield that included civil and criminal cases, real estate and probate court before becoming the Assistant Fillmore County Attorney from 1981 to 1997. He was elected as the Fillmore County Attorney in 1997, he served in that position until 2013.

Opat also worked as the prosecutor and city attorney for Chatfield. A member of several bar associations, he also serves on the Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections Board and the Fillmore County Corrections Task Force.

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What do you think about being given the Professional Excellence Award by the Minnesota State Bar Association?

I am honored to be awarded the 2022 Professional Excellence Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association. I had the privilege of being in private practice for 35 years in Chatfield and, in addition, now have had the privilege of serving on the bench in the Third Judicial District for the last nine years. To be recognized by the state bar association for my years of service is humbling and appreciated.

What would you like people to know before they enter your courtroom?

I learned early in my life in becoming an Eagle Scout to "be prepared.” That served me well in my private law practice and now on the bench. Litigants appearing before me can be assured that I have reviewed their filings and will give their matter careful consideration and that I will be respectful.

Asked & Answered is a weekly question-and-answer column featuring people of southeastern Minnesota. Is there somebody you'd like to see featured? Send suggestions to news@postbulletin.com .

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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