Memorial Grad Is Minnesota's First Hmong-American Judge

Tom Giffey

A Memorial High School graduate who grew up in Eau Claire and went on to a legal career in Minnesota has become the first Hmong-American judge in that state’s history. Sophia Vuelo was recently appointed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to the state’s Second Judicial District, which consists of Ramsey County (that includes St. Paul and some of its suburbs). According to Dayton’s office, Vuelo is the first judge of Hmong descent in Minnesota and the second appointed in the United States.

Vuelo – then known as Yeu Vue – grew up in Eau Claire and graduated in 1990 from Memorial, where she was both senior class president and Homecoming queen. After high school, she received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul. In addition to most recently operating a private law practice, Vuelo has served as a special assistant Ramsey County attorney, an assistant public defender, an assistant city attorney in Rochester, and a managing attorney for Catholic Charities. She lives in Maplewood, Minnesota.

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