Hamline News

Alum Matthew J. Opat appointed to fill judicial district vacancy


Governor Mark Dayton recently announced the appointment of Hamline Law alum Matthew J. Opat, JD '77, as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Third Judicial District. Opat will replace the Honorable Robert R. Benson, who retired earlier this year. The judgeship will be chambered at Preston in Fillmore County.

“Matthew Opat has been an exemplary public servant throughout his career,” said Governor Dayton. “I believe that his experience and passion for the law will help him to honorably serve the people of the Third District.”

Opat maintains his own private law practice in Chatfield, Matthew J. Opat, P.A., practicing in areas of real estate, probate, general business, civil, and criminal law. He also serves as the prosecutor for the City of Chatfield in petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and gross misdemeanor violations. Previously, Opat served as the Fillmore County Attorney, where his duties included oversight of the County Attorney’s Office and providing legal advice to the County Board and staff. He received his BA from the University of Iowa and his JD from Hamline Law.

Opat is a member of numerous community organizations, including the Chatfield Center for the Arts Advisory Committee, Chatfield Lions, Chatfield Commercial Club, and is a retired member of the Chatfield Volunteer Fire Department.

Opat resides with his family in Chatfield, Minnesota.

Minnesota’s Third Judicial District consists of Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, and Winona Counties.