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Senechal to receive American Inns of Court Professionalism Award Monday, September 27, 2021

News Release

Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal has been selected to receive the 2021 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Eighth Circuit. Senechal has served as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota since 1990.

Senechal’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially exemplary, says Chief Judge Peter D. Welte of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, who nominated Senechal for the award on behalf of the court plus the Randy H. Lee, Ronald N. Davies, and Judge Bruce M. Van Sickle American Inns of Court. “During that time, the leadership and example of Magistrate Judge Senechal have been front and center in the recovery of the North Dakota District Court,” says Welte. “Further, her can-do spirit, her broad and deep knowledge of the law, and her experience—over 30 years of experience on the bench—have been crucial in leading us through this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Between 1990 and 2015, Senechal served part-time as a magistrate judge while practicing for the Robert Vogel Law Office PC in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She began serving full-time in 2015. In addition, she has served as an adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Law, where she taught professional responsibility.

Senechal is very involved in bar activities at the local, state, and national levels. She has been active in the Greater Grand Forks County Bar Association and the State Bar Association of North Dakota, serving as a chair of the North Dakota Joint Committee on Attorney Standards. She has served as the Eighth Circuit representative to the Federal Magistrate Judges Association and has also served on the board of editors for the Federal Courts Law Review, which is published by the Federal Magistrate Judges Association.

Senechal is a charter member and a past president of the Randy H. Lee American Inn of Court.

Senechal began her career as a special-needs elementary school teacher after earning an undergraduate degree in speech and language pathology and audiology from North Dakota State University in 1977. She earned a law degree cum laude from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1984. She then served as a term law clerk for Judge Bruce M. Van Sickle of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.

The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, inspires the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring. The organization’s membership includes nearly 30,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in nearly 370 chapters nationwide. More information is available at