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Admissions Blog

Meet a Mustang: Adam Wolkoff '82

Tuesday, Jan 09, 2018


Each month, the 123 eNewsletter features 10 questions with a member of our alumni community. This month, take a moment to get to know Adam Wolkoff '82.

Wolkoff (1).jpgAdam Wolkoff '82 is the Deputy Chief Judge for the State of Minnesota, Office of Administrative Hearings, which is an administrative court that holds fair and impartial hearings in contested cases involving challenges to government action or workers' compensation disputes. Since 1976, the Office of Administrative Hearings' centralized panel of nearly 40 judges has provided trial-level hearings throughout Minnesota. Adam is responsible for assisting the Chief Judge in management of the agency. He also hears cases and conducts mediations and settlement conferences.

In 1986, Adam graduated from Boston University with a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics. He went on to obtain his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1990. Adam looks forward to his volunteer work with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, which provides free, confidential peer and professional assistance to Minnesota lawyers, judges, law students, and their immediate family members on any issue that causes stress or distress.

Adam and his wife, Liz, love living in their "cottage," a 1920s bungalow in St. Paul's Union Park neighborhood and are proud parents to daughter Vivian (sophomore BFA Dance major at the University of Minnesota) and son Pete (freshman at Bridgeview School).

Take a moment to get to know Adam!


What was the last book you read?

“Dropping Ashes on the Buddha,” by Stephen Mitchell. The book is a collection of Zen Master Seung Sahn’s letters, conversations, lectures and teachings while he was here in the U.S. It’s the smartest, wisest, most hilarious book I’ve read in quite a while.

Why did you choose your profession?

My experience on the debate team at Breck made me realize that I liked to think and argue on the fly, which led me to law school and a 17 year career as a civil trial attorney. In 2008, I went on the bench at OAH and am grateful to have opportunities every day to give back to the profession and the people with whom I work and serve.

What’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made?

Buying my first motorcycle after graduating college. Thirty years later, I still love getting out on two wheels and am grateful my wife likes to come along for the ride.

Tell us about your favorite Breck memory?

It’s hard to choose—I attended Breck from Kindergarten through 12th grade! Rattling the band room windows with the low A on the baritone sax I borrowed from Mr. Livingstone, cold nights at Highland Hills for ski team practice, the 11th grade trip to Germany, seeing Lionel Hampton play vibraphone in Chapel…there’s so many more—how much time do you have?

Name three people – living or dead – you would have dinner with.

Lou Reed, Roger Ebert and Julia Child.

What are some small things that make your day better?

A good cup of coffee in the morning, a fun text from my wife during the day, and reading for a bit before going to sleep.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I’d choose teleportation because it would save all kinds of money on airfare.

What teacher inspired you most?

I was fortunate to have many fantastic teachers at Breck. I can’t narrow the list to one but I can cut it back to two: Ann Young, who inspired a love of British literature and precision in writing, and Van Anderson, who inspired a love of poetry and social justice.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in his or her life?

Camp out alone in the woods.

What words of wisdom would you pass on to your childhood self?

Don’t listen when your dad tells you to major in political science in college so you can get into law school. Go ahead and be an English major, it will all work out OK.

Advice for recent Breck grads?

Kindness and compassion will always carry the day.

Why is it important for you to stay connected to Breck?

That connection is a big part of my history—and my present day Facebook feed.