- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Alice Senechal will replace retiring U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Klein in the eastern divisions of North Dakota, federal court officials announced Wednesday.

Senechal, 59, has served as a part-time magistrate judge in the district since 1990, based out of Grand Forks. She will serve a full-time term for eight years.

“It’s certainly something I’ve hoped for and I’m excited to take on the new role,” Senechal said. “There are always new challenges. Every case is a little different. Every situation is a little different.”

Senechal is a graduate of the University of Minnesota law school. She has been practicing law with the Robert Vogel Law Office in Grand Forks since 1986 and is currently a shareholder in the firm. She has been a member of various state bar association committees and currently serves on the state board of law examiners.

U.S. District Chief Judge Ralph Erickson said Senechal is well-respected by attorneys throughout the state and her services are invaluable to the federal court.

“The citizens of North Dakota will be well-served by Judge Senechal’s transition to a full-time U.S. magistrate judge,” Erickson said.

Senechal will conduct initial proceedings in criminal cases, handle a wide variety of pretrial matters in civil and criminal cases and preside over settlement conferences, among other things.

Klein, who has served as magistrate judge for 30 years, plans to step down in early 2015.

“It’s daunting to think of following her because she has done an exceptional job and she has shaped the position in many ways, not only in this district but throughout the country,” Senechal said of Klein.

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