From the Editor:
Each year, Minnesota Lawyer recognizes the best achievements in the Minnesota legal profession with the Attorneys of the Year awards. This year’s attorneys were chosen based on their leadership, involvement in major cases or other newsworthy events, excellence in corporate or transactional services, and public service.
As I write this the day after the Super Bowl, it occurs to me that we have two types of Attorneys of the Year. We have your Tom Bradys — superstars from whom we’ve come to expect stunning results. Donald Chance Mark, Bob Bennett, Fred Pritzker, David B. Olson, Craig Krummen, Carl Crosby Lehmann, Kimberly Lowe and Craig Wildfang: They belong to our Circle of Excellence, as this is their second (or more) Attorney of the Year award.
But we have even more Malcolm Butlers — not rookie attorneys but rookies to the Attorney of the Year award. We have seven groups, five of which are trial teams. Those lawyers prevailed in cases involving the Sherman Act, defamation, wrongful death, property destruction by stray voltage, and food-borne illness. There was also a merger and the creation of a pro bono intellectual property project that received national attention.
We have twosomes who prevailed in contract, insurance bad faith and asylum cases, and one pair who created a training program in sexual assault and harassment matters for schools and colleges.
And we have 23 individuals, with achievements and interests ranging from The Sedona Conference to bed-bug-killing chemicals.
Our attorneys in criminal law convicted a murderer and got an innocent man off of death row; got the federal courts to step in where a juvenile was sentenced to life without parole and cracked down on the Native Mob gang. Our civil litigators made an insurance company pay death benefits, made the University of Minnesota pay for discriminating against the golf coach, made a trucking company pay for discriminating against Tibetans, and made the Minneapolis school district pay for hiring some unaccredited teachers. We’ve got attorneys who speak for the vulnerable — children, immigrants and the mentally ill. We’ve got the lawyer who created the public interest corporation bill and the lawyer who helped make end-of-life decisions less difficult. We’ve got the Health Partner merger lawyers and the lawyer who defeated vehement opposition to secure liquor licenses for her clients. We’ve got the attorney who defended a child’s First Amendment right to post on Facebook. We’ve got bar association leaders. And, sports fans, we’ve got the in-house counsel for the Minnesota Twins and the lawyer who made professional football better for LGBT players.
We’ve also got five lawyers who have performed outstanding service to the profession: Fred Finch through the ABA; Fred Friedman through the public defender’s office in Duluth; John Kingrey through the Minnesota County Attorneys Association; Richard Pemberton, exemplary trial lawyer; and Justice Alan Page, who has served 22 years on the Supreme Court.
We hope you enjoy the stories of these fine lawyers. Thanks to the writers, staff photographer Bill Klotz, and the design and production departments for their work on this project.