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Minnesota Lawyer's Attorneys of the Year for 2010 are an eclectic group of newcomers and veterans from private practice and public service.

Leaders and achievers honored for excellence in 2010

Minnesota Lawyer’s Attorneys of the Year for 2010 are an eclectic group of newcomers and veterans from private practice and public service.

The honorees were chosen based on these criteria: leadership in the profession, involvement in major cases or other newsworthy events, excellence in corporate or transactional services and public service. The nominations were submitted by judges, bar groups and attorneys. The honorees came from diverse practice groups including criminal law, litigation, intellectual property and in-house legal service.

For example Galen Robinson from the Legal Aid Society was recognized for successfully arguing that the unallotment budget cuts Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s used to close out the 2009 legislative session were unconstitutional. Defense attorney Brent Schafer successfully petitioned for a new trial for Koua Fong Lee after Lee was convicted of killing three people in a car crash. New evidence Schafer introduced showed the cause of the crash was a malfunction by the Toyota Camry Lee was driving. Based on the new evidence, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against Lee.

Minnesota Lawyer is introducing a new category for this year’s program: The Circle of Excellence, to honor those who have made the Attorneys of the Year list in multiple years.

“With the volume of quality nominations again this year, we had a very difficult time narrowing the field.  When all was said and done, we have a group of attorneys that definitively represent the high quality of those practicing law in the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota,” said Steve Jahn, the vice president and publisher of Finance & Commerce Inc. and Minnesota Lawyer. “This is a top- notch group.  We are also pleased to introduce a new category of award recipients, the Circle of Excellence.”

Also being honored this year:

John Baker of Baker Williams Law Office;

Jim Behrenbrinker, Attorney at Law;

Diane Bratvold of Briggs & Morgan;

Allan Caplan of Caplan Law Firm;

Gary Debele of Walling, Berg & Debele;

Karen Duncan, chief public defender of the 3rd District;

Kathleen Flynn Peterson of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi and Circle of Excellence honoree

W. Anders Folk from the U.S. Attorney’s Office;

David W. Graves, Jr. from Bowman & Brooke;

Dan Gustafson from Gustafson Gluek;

John M. Harens from Moore, Costello & Hart;

Megan J. Hertzler, assistant general counsel at Xcel Energy;

Lee Hutton III of Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg;

Craig Krummen at Winthrop & Weinstine;

Paula Maccabee of Just Change Law Offices;

Rick Mark of Briggs & Morgan;

Donald Chance Mark Jr. of Fafinski Mark & Johnson;

Julie A. Matonich, Ed Matonich and David Arndt of Matonich & Persson;

Mark Schroeder and Michael Wilhelm of Briggs & Morgan;

Paul Schweiger of Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey;

Randy Seaver of Fuller, Seaver and Ramette;

Daryle Uphoff of Lindquist & Vennum; and

Terrance Votel of Votel, Anderson & McEachron and president of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Minnesota Lawyer’s Attorneys of the Year awards recognize achievements within a particular calendar year. However, some individuals and groups year-in and year-out work toward the betterment of the profession and those it serves. Their achievements deserve to be recognized as well. In 2007, Minnesota Lawyer started its Outstanding Service to the Profession Awards. No more than five of these prestigious awards are given out each year.

This year’s honorees for Outstanding Service to the Profession are:

Kent Gernander of Streater & Murphy; Frank Harris, the executive director of Minnesota CLE; Rebecca Moos, Bassford & Remele; Edward Toussaint, the former chief judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals; and Larry Hammerling, the former chief of the Minnesota Board of Public Defense Appeals Division.

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