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Attorneys of the Year demonstrate collegiality, quality

We’ve got a bumper crop of Attorneys of the Year, not that we don’t have one every year. But this year we have five outstanding examples of camaraderie and collegiality – trial teams that took on big cases and succeeded, suing powerful entities like the Kingdom of Norway, the Veteran’s Administration and the Archdiocese of Duluth.  We have individuals and pairs of lawyers who represented children, the indigent, the injured, the cheated and defrauded, the infringed upon and the vulnerable immigrant.  We have a prosecutor and some public defenders.  We have two United States Supreme Court victories.

The nominations were vetted and chosen by five attorneys, who have previously been honored as attorney of the year, and Minnesota Lawyer thanks them – there was a lot to read about excellent lawyers and difficult choices to make.

This is the sixth year that Minnesota Lawyer presents the Circle of Excellence to those recidivist lawyers who have been an Attorney of the Year previously. We also present the 8th annual Outstanding Service to the Profession award. This award recognizes a group of attorneys for a career’s worth of service on behalf of the legal profession.

The 16th Annual Attorney of the Year ceremony is at 5 p.m. on February 18, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Minneapolis.  Please join us to celebrate the legal profession.

Attorneys of the Year:


  • John Arechigo – Arechigo and Stokka, LLP
  • Alana Bassin – Bowman and Brooke LLP
  • Paul W. Chamberlain – Chamberlain Law Firm
  • Glen Drew – Volunteer Lawyers Network
  • Yvonne Flaherty – Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.
  • Julia Hillel – Children’s Law Center of Minnesota and Hennepin County Attorney’s Office,  Child Protection Division
  • Anne M. Honsa – Honsa & Associates PA
  • Jocelyn Knoll – Dorsey & Whitney
  • Kara Lynum – Lynum Law Office, PLLC
  • Daniel W. McDonald – Merchant & Gould P.C.
  • Thomas F. Nelson – Stinson Leonard Street
  • Kathleen Flynn Peterson* – Robins Kaplan LLP    (COE)
  • Bahram Samie            – Office of the United States Attorney, District of Minnesota
  • Brandon Thompson – Robins Kaplan LLP
  • Lauri Traub – First District Public Defender    (COE)
  • Michael W. Unger – Minnesota State Bar Association     (COE)
  • David Wilson – Wilson Law Group
  • Leatha G. Wolter – Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P.


Ewald v. Royal Norwegian Embassy Team

  • Sheila Engelmeier
  • Susanne Fischer
  • Michael Gerould
  • Thomas E. Marshall

Jeff Anderson Trial Team

  • Jeff Anderson   (COE)
  • Mike Finnegan
  • Elin Lindstrom

Larry Stigen Trial Team

  • J. Virgil Bradley
  • Patrick R. Burns  (COE)
  • John Degnan
  • Patrick Mahlberg
  • Judy Ojard
  • John Satorius

Mellouli v. Holder Litigation Team

  • Ben Casper
  • Julia Decker
  • Katherine Evans
  • Dianne Heins
  • Jeff Justman
  • John Keller  (COE)
  • Nicholas Nelson
  • Aaron Van Oort

Signal Human Trafficking Team

  • David Coyle
  • Clint Cutler
  • Chelsea Brennan DesAutels
  • James Dorsey
  • Johanna Franzen
  • Sten-Erik Hoidal
  • Lousene Hoppe
  • Andrew Johnson
  • Steven Kinsella
  • Tim O’Shea
  • Haley Waller Pitts
  • Ben Tozer


  • Minnesota Federal Public Defender – Kate Menendez and Doug Olson
  • Eric Hageman and Fred Pritzker,  PritzkerOlsen, P.A.  (both COE)

Outstanding Service to the Profession

  • Judge Kevin S. Burke – Fourth Judicial District Court
  • Joe Friedberg – Joe Friedberg Law Office
  • Barbara Jones – Minnesota Lawyer
  • Charles E. Lundberg – Lundberg Legal Ethics PA   (COE)
  • David Sasseville – Lindquist & Vennum

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