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2021 Diversity & Inclusion Awards

When resources, energy and talent are gathered together and focused on a singular task, the results can make an immediate impact.

Diversity & Inclusion Awards cover

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In this issue’s cover story, Stronger Together, you will read how affinity bar associations and their leaders have continued their work together, uniting against injustice. Last year, we highlighted the effort the groups begun in the wake of the murder of George Floyd to fight prejudice and the dehumanizing of victims of violence.

Last December the bar associations came together formally as the Minnesota Coalition of Bar Associations of Color to continue their work, this time to produce a report examining the representation of color and women in participating law firms and corporate legal departments. Early results found that the median percentage of racial and ethnic lawyers at Twin Cities firms was well below the national average. More data analysis will be released next month.

“We’ve got a way to go but it’s good to get something out there,” says Frank Aba-Onu of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL) in the story regarding the results released in December.

In this special issue of Minnesota Lawyer, we celebrate efforts like these and others that aim to make a more equitable world — such as the lawyer who strives develop policies, rules and laws to improve outcomes for American Indian families; the volunteer who aims to give back and offer young Latinos an example of success in the legal profession; and the “teacher at heart” who finds mentors to help high school students better understand the legal system.

Minnesota Lawyer is honored to recognize our honorees for their work to promote diversity and inclusion. Your stories show us all what is possible, with a bit of energy, talent and passion.

— Joel Schettler, editor

Note: Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography


Stronger Together



Just Deeds

Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Minnesota Coalition of Bar Associations of Color

Minnesota Humanities Center



James C. Burroughs II

Children’s Minnesota


Jill Kehaulani Esch

The Office of Minnesota Ombudsperson for American Indian Families


Loan Huynh

Fredrikson & Byron


Ann Jenrette-Thomas



Connie Lahn

Barnes & Thornburg LLP


Lariss Maldonado

Wells Fargo


Thomas Pack        

Greenberg Traurig


Sonja Dunnwald Peterson

Disability Law Center


Jules Porter

Seraph 7 Studios


Judge Shari Schluchter

Beltrami County District Court


Alice Silkey

Mitchell Hamline School of Law, emerita professor


Brandon Vaughn

Robins Kaplan LLP


Judge Sophia Y. Vuelo

Ramsey County District Court

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