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Dyan Ebert
Dyan Ebert

2021 Attorneys of the Year: Dyan Ebert

In 2019, when Dyan Ebert was named 2020-2021 president of the Minnesota State Bar Association, the world was entering a uniquely challenging time. When Ebert assumed the MSBA presidency on July 1, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages.

During her year as MSBA president, Ebert led the association’s successful efforts to adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and “reinvent” many of its functions to virtual formats.

Ebert, who joined the Quinlivan firm in May 1994, about a year after graduating from William Mitchell College of Law, had plenty of prior experience serving in leadership positions.

Ebert was the first woman to serve as Quinlivan & Hughes’ chief executive officer and was on the firm’s board of directors from 2003 to 2010, and again from 2014 to 2019. She has also served as secretary of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, a position she has held since 2017, and on the Minnesota Women Lawyers Advisory Board.

Ebert has also held leadership positions with Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Minnesota Women Lawyers and the Seventh District Bar Association.

Ebert recalls that she did “exactly two things in person” during her 12 months as MSBA president: she accepted the gavel from outgoing president Tom Nelson and — 12 months later —  presented the gavel to  incoming president Jennifer Thompson, again at the MSBA offices.

“The job typically comes with quite a bit of travel statewide and across state lines, but we weren’t able to have those interactions,” Ebert says. “I got pretty proficient at making speeches and advocating for lawyers on Zoom and other online platforms.”

Ebert also helped move the MSBA’s continuing legal education programs into virtual formats, as well as the mock trial program for Minnesota high school students.

Also, the association’s lawyer well-being programs were expedited to help members ward off professional isolation.

Looking back at her one-year term, Ebert notes that one thing she learned is that “as a collective, lawyers are a pretty resilient group. Trying to be as flexible as we can as an organization has helped us thrive through the pandemic.”

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2021 here.

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