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Attorneys of the Year

Larry Hammerling – Minnesota Public Defenders

Larry Hammerling, formerly the chief appellate public defender in Minnesota, spent his entire, all-too-brief legal career not only representing persons marginalized in society but importantly, teaching others to do so. He started out working for the Winnebago, Omaha and Santee Sioux Indian Tribes in Nebraska and came to Minnesota and the state public defender's office in 1979. He managed the Minnesota Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners clinic and taught at William Mitchell College of Law. Hammerling died of cancer on June 20, 2010.

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Karen Duncan – Minnesota Public Defenders

As chief public defender for Minnesota's 3rd Judicial District, Karen Duncan has spent several years coping with a worsening funding crunch, exacerbated by the state's current, $5 billion-plus budget shortfall. Duncan took bold action to address the issue last year, asking a Steele County District Court judge's to permit her overburdened staff to withdraw from representing 46 defendants.

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John Harens – Moore, Costello & Hart

John Harens of Moore, Costello & Hart is a veteran attorney who is used to handling complex civil litigation, particularly in the area of construction, architecture and design. However, during the last 15 of his 35 years in practice, Harens has shifted from the role of litigator to one of mediator.

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Jim Behrenbrinker – Attorney at Law

Minneapolis attorney Jim Behrenbrinker had never handled a police excessive-force case until December, 2006, when Katie Felder contacted him, seeking justice for her late son, Dominic Felder. He had been shot and killed by two Minneapolis police officers.

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