Annual Awards Ceremony

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On Wednesday, November 16, 2016, MJF hosted its Annual Awards Celebration, at which we honored outstanding individuals in the Minnesota legal community. View photos from the event here.

The winners of the 2016 Outstanding Service Awards were:

Direct Service Provider: Bob Enger, Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota
Private Practice Pro Bono: David Wilson, Wilson Law Group
Advocate: Ann Conroy, Legal Services State Support
Law Student awards:
Ashley Steinberg, University of St. Thomas School of Law
John Bruning, University of Minnesota Law School
Diane Galatowitsch, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Our keynote speaker at the Annual Awards Ceremony was Marianne Short, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of UnitedHealth Group.

Ms. Short was introduced by Vice President Walter Mondale.

Marianne Short is the Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and a member of the Office of the Chief Executive of UnitedHealth Group, the largest diversified health care company in the U.S. and #6 in the Fortune 500.  She has over 35 years of courtroom and management experiences, including serving as the Managing Partner and an active litigation partner at Dorsey & Whitney, and as a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals for 12 years.  She is active in the community and serves on numerous non-profit boards.  She is an vocal advocate for pro bono service, and in 2015, the American Bar Association recognized UnitedHealth Group for demonstrating an exceptional commitment to providing pro bono legal services.

Ms. Short spoke on the topic of “Building Pro Bono as a Core Competency.”



As part of our 2016 Anniversary Celebration, MJF is proud to recognize the 10-year anniversary of the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® Initiative

Founded in 2000, Corporate Pro Bono is the global partnership project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).

Their mission is to explore and identify new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. CPBO does so by supporting, enhancing, and transforming the pro bono efforts of in-house legal departments in the U.S. and around the world.  Since its inception, CPBO has worked with hundreds of legal departments and ACC Chapters.

In 2006, at the urging of chief legal officers, CPBO launched an initiative enabling legal departments to identify, benchmark, and communicate their support for pro bono service.

The Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative is now the standard for in-house pro bono. It is a simple, voluntary statement of commitment to pro bono service by legal departments, their lawyers and staff.

Since its founding in 2000, CPBO has worked with hundreds of legal departments and seen tremendous growth in pro bono among in-house counsel. This growth is displayed in the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® reports.

Specifically, the CPBO Challenge® statement calls for chief legal officers to:

  • encourage and promote pro bono service by their legal department staff;
  • use their best efforts to encourage their staff, including at least one-half of their legal staff, to support and participate in pro bono service; and
  • encourage the outside law firms with whom they work to acknowledge publicly their support for pro bono by becoming signatories to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative.

There are currently more than 160 CPBO Challenge® signatories.

This year PBI and CPBO celebrated the 10th anniversary of the CPBO Challenge® initiative at the 2016 PBI Annual Dinner at Gotham Hall in New York on November 5. More information can be found here.


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