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MWL Announces 2016 Annual Awards and MWL Foundation Scholarship Recipients

Friday, April 1, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Debra Pexa

Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to announce its 2016 Annual Awards and the MWL Foundation Law Student Scholarship and Leslie Altman Memorial Scholarship recipients, all to be presented at MWL's 44th Annual Meeting on April 15, 2016.

Myra Bradwell Award
MWL is honored to present the 2016 Myra Bradwell Award to Terry A. Trogdon, of Gerlach, Beaumier and Trogdon, LLP, for expressing the highest ideals of the legal profession and possessing qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell such as courage, perseverance, and leadership on issues of concern to women.

From the Award Nomination: “[Ms. Trogdon's] professional expertise and leadership in our Twin Ports legal community are examples for women attorneys aspiring to succeed, as she always raises the bar in the pursuit of excellence in the legal profession...In 2000, Terry took on the role of Staff Attorney at the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA) in Superior (Douglas County), Wisconsin.  There, she advocated for women leaving domestic abuse situations, and provided them legal representation on those and related matters...[S]he made a lasting impact far beyond the lives of the individual women she had represented, and their families...[Terry] has made a name for herself not only as an attorney, but as a mediator and custody evaluator in family law cases, as a professor and Community Education teacher, and also as a leader on several local Boards of Directors...Terry understands she has a responsibility to inform and share with others all the knowledge and expertise she has gained in her education and professional experiences...Always promoting the role of women lawyers and ensuring their visibility in our legal community, Terry was instrumental in founding the Northeast Chapter of Minnesota Women Lawyers, serving as its Chair from 2007 to 2009.  Additionally...she has served on the MWL Advisory Board in 2009 to 2010, and 2012 through the present...Terry is intensely involved in our Twin Ports community, as well as the greater northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin regions...It is an honor to work with an attorney who has given the legal community, and indeed the community at large, so much of her time, efforts and expertise throughout the years."

Leadership Award
Minnesota Women Lawyers is honored to present the 2016 Leadership Award to Nilan Johnson Lewis, PA for its efforts to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.

From the Award Nomination: “Nilan Johnson Lewis has a long-standing commitment to the recruitment and retention of female attorneys...Today, women attorneys at NJL are: 39% of NJL shareholders; 43% of all NJL attorneys; and 60% of the NJL Board...Through a realistic, carefully developed approach, NJL has made it possible for its dynamic and talented women lawyers to excel in their many dedicated roles, both in and outside the firm...NJL has implemented several policies and practices that demonstrate the firm's commitment to the retention of women.  And, most importantly the members of the firm have not just tolerated, but have actively supported these accommodations...NJL promotes flexibility of attorneys to work during the hours of the day and at locations that best fit their lives and their clients' needs...At the shareholder level, NJL has formalized a program allowing for customized expectations regarding productivity and compensation, enhancing retention of talented and experienced attorneys...Women hold many of the leadership roles within NJL.  Three of the firm's five practice groups are chaired by women, and all of NJL's management working groups are also chaired or co-chaired by women...In 2016, with the election of two shareholders to the board of directors, the leadership team at Nilan Johnson Lewis is now majority female...NJL has an active mentoring program...[and] the firm encourages all attorneys to seek out 'informal' attorney mentors...NJL embraces and insists upon a strong commitment to a team-driven culture that supports employees during times of family change, including parental leave and other life-demanded absences, to make sure their career advancements aren't unnecessarily impaired."

Service to MWL Award
For their expertise and support in the development of the MWL Gender Data Project, MWL is honored to present the 2016 Service to MWL Award to the 2014-2015 MWL Parity Committee Co-Chairs: 

Hon. Elizabeth Cutter, Hennepin County District Court

Adine S. Momoh, Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Hon. Kathleen Sanberg, United States Bankruptcy Court

Kate Westad, Lommen Abdo


From the Award Nomination: "[The Gender Data Project was a result of the MWL Parity Committee's work to] (i) determine the current status of all women lawyers in Minnesota, (ii) identify the barriers to parity, (iii) consider the most effective methods to overcome those barriers, and (iv) implement specific action steps towards achieving parity.  MWL intends to continue to conduct this data analysis every three-five years, not only to establish a long-term baseline, but also to gauge trends within the Minnesota legal profession and ultimately to address the issues that the Parity Taskforce initially raised, such as identifying specific action steps towards achieving parity and equity for all attorneys registered in Minnesota, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender." Through their dedication and efforts, these individuals embody the essence of the Service to MWL Award, significantly advancing the organization towards the fulfillment of its mission, and demonstrating initiative, innovation and leadership.  

Equal Justice Award
MWL is honored to present the 2016 Equal Justice Award to Mitchell Hamline School of Law Student Amanda Mangan for her article entitled “A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out: An Approach for Minnesota to Enact a Homeless Bill of Rights."

All Minnesota law school students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice. Submissions are judged on the following five criteria: Significance, Originality, Presentation, Persuasiveness and Impact.

MWL Foundation Law Student Scholarship
The Minnesota Women Lawyers Foundation is honored to present its 2016 Law Student Scholarship to Chelsey Jonason, University of Minnesota Law School Student.

All Minnesota law students are invited to apply for MWL Foundation’s Law Student Scholarship. The goal of the scholarship is to provide aid to students attending a Minnesota law school who demonstrate an interest in furthering the mission of Minnesota Women Lawyers, "To advance the success of women in the legal profession and strive for a just society.”


MWL Foundation Leslie Altman Memorial Scholarship

The Minnesota Women Lawyers Foundation is honored to present the 2016 Leslie Altman Memorial Scholarship to Kindra Seifert, Mitchell Hamline School of Law Student.


All Minnesota law students are invited to apply for MWL Foundation's Leslie Altman Memorial Scholarship.  Minnesota Women Lawyers Foundation established the MWL Foundation Leslie Altman Memorial Law Student Scholarship to honor a mentor and true champion of women lawyers. The scholarship honors the accomplishments of Leslie Altman who achieved outstanding recognition as a lawyer and served as an unconditional advocate for women in the profession and in a just society, until her passing in the fall of 2012.


Minnesota Women Lawyers is an association of nearly 1,300 attorneys, judges, law students and legal employers, dedicated to advancing the success of women attorneys and striving for a just society. The MWL Foundation was formed to support the charitable activities and mission of Minnesota Women Lawyers. Visit our website at


Minnesota Women Lawyers
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 390B
Minneapolis, MN 55402

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