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Minnesota Women Lawyers Announces its 2019 Award Recipients

Thursday, April 11, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Hannah Zuercher

Minnesota Women Lawyers Announces its 2019 Annual Awards Recipients

Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to announce its 2019 Annual Award recipients. The Awards will be presented at MWL's 47th Annual Meeting on April 26th, 2019.


The Myra Bradwell Award will be presented to Judith Oakes, Rogness & Field, PA. This award is presented to an MWL member who expresses the highest ideals of the legal profession and who possesses the qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell such as courage, perseverance and leadership on issues of concern to women. 


The MWL Leadership Award will be presented to Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. This award recognizes legal employers throughout the state that strive to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.


The Service to MWL Award will be presented to Pam Rochlin, Rochlin Law Firm, Ltd.  This award is designed to recognize the MWL member, group of members or 100% club member whose efforts during the past program year have contributed substantially to advance MWL’s mission.


The MWL Equal Justice Award will be presented to Alicia Granse in recognition of her article entitled “Gun Control and the Color of the Law.”  All Minnesota law students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice. 



Myra Bradwell Award

MWL is honored to present the 2019 Myra Bradwell Award to Judith Oakes, Rogness & Field, PA 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 Submitted by Judith M. Rush, Attorney at Law:
Judy Oakes has consistently demonstrated the highest ideals of the legal profession throughout her 50 years of practice and possesses the qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell. Judy has demonstrated her commitment to issues of concern to women throughout her long career in many ways through service to Minnesota Women Lawyers, the legal profession, and her broader community. Judy led MWL as President from 1974-1976, chaired MWL's Appointments Committee from 1976-1978 and its Endorsement Election Task Force from 1997 to 1998. Judy's service to MWL was recognized in 2001 when she received the MWL Service to Women Lawyers Award and in 2007 for her Certificate of Distinguished Service to MWL.

Judy has blazed the trail for women lawyers around the state. Judy's courage brought her to law school at a time when there were only three women in her 200 member law school class at the University of Minnesota. Her courage kept her there, as she and her female classmates bore the brunt of the learning curve as law school faculty and male classmates adjusted to having women in their ranks. She persevered  through challenges placed in her way by some of her male classmates, and earned the respect and friendship of many of them in the process.

In 1974, Judy and her colleague, the Honorable Judge Harriet Lansing, decided to do something about being the only women in their public sector offices by opening their own firm, the first women-owned law firm in the State. The Pioneer Press headline read: "All-Women Law Firm Opens in Park Square."  Shortly after opening the firm, Judy joined the two other female instructors at William Mitchell College of Law as an adjunct faculty member.

Judy blazed another trail as she sought to vindicate the rights for victims of sex, race, and age discrimination. Judy was the champion for women police officers, flight attendants, newspaper reporters, construction workers and other men and women who faced discrimination in their workplaces and was recognized for her work in the book Sue your Boss. She has also contributed  to the development the law through  the groundbreaking McClelland case which established a presumption of permanent spousal maintenance for women who had dedicated  their lives to careers in the home and whose future ability to become self-supporting was uncertain and her continuing work as a family law practitioner. Judy continues to show her commitment to equal access to the law through her pro bono family law work.

Finally, Judy has contributed her time, talent, and passion to the University of Minnesota Law School, most recently in her efforts to ensure that the future generation of lawyers (especially the women) have an opportunity to take a Women in Law course. Judy has demonstrated courage as a law student and law in the face of both explicit and implicit bias. She has persevered by fighting discrimination on behalf of others. And by her leadership, Judy has made the path smoother for the women lawyers who follow her.  She is a woman of great courage and strength who has faced and overcome significant obstacles, though not without scars.

Leadership Award

Minnesota Women Lawyers is honored to present the 2019 Leadership Award to the law firm of Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. for its efforts to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.

From the Award Nomination:
Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. (St. Cloud, MN) strives to enhance the status; influence, and effectiveness of women lawyers and staff both within our firm and through participation in outside associations and memberships. Our  attorneys  empower and uplift one another by living our core values and through encouragement, training, and mentorship.

 Our firm also encourages and promotes women to fill leadership roles outside the organization. Our female attorneys hold, or have held, leadership roles in local, state and international organizations including the Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Women Lawyers, Minnesota Defense Lawyers  Association, Association of Defense Trial  Attorneys, Inns of Court, Seventh  District Bar Association,  Stearns Benton Bar Association, Light the Legacy, and the Minnesota Judicial Selection Commission as well as many other community and civic organizations and clubs.

Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. is very supportive of its entire female staff. Our firm promotes and allows for  a healthy  work-life  balance  which  is  necessary  for  all  attorneys  and  staff,  but particularly working mothers. Remote participation allows for medical appointments, sporting events, and snow days. Also, in recent years, Quinlivan & Hughes has revisited and revamped its family leave policy to allow more paid time off for female attorneys. And when developing its new building in 2015, it included a comfortable and well-equipped lactation room.

But while the above is great, one of the best things about the promotion and encouragement of hiring female attorneys and getting them to positions of leadership within this firm is that such encouragement  does not just come from the female attorneys within, but also our male counterparts. I believe this defines a firm that secures equal participation of women in the legal profession; that is one that does not let sex define or control who rises to the top. We ensure equality, and hire and retain good attorneys, regardless of gender and give credit where credit is due.

Service to MWL Award

The Service to MWL Award was created to recognize the MWL member, group of members, legal employer Partner or 100% Club member whose efforts have contributed substantially to advance MWL's mission. Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to present the 2019 Service to MWL Award to Pam Rochlin, Rochlin Law Firm, Ltd.  

From the Award Nomination:
Pam is a past-president of MWL and has held many MWL positions in the past, including but not limited to, Board of Directors Secretary, chair of the Staffing Taskforce, MWL Attorney Mentor Program Co-Chair, MWL Foundation Board of Directors Secretary, and an active member of various taskforces and committees. Pam made it a priority during her term to deliberately reach out to other Minnesota affinity bar organizations.  Affinity bar leaders have said that Pam stands out in their minds as an MWL president who made those efforts and that their organizations recognized and appreciated Pam’s efforts. 

Pam is also a founding board member and current president-elect of the MWL Foundation. In her role as a Foundation board member, Pam has served as the lead of the former Law Student Scholarship Working Group (now the Silent Auction Sub-Group) for several years. Along with MWL’s staff, Pam has been a driving force for the past few years in ensuring the silent auction is a success. She reaches out to potential donors, collects donations, organizes donations, and helps set up for the silent auction. MWL could not make our annual silent auction happen without Pam’s leadership. 


Pam's leadership and selfless dedication across the organization has, and continues to make a tremendous impact on Minnesota Women Lawyers and it's mission.

Equal Justice Award

MWL is honored to present the 2019 Equal Justice Award to University of Minnesota Law Student Alicia Granse in recognition of her article entitled “Gun Control and the Color of the Law.” All Minnesota law school students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice.


Alicia Granse is sad to bid goodbye this year to the University of Minnesota Law School, where she has enjoyed being a student director in the Detainee Rights Clinic and the Editor-in-Chief of Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice. She does, however, find a great deal of comfort in the fact that she will be joining the Hennepin County Public Defenders in August.




MWL members and the entire legal community are invited to join us in honoring the 2019 MWL Annual Award recipients.  Registration for MWL's 47th Annual Meeting on Friday, April 26th, is available HERE.


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. Visit our website at


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

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