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CONGRATULATIONS: MWL Announces its 2020 Annual Awards Recipients

Friday, April 24, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Debra Pexa

Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to congratulate the recipients of its 2020 Annual Awards.


PLEASE NOTE: since MWL’s 2020 Annual Awards would have been presented at the now-cancelled 48th Annual Meeting, MWL looks forward to scheduling another event in the future at which we will have the opportunity to  recognize our esteemed honorees in-person.  More details will be announced as available.   

The MWL Myra Bradwell Award recipient is Gloria Stamps-Smith. 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 recipient is MADEL PA. 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 recipient is Judge Jacqueline Regis.  This award is designed to recognize the MWL member, group of members or 100% club member whose efforts, during the past program year or over a longer period of time, have contributed substantially to advance MWL’s mission.
The MWL Equal Justice Award recipient is Meghan Knapp, University of Minnesota 3L law student, in recognition of her article entitled “Romani Women’s Right to Water: Bringing Intersectional Discrimination Claims in the E. U.”  MWL is also pleased to present an Honorable Mention Award to Jackie Fielding, University of Minnesota 3L law student, for her article entitled “Silence is Golden: Requiring Attorney Consultation and Cosigning Before a Juvenile Can Waive Their (Precious) Miranda Rights.”  All Minnesota law students were invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice. 

Congratulations to all 2020 Annual Award recipients and nominees. MWL is grateful for the your tremendous impact in our legal community and beyond!




MWL Myra Bradwell Award

MWL is honored to present the 2020 Myra Bradwell Award to Gloria Stamps-Smith 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.


ABOUT GLORIA STAMPS-SMITH:  Gloria Stamps-Smith is an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney in the Adult Services Department. She represents hospitals, the courts, and social workers in the civil commitment of people experiencing a mental health crisis or struggling with chemical dependency. Stamps-Smith graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law and is a proud summa cum laude graduate of Jackson State University in Mississippi.


Ms. Stamps-Smith grew up in Mississippi and believes the mentors she had growing up inspired her commitment to serving others to her community. She states she has always been surrounded by strong women who instilled in her the value of giving back to the community and showed her the rippling impact of servant leadership. Ms. Stamps-Smith also enjoyed learned about strong women in American history. Harriet Tubman and Shirly Chisolm were two historic “sheroes” who greatly influenced Stamp-Smith. Harriet Tubman – a slave who escaped to freedom but would not rest until she rescued as many slaves as her body would allow, placing her own life and freedom in jeopardy – exemplified not being comfortable when others are suffering.  Shirley Chisolm who famously said “service is the rent we pay for living on this earth” reminds Stamps-Smith that she is called to serve others and that calling is greatest when the difficulty is greatest.


Ms. Stamps-Smith began her career as the first African American woman attorney in the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office.  And later became the first African American attorney to work for the Supreme Court of Tennessee’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Ms. Stamps-Smith later joined the Hennepin County Attorney’s office where she worked in the Juvenile Prosecution Division for 15 years before joining the Adult Services Department.


Ms. Stamps-Smith has a passion for uplifting the next generation of lawyers. She has devoted her career to mentoring and championing women law students and young lawyers. Ms. Stamps-Smith is a mentor through the University of St. Thomas Mentor Externship Program and the Mitchell Hamline Mentoring Program.  She also mentors  young lawyers in her office, through the Hennepin County Bar Association, and through the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.


Ms. Stamps-Smith has served in leadership roles in numerous bar associations. These include:

  • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL), founding member, president 2008 to 2010 and current board member
  • MABL Judicial Selection Committee, founding member and current member
  • Infinity Project, president 2014
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, executive board member, Diversity and Inclusion Chair 2017 to 2018
  • Minnesota Women’s Lawyers, Strategic Planning Committee 2017 to present
  • Volunteers Lawyers Network, board member 2016 to 2018
  • National Black Prosecutors, state representative 2005 to 2010

Ms. Stamps-Smith has also served on numerous community boards that service young people including The Bride for Youth (where she currently serves as a board member), Chrysalis Foundation for Women, Pilot City Neighborhood Services, North Minneapolis Restorative Justice, the Minnesota Judicial Branch Committee for Justice and Equality, and the African American Leadership Forum Education Group.


Ms. Stamps-Smith has received numerous awards for her service during her career. These include the 2019 Hennepin County Bar Association Excellence Award for Mentoring in the Profession, the 2018 Minnesota Lawyer Diversity and Inclusion Award, the 2018 University of St. Thomas Black Law Student Association Attorney of the Year Award, and the 2011 Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers Profiles in Courage Award.


Ms. Stamps-Smith believes we are here for a reason. And part of that reason is to leave the world a little brighter than we found it by showing grace.



MWL Leadership Award

Minnesota Women Lawyers is honored to present the 2020 Leadership Award to the law firm of MADEL PA for its efforts to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.

ABOUT MADEL PA: Since its inception, MADEL PA has demonstrated its commitment to enhance the status, influence, and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ. The information below demonstrates the objective steps and measures MADEL PA has taken to advance women in the profession:


  ●   Chris Madel began the firm with a few members from his previous law firm, including Jenny Robbins, who serves as MADEL PA’s managing partner.

  ●   Three of the six Partners at MADEL PA are women (50%)

  ●   Eight of the thirteen full-time people working at MADEL PA are women (62%)

  ●   In an Attorney at Law article, Jenny Robbins said, “Chris has always given me opportunities to lead from early on. I try to empower people to make decision on their own. We have an environment here of mutual trust.” Furthermore, Jenny states “I want to advance women in the profession, and my colleagues here are just as invested in making sure women in the profession are treated fairly and well.”

   ●   MADEL PA gives back to the profession by providing regular assistance to defendants referred to the firm by the Federal Defender’s office and engaging in various other types of pro bono services.

  ●   Two of the Partners at MADEL PA serve on the Board of Minnesota Women Lawyers, one of whom is on the Executive Committee and D&I Subcommittee.

  ●   Actively supporting their community, MADEL PA is a Diamond sponsor to the Innocence Project of Minnesota and an MWL Platinum Partner.

  ●   Among its many accolades and awards, MADEL PA was named a 2019 Best Place to Work by Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal for a second time.

  ●   In an article recognizing the MSPBJ 2019 Best Places to Work, MADEL Partner Cassie Merrick explained why the firm is a special place to work, “Our culture is transparent and fun, and we emphasize working as a team. We care less about a person’s position or level in any hierarchy and focus more on coming up with the best ideas as a team to solve our clients’ problems collaboratively.” She goes on to say “We plan to keep doing great legal work, getting excellent results for our clients, and enjoying our work and our time with each other along the way.

  ●   MADEL PA was selected as one of Minnesota’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” as designated by Minnesota Business.


Through its recruitment, hiring and retention practices, and advancement of women, MWL is pleased to recognize MADEL PA for its efforts to champion the success of women attorneys and strive for a just society


Service to MWL Award

Minnesota Women Lawyers is honored to present the 2020 Service to MWL Award to Judge Jacqueline Regis.  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.


FROM THE AWARD: This year, MWL is pleased to celebrate the 20th anniversary of two initiatives that continue to be vital to MWL’s mission: the MWL Advisory Board and the Service to MWL Award.  Developed under the leadership of FY 2000-2001 MWL President Judge Jacqueline Regis, both have had a tremendous impact on MWL and its work to advance the success of women attorneys and strive for a just society. 


Since its inception, the MWL Advisory Board’s membership has been made up of experienced women lawyers who reflect the diversity of MWL’s membership. Through their candid and astute conversations, the MWL Advisory Board continues to serve as an idea-generator and a sounding board to MWL, providing invaluable guidance as the organization works towards its mission and goals.  In creating the MWL Advisory Board, and also serving as a member since its very first meeting, Judge Regis’s innovation and leadership have been key to MWL’s continuing success. 


Furthermore, in establishing the Service to MWL Award, MWL has had the opportunity to recognize and thank the incredible work of so many dedicated MWL leaders. Not only does the annual award draw attention to each year’s recipient, but it also celebrates all of MWL’s volunteers whose dedication makes a vital impact across our community.  Now, with this recognition of Judge Regis, MWL is honored to acknowledge her with the very award she first created.


Finally, although many will fondly remember MWL’s 28th Annual Meeting presided-over by Judge Regis, given that United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor delivered the keynote remarks, it was another event that year, that was equally impactful.  Through Judge Regis’s leadership, MWL hosted an event featuring Karen Clanton, author of “Dear Sisters, Dear Daughters: Words of Wisdom from Multicultural Women Who’ve Been There and Done That.”  Through that seminal conversation 20 years ago with Ms. Clanton and other women of color from the Minnesota legal community, Judge Regis’s foresight helped lay the groundwork for MWL’s continuing efforts related to equity, diversity and inclusion.  Clearly, this work is as important to MWL today, as it was 20 years ago.


For her leadership and enduring legacy across the association, MWL is honored to recognize Judge Regis with the 2020 Service to MWL Award.

ABOUT JUDGE JACQUELINE REGIS: Jacqueline Regis, a former Minnesota Women Lawyers’ President (2000-2001) is currently a District Court Judge in the Fourth Judicial District-Hennepin County. Prior to her appointment in 2011 by Governor Dayton she served as Senior Associate General Counsel at UnitedHealth Group, Inc from 2005-2011. From 1996-2005, Regis was an attorney in the Legal Services Department at the St. Paul Travelers’ Insurance Companies. Prior to her work in the private sector she worked for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office as an Assistant Attorney General from 1985-1996. From 1990-1996, she was an adjunct professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law.


Regis served two elected terms as a delegate from Hennepin County to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates between 1999 and 2003. In 2002, she received a Presidential appointment to serve a three-year term as Commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Ethnic and Racial Diversity. She was a member of the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar Association from 1996-1997. Regis also was the Co-Chair of the MSBA Women in the Legal Profession Task Force that same year.


In addition to her contributions to diversity in the profession regarding racial minorities and women, she also served on the board of the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. In 2010 Regis co-chaired the Minnesota State Bar Association Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund Committee. She is a current Board member of the Minneapolis-St.Paul Alliance Française.

Equal Justice Award

MWL is honored to present the 2020 Equal Justice Award to University of Minnesota Law Student Meghan Knapp in recognition of her article entitled “Romani Women’s Right to Water: Bringing Intersectional Discrimination Claims in the E. U.” 


Additionally, this year, MWL will present an Honorable Mention award to University of Minnesota Law Student Jackie Fielding for her article entitled: "Silence is Golden: Requiring Attorney Consultation and Cosigning Before a Juvenile Can Waive Their (Precious) Miranda Rights.”


ABOUT MEGHAN KNAPP: Meghan Knapp is a 3L at the University of Minnesota Law School. She currently works as a research assistant for the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and she is a full-time intern with the Guernica Centre for International Justice, where she is working on multiple transitional justice projects in Latin America and Africa.  







ABOUT JACKIE FIELDING: Jackie Fielding is a 3L at the University of Minnesota Law School. Jackie has been pursuing social justice and public interest law throughout her legal education, from her work at the ALCU of Minnesota, to her summer at the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. She has enjoyed engaging with MWL and the Women's Law Student Association at the U of M, serving on the WLSA board as the Bookroom Coordinator. Jackie looks forward to a career of helping others, through civil rights advocacy, criminal justice reform, or employment law.






All Minnesota law school students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice. 




MWL members and the entire legal community are invited to join us in congratulating the 2020 MWL Annual Award recipients.   We look forward to the opportunity in the near future to recognize our esteemed award recipients in-person. 


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





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