News Release: March 20, 2014
Minneapolis: -- Each year, the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) recognizes three attorneys who have made a significant contribution through pro bono service. The Pro Bono Publico awards are presented to lawyers in recognition of the time, knowledge, and devotion given in service to the community. The recipients of the 2014 awards were presented at the 34th annual Bar Benefit on Tuesday, March 11, where family, friends, and colleagues joined together to celebrate, honor, and support the high ideals represented by these individuals. Attorneys Jay Wilkinson, Perry M. Wilson, and Judge Jay Quam were recognized for their commitment to pro bono service.
Three distinct award categories honor the dedication of volunteer services. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual for career-long volunteer work on behalf of the community and the two Excellence Awards recognize current or recent excellence in service by individuals–one from the private sector and one from the public sector.
Jay Wilkinson is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Wilkinson joined Legal Aid in 1978. As a new attorney he worked on federal litigation cases including Legal Aid’s lawsuit that integrated Minneapolis’ fire department. Early on, Wilkinson recognized that stabilizing the lives of at-risk and abandoned teens gives them not only short-term benefits but also the best hope of becoming contributing members of society. He pursued that vision, securing the financial and programmatic commitment to create and sustain Legal Aid’s Youth Law Project. For over 15 years Wilkinson staffed and supervised this project, helping teenagers navigate difficult life and legal situations and envision pathways to better lives. The project Wilkinson created and nurtured continues to serve the at-risk youth of our community.
The 2014 Pro Bono Publico Award for Excellence by an Attorney in the Private Sector recognizes Perry M. Wilson of Dorsey & Whitney, recently retired. Wilson has a long and distinguished career supporting pro bono activities on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. At Dorsey & Whitney since 1981, he began early to represent pro se parties in conciliation court and housing court. He continues to do this work 32 years later, representing parties in housing court several times each month.
Judge Jay Quam is the recipient of the Pro Bono Publico Award for Excellence by an Attorney in the Public/Government/Judicial Sector. During his 18 year career at Fredrikson & Byron, Quam was active in pro bono, averaging over 165 hours per year throughout his career. Quam handled a wide range of cases and provided advice to clients from Volunteer Lawyers Network, Catholic Charities, Legal Access Point, and others. Quam was also on the Board of Directors of Volunteer Lawyers Network and Central Minnesota Legal Services. Since Quam’s elevation to the bench, he can no longer provide advice to individual clients, but he has been supportive of pro bono in myriad ways ranging from speaking at events to encourage pro bono service by attorneys to participating on task forces seeking innovative ways to serve those in need.
The HCBA is proud to recognize these members, each highly deserving of honor, as individuals who rise to the call and volunteer their time and knowledge for the benefit of our community. The HCBA also proudly supports legal access for all through a variety of direct service programs, through its support and partnership with Volunteer Lawyers Network, and through significant grants made to legal service providers by the Hennepin County Bar Foundation.
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