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Brian Melendez became the 83rd, and youngest, president of the HCBA on July 1, 2001. In accepting the gavel of leadership from outgoing president Aaron Biber, Melendez began a one-year term leading Minnesota’s largest local bar association (also the nation’s ninth largest), representing nearly 8000 lawyers.
While becoming its youngest president, Brian brought a wide array of bar leadership experience at local, state and national levels to his new role. He began his presidential year as he completed his year as chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the world’s second-largest voluntary professional association – second only to the ABA itself.
Immediately following his graduation from both the Harvard Law School (J.D.) and Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S. in ethics) in 1991, Melendez accepted a position with the Faegre & Benson law firm. A partner in the firm since 1999, Melendez focuses his practice in business litigation. Originally from the east coast, and never having even visited Minnesota until he interviewed and accepted a position with the firm, Melendez credits his involvement in the bar association’s New Lawyers Section for making him feel he had become part of the Minnesota community. Part of his focus during his presidency will be on recruiting, integrating and retaining young lawyers, as they will become the bar’s future leaders.
In his acceptance speech at the bar’s annual meeting, Melendez also challenged colleagues to actively and proudly carry the responsibility of the profession – ". . . to bring the benefits of due process, equal protection, and constitutional democracy to the underrepresented, the have-nots, and the discriminated-against, as well as those who can afford legal services."
Investing himself heavily in the community, Melendez serves with a variety of law-related, educational, religious, and political organizations, a few of which are: Volunteer Lawyers Network, American Bar Foundation (Fellow), American Institute of Parliamentarians, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and DFL Party of Minnesota (Chair of Senate District 59 and of the Minneapolis DFL Party).