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Mary Vasaly became the 90th president of the Hennepin County Bar Association on July 1, 2008. Vasaly is a partner with Maslon Edelman Borman and Brand where her practice focuses on appeals and civil trials, including probate and trust litigation and non-compete agreements. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and has appeared in cases before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Minnesota Supreme Court, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
A Minneapolis native, Vasaly completed both her undergraduate and law school years at the University of Minnesota. Following graduation, she immediately began employment with the Maslon law firm, where she has practiced for twenty-four years.
Vasaly has an extensive record of service in the legal community in addition to her four-year track to the HCBA presidency, and she remains active in the Hennepin County, Minnesota State, and American Bar Associations, as well as Minnesota Women Lawyers, where she was president during 2006-07. She has been named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, an honor limited to one-third of one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction, and she received the Minnesota State Bar Association’s President’s Award in 2006. She was named an “Attorney of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer in 2003. She has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of St. Thomas and University of Minnesota law schools. In addition, she gives of her time for pro bono service through the HCBA, Volunteer Lawyers Network, and the Children’s Law Center, for which she was awarded the Ramsey County Bar Association pro bono award in 2005. In addition to her activities in the legal community, Vasaly has served as a member of the City of Eden Prairie’s Board of Adjustments and Appeals and currently sits on the City of Edina’s Zoning Board.
Vasaly and her husband, Mike, have three adult children. In her personal time, she enjoys ballet dancing, yoga, tennis, and travel.
Vasaly has identified major challenges facing the legal profession and the community, such as inadequate funding of the judicial system and the public defenders’ office, and the difficulty of preserving fair and impartial courts at a time when judicial elections are becoming increasingly negative, partisan, and expensive. She believes that lawyers will work together to solve these problems, because public service is ultimately immensely satisfying and part of a long tradition of lawyers serving the community. Vasaly notes: “I think the greatest current challenge for any bar organization comes from the changing nature of the practice of law and its effect on lawyers’ ability to volunteer to serve organizations and individuals in need. However, once a person does volunteer, he or she tends to become ‘hooked’ on the experience because of the many rewards that come from public service.”
Vasaly’s broad experience with and passion for the profession predict a busy and productive year for the association and its 8,000 members.