Minneapolis: -- The Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) is pleased to announce that one individual and one organization are the recipients of 2010 Advancement of Justice Awards. Presentation of the awards will take place at the HCBA Annual Meeting on May 20.
Andrea Bischoff and the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition are this year’s honorees. The Advancement of Justice Award is the only award given by the HCBA to honor the work of agencies or individuals who are not lawyers. The award is given in recognition of contributions toward improving the administration of justice, achieving freedom through law, or increasing the public’s understanding of the legal profession and justice system.
Andrea Bischoff, an applications support specialist with Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, is being recognized for her volunteer work with Minnesota Wills for Heroes, a program created to provide first responders with basic wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives at no cost. Bischoff has served as an essential bridge between the responders and the volunteer attorneys for the program. More than 3,000 wills have been prepared for first responders and their families, due in large part to Bischoff’s passion and tireless devotion to build and expand the program. She has driven over 10,000 miles around the state to promote and organize this volunteer effort.
The Minnesota Second Chance Coalition receives the award as an agency. The Coalition, led by Sarah Walker, chief operating officer with 180 Degrees, Inc., is a diverse coalition of over forty organizations providing a united voice for justice reform. The Coalition is raising awareness about the struggles of those who are seeking to rebuild their lives despite criminal records, and is changing the public dialogue around public safety from one solely focused on punishment to one focused on best practices and successful reentry. Since 2008, the public policy impact of the Coalition has been considerable, both in legislative action (such as the juvenile omnibus policy bills) and in administrative changes by state agencies based upon the Coalition’s recommendations.
The Hennepin County Bar Association, the largest of Minnesota's 21 county bar associations and representing almost half of Minnesota's attorneys, is a private, non-profit organization which provides or supports many free or low-cost services to the public including: Volunteer Lawyers Network which provides free legal advice for low income people; Lawyer Referral and Information Services; public education programming; and financial grants through the Bar Foundation.