Minneapolis (January 20, 2011): 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 in recognition of the time, knowledge, and devotion given utilizing legal skills for the good of our community. The recipients of the 2011 awards were announced this week, and they will be honored at the 31st annual Bar Benefit on Tuesday, March 8, where family, friends, and colleagues join together to celebrate, honor, and support the high ideals represented by these individuals. Attorneys Thomas W. Tinkham, Keith S. Moheban, and Rick J. Macpherson lll will be 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/judicial sector.
Thomas W. Tinkham, recipient of The Distinguished Service Award, is Of Counsel at Dorsey & Whitney, where he formerly served as chair of the Commercial Litigation practice group. Tinkham is a past president of both the HCBA and the Minnesota State Bar Association, and during those terms led efforts to improve access to the judicial system by low-income people and to increase pro bono service in the profession. For more than 35 years, Tinkham has been an active volunteer with Volunteer Lawyers Network in a variety of leadership roles, and has also provided legal services to hundreds of disadvantaged individuals. He has also served on the board and as chair for The Fund for the Legal Aid Society.
Throughout his career, Tinkham has worked tirelessly to ensure that those most in need in the community are not denied access to our courts. He has maintained this commitment to personal service to individuals and the community while carrying the considerable demands of a busy trial practice.
Keith S. Moheban, will be recognized with the Private Sector Pro Bono Excellence Award. Moheban, a shareholder with Leonard Street and Deinard, co-chaired the firm’s Pro Bono Committee from 1995 until 2007. During that time he also served on the firm’s Legal Clinic Intake and Screening Committee, which met weekly to screen all new cases from the Phillips neighborhood to determine eligibility, case merit, and volunteer assignment. Moheban frequently reminds colleagues that “practicing law is a privilege that requires responsibility to ensure that everyone has equal access to the law.” He views the firm’s legal clinic as a “reality check” for attorneys.
Rick J. Macpherson lll received the Public/Judicial Sector Pro Bono Excellence Award. Macpherson has been a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis and has championed the rights of people with disabilities since 1994, earning a national reputation. As a result of his advocacy, deaf people now have improved access to medical care in our state. In addition to his advocacy, Macpherson has trained hundreds of attorneys and mediators on disability discrimination law, and trained new state court judges on communication access in the courts. Macpherson has made a significant difference in lives of individuals, but has also helped to reshape the systems of justice in Minnesota.
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 as well as through significant grants made to legal service providers by the Hennepin County Bar Foundation.