Minneapolis (06-15-07): -- Sonia Miller-Van Oort took the spotlight during the annual meeting of the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) as outgoing president Michael W. Unger presented her the ceremonial gavel for a term beginning July 1. Taking office as one of the association’s youngest presidents, Miller-Van Oort is a partner with Flynn, Gaskins & Bennett L.L.P. where she practices commercial litigation and product liability law.
After her undergraduate studies at Notre Dame, Miller-Van Oort studied law at the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana, graduating cum laude in 1997. She was an associate at Faegre & Benson before joining her current firm in 2002.
With husband Mark Van Oort, she is co-owner of a custom furniture company, Woodlines. The couple also has two young children, Quinn and Kiara. Those considerable responsibilities added to a long list of professional responsibilities, involvement in bar association activities, leadership in alumni groups, and other community involvement leave colleagues and friends like Lori Semke amazed and full of admiration at the new president’s “limitless energy and time management skills.”
Miller-Van Oort has an extensive record of bar association involvement both locally and nationally. With family roots in Ecuador, she is also proud to be a part of the Hispanic Bar Association. With a comparatively short law career at this point, it is not surprising that much of her bar association life has centered on the New Lawyers Sections, locally and nationally. In leadership in those organizations, she has focused considerable attention on youth and children, emphasizing public education about the law, learning civil rights and responsibilities, developing problem solving skills, and making the most of opportunities.
The presidency is the pinnacle of a five-year commitment to the association’s leadership team. For her year as HCBA president, Miller-Van Oort has identified three areas of emphasis: She would like to find ways to renew pride and honor in a worthy profession, work to promote and foster diversity – in its broadest sense – within the profession, and explore ways that the association can offer additional value and interest to its members.
She is passionate about encouraging new attorneys to be involved in the bar association. She believes that bar membership offers opportunities to serve, to grow professionally, and to develop leadership skills, in addition to being involved in the wide range of issues facing our society. She believes that bar involvement, with all of its opportunities, “ultimately leads to attorneys developing better professional relationships and being more satisfied with the profession itself.”
Her record of involvement with almost every aspect of bar association work will allow this new president to hit the ground running at full speed.
Also serving on the 2007-2008 Executive Committee of the Hennepin County Bar Association are:
Mary Vasaly, President-elect, Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand
Christopher Morris, Treasurer, Bassford Remele
Courtney Ward-Reichard, Secretary, Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson
Michael Unger, Past President, Unger Law Office
Cyrenthia Jordan, New Lawyers Section Chair, Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen.