Minneapolis (5-24-07): -- The Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) is pleased to announce Helen Palmer as the recipient of the 2007 Advancement of Justice Award. Presentation of the award was made May 24th at the HCBA Annual Meeting.
The Advancement of Justice Award is the only award given by the HCBA to honor the work of an agency or individual who is not a lawyer. 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.
The award was given to Helen Palmer, immediate past president of the League of Women Voters Minnesota (LWVMN) to recognize the work and contribution made during her time with the organization. Founded in 1920 by those who had fought for women's suffrage, the League is a nonpartisan, grassroots, volunteer organization that encourages active and informed participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. As president Palmer oversaw a wide variety of voter service, educational, and advocacy projects.
Palmer has also served as president of LWV-Rochester, and chair of the state Action Committee that lobbies on a broad range of issues. For over three years she represented LWVMN on a state-appointed committee to produce a generic environmental impact statement regarding animal agriculture in Minnesota. She co-chaired the League’s state study that led to the publication of Choosing Minnesota's Judges (1999), which she co-authored. She served on former Governor Quie's Commission on the Preservation of an Impartial Judiciary, the final report of which has just been published. “Ms. Palmer was not paid for this work [on the Quie Commission],” says Mary Vasaly of Maslon Edelman Borman and Brand,
“Her motivation was her devotion to the rule of law and the American justice system. This is a significant and important contribution, particularly from a non-lawyer member of the public. Her work, particularly if a change in the system is achieved, will directly improve the administration of justice.”
Palmer has a B.A. in French from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in French language and literature from Brown University. She has taught at a number of colleges and universities, most notably at Union College in New York, where she was a professor of French and chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
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; TEL-LAW, a legal information message system available at no charge in local calling areas; Lawyer Referral and Information Services; public education programming; and financial grants through the Bar Foundation.