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Lawyer and Law Firm Recognized for Commitment to Diversity
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News Release: May 1, 2012

Minneapolis: --  The Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 HCBA Diversity Awards. Consistent with the HCBA mission to serve the needs of a diverse membership by advancing collegiality, professionalism, ethical conduct, and competence in the legal profession, the association recognizes Leslie Altman,with Littler Mendelson,as this year’s honoree for the award recognizing an individual, and Leonard, Street and Deinard as this year’s honoree for the award recognizing a law firm. Presentation of the awards will take place at the HCBA Annual Meeting on May 24  Leslie Altman has been a dedicated advocate for gender equity and diversity in the legal profession throughout her career. She is a past president of the Minnesota Women Lawyers, a former director of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, and has participated in the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession. She has twice chaired the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Diversity Task Force, where she led a large team of legal professionals in surveying the progress of women and minorities in the legal field in Minnesota. The success of Altman’s work can be seen in the increasing visibility and discussion of diversity and gender equity in the legal profession, which in turn has led law firms to address historical disparities and attract and retain a diverse workforce. 

As a legal employer, Leonard, Street and Deinard demonstrates a strong commitment to diversity through a variety of initiatives. The awards committee took note of the firm’s commitment to communicating the case for diversity, creating a more welcoming office culture, and fostering effective mentoring programs. Leonard Street was one of the first major law firms in Minnesota to make a woman attorney a partner, and is the only Twin Cities law firm to offer comprehensive scholarship and professional development programs to all four Minnesota law schools. Through these actions and many others, diversity is shown to be a core value at Leonard, Street and Deinard.