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HCBA Honors Two for Dedication to Professionalism
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News Release: May 1, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS: -- The Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) recognizes two individuals each year—a judge and a lawyer—for their commitment to the highest of professional standards in the legal community. These professionalism awards are granted in the belief that professionalism serves the best interests of clients, fosters respect and trust between lawyers and the public, promotes the efficient resolution of disputes, and improves the administration of justice. The 2012 Professionalism Awards will be presented at the annual meeting of the HCBA, Thursday, May 24, recognizing the Honorable Toddrick Barnette, judge of the 4th Judicial District Court, and Henson & Efron attorney, Joseph T. Dixon, Jr.

Judge Toddrick Barnette will receive the 2012 Professionalism Award for a judge, recognizing his devotion to the profession and to the rule of law as well as the independence of the judiciary.

Former HCBA President Chris Morris, who participated in a judicial ride-a-long with Barnette, said "Judge Barnette showed remarkable patience and courtesy all day dealing with lawyers (who were often late of necessity, having been booked at concurrent criminal hearings), and strove to treat each defendant with respect and fairness.”

In addition to his judicial duties, Barnette has made significant contributions to the HCBA, having served on its search committee for an executive director, and currently serving on its Nominating Committee.

Barnette attended the University of Minnesota Law School and for undergraduate studies, George Washington University. Prior to becoming a judge in 2006, he served in the Office of the Hennepin County Attorney and also as a Hennepin County public defender.

Joseph Dixon is the recipient of the 2012 Professionalism Award for a lawyer.  The annual award is presented to a member of the Hennepin County Bar who "best exemplifies the pursuit of the practice of law as a profession, including the spirit of public service and promotion of the highest level of competence, integrity, and ethical conduct.”

Dixon’s career has focused extensively on the successful resolution of business disputes. He has also been engaged with Volunteer Lawyers Network ever since he took his first case over 40 years ago.  In nominating Dixon, a colleague pointed to "Joe’s strong character and heart for helping.”

Since the very beginning of his career, Dixon has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the profession and to supporting legal services to the disadvantaged through his activity on many boards. He served on the board of the Volunteer Lawyers Network (formerly known as the Legal Advice Clinic) for over 20 years and he has participated in the MSBA’s Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee for the past 25 years. In addition, he has served on numerous statewide task forces and planning committees through the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Dixon attended the University of Minnesota Law School as well as for his undergraduate studies. Currently, he practices commercial and business litigation in both federal and state courts.

The Hennepin County Bar Association is the largest of Minnesota’s local bar associations, with a membership of 8,400 members, serving the profession and the public.