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HCBA Honors Two for Dedication to Professionalism
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News Release: May 02, 2013 

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 2013 Professionalism Awards will be presented at the annual meeting of the HCBA, Friday, May 17, recognizing the Honorable Bruce Peterson, judge of the 4th Judicial District Court, and Lindquist & Vennum attorney, David L. Sasseville.

Judge Bruce Peterson will receive the 2013 Professionalism Award for a judge, honoring his devotion to the profession and to the rule of law as well as the independence of the judiciary.

In nominating Peterson for the award, a judicial colleague placed emphasis on Peterson’s efforts to improve the administration of justice.  He, with a team of partners, created the Co-Parent Court as a part of Family Court in 2010, using federal, county, and foundation money.  Like other "problem-solving” courts like the drug and DWI courts, the Co-Parent Court focuses on a particularly destructive, recurring situation in district court. Its participants, often on public assistance, are drawn from high poverty areas, and are offered help from community agencies to find employment or deal with domestic violence, addictions, or mental health problems.  The mission of the Co-Parent Court is "to create a model for paternity establishment that supports co-parenting to improve the social, emotional, and financial outcomes for children, families, and communities.”  Peterson has a long record of pro bono service, and has been recognized by the HCBA with its Pro Bono Award prior to his elevation to the bench.  He serves faithfully on the HCBA Delivery of Legal Services committee, working with representatives of area legal services programs, encouraging focus on the needs of people who face additional hurdles in their access to the justice system.

David L. Sasseville is the recipient of the 2013 Professionalism Award for a lawyer.  Nominator William Wernz described Sasseville in this manner:  "Professionalism … includes lawyering skills, public service, collegiality, and an engagement with the deep things that characterize all true professions.  David’s life and career embody these traits."

Sasseville has chaired the Professionalism and Professional Conduct Section of the HCBA, arranging for many CLEs on these topics for his professional colleagues.  He has, himself, made more than 75 CLE presentations, and co-taught professional responsibility at William Mitchell College of Law.  He served from 2003 to 2009 on the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.  He has served, since 1993, as Lindquist and Vennum’s General Counsel and Ethics and Loss Prevention partner.  Sasseville has formally mentored students at the University of St. Thomas School of Law for five years, while informally mentoring many young associates at the firm.  He has been a go-to source for counsel on matters of ethics and professional conduct to many colleagues throughout the years.

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.