Print Page | Sign In | Join HCBA
HCBA Honors Koch, Burns for Professionalism
Share |

NEWS RELEASE: May 12, 2017

Minneapolis— The Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) recognizes two individuals for their commitment to the highest professional standards in the legal community with the Professionalism Award. This year’s awardees are two prominent members of the Minnesota legal community, Judge William H. Koch (Fourth Judicial District) and Patrick R. Burns (Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility). They will be recognized by the HCBA at its annual meeting on June 1.  The award is given to lawyers who best exemplify the practice of law as a profession, which includes a spirit of public service and promotion of the highest possible level of competence, integrity, and ethical conduct.    

Judge William H. Koch exemplifies what it means to be an engaged and active member of the legal community. Appointed to the bench in 2007, Koch is known for his respect, integrity, and diligence both in and out of the courtroom.

Even though he manages a heavy caseload, Koch has dutifully served the bar in a number of ways. He is a long-serving member of the HCBA Board of Directors and he is always willing to volunteer for other association tasks, like serving on the HCBA Executive Director Search Committee. In addition, he takes on projects for the HCBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, interviews law students for the 1L Minority Clerkship Program, and edits issues for the Hennepin Lawyer magazine.

Koch is a champion of public outreach of the justice system. In 2016, he organized a community dialogue on race and justice that featured judges, community leaders, and law enforcement officials. He recruits a diverse array of authors to write on pertinent subjects for the Hennepin Lawyer, and he has organized well-attended panels on criminal justice issues. 

Patrick R. Burns has worked for the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (OLPR) for nearly three decades. Throughout his career, Burns has been a dedicated advocate for legal ethics.

Burns currently works as deputy director for the OLPR, and he has worked in various positions throughout the organization. Burns takes his work out into the community by teaching law school courses on professional responsibility and speaking at Continuing Legal Education seminars for lawyers.

Burns also serves as the OLPR liaison to the Fourth District Ethics Committee, where he has personally taught hundreds of ethics investigators—both lawyers and members of the public—on how to conduct ethics investigations.  He also sits on the MSBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee.

In addition to his work with the OLPR, Burns also works to ensure access to justice through work with Volunteer Lawyers Network. He served as chair of VLN’s board of directors. He also chairs the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee. He also is part of the Supreme Court’s Legal Services Advisory Committee.


The Hennepin County Bar Association is the largest of Minnesota’s local bar associations, with a membership of nearly 8,000 members, serving the profession and the public. 

 # # # # #