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Minnesota Women Lawyers Announces its 2018 Annual Awards Recipients

Tuesday, April 10, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Hannah Zuercher



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  

April 30, 2018
Contact: Debra Pexa (612/338-3205; dpexa@mwlawyers.org)

Minnesota Women Lawyers Announces its 2018 Annual Awards Recipients

Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to announce its 2018 Annual Award recipients. The Awards were presented at MWL's 46th Annual Meeting on April 27th, 2018.

 

The Myra Bradwell Award was presented to Luz Maria Frias, President and CEO of YWCA Minneapolis. This award is presented to an MWL member who expresses the highest ideals of the legal profession and who possesses the qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell such as courage, perseverance and leadership on issues of concern to women. 

 

The MWL Leadership Award was presented to Fish & Richardson P.C.  This award recognizes legal employers throughout the state that strive to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.

 

The Service to MWL Award was presented to Veena Iyer, Shareholder at Nilan Johnson Lewis PA.  This award is designed to recognize the MWL member, group of members or 100% club member whose efforts during the past program year have contributed substantially to advance MWL’s mission.

 

The MWL Equal Justice Award was presented to Rebecca Rosefelt in recognition of her article entitled “Empowerment to Breastfeed as a Right: Making Minneapolis a Global Leader in Women’s Rights.”  An Honorable Mention Award will be presented to Trevor Matthews for his article entitled “Most Integrated Setting: Omstead, Fry and Segregated Public Schools for Students with Disabilities." All Minnesota law students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice. 

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Myra Bradwell Award
MWL is honored to present the 2018 Myra Bradwell Award to Luz Maria Frias, President and CEO of YWCA Minneapolis for expressing the highest ideals of the legal profession and possessing qualities exemplified by Myra Bradwell such as courage, perseverance, and leadership on issues of concern to women.

 

From the Award Nomination: Submitted by Pamela Rochlin, Rochlin Law Firm Ltd.:

Luz Frias has been a long-time member of MWL and is a past-president of our organization. She has participated in numerous MWL committees, task-forces and MWL projects throughout her membership in MWL- too many to list here. Luz continues as an active member of MWL’s Advisory Committee…What I do know about Luz is from personal conversations with her over the years, as well as from articles about the work she has done for the community.

 

Much of Luz’s life has been spent building bridges between cultures and communities. Raised by her parents who emigrated from Mexico, Luz grew up on the west side of Chicago in a neighborhood where many did not speak English. As young as 10 years old, Luz began accompanying her parents’ friends and neighbors to job interviews, government offices or other meetings so that she could interpret for them.

 

Not surprisingly given her history, the two issues that are of great importance to Luz are racial equality, and women and girl empowerment. After service as Mayor Chris Coleman’s external affairs director, she was appointed by him to serve as the Inaugural Director of the Human Rights and Economic Opportunity Department, where she redesigned the city’s procurement system with the goal to provide more opportunities for minority-owned business. The system she created resulted in substantial growth and contracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses, improving their generated revenue from one million per year to thirteen million per year.

 

Luz’s commitment to the success of women is driven by her sense of justice, by the inequities she has observed and fought against in her life and work, and by her desire that her two daughters be given the same opportunities and rights as men.

 

In 2016, Luz took over as president and CEO of YWCA Minneapolis. Describing her job as a “complete alignment of who I am as a person,” Luz says that the mission of the YWCA is to empower women and eliminate racism. These are values that have been ingrained in Luz and describe who she is- to her core.


Leadership Award
Minnesota Women Lawyers is honored to present the 2018 Leadership Award to the law firm of Fish & Richardson P.C. for its efforts to enhance the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers in their employ.

From the Award Nomination:

Fish is the largest intellectual property law firm in the country with more than 400 attorneys and technology specialists in the U.S. and Europe. The firm’s success is rooted in our creative and inclusive culture, which values the diversity of people, experiences, and perspectives. Fish has made a long-term commitment to building and sustaining this diverse and inclusive workforce. Currently, 16.8% of women are equity principals and 25% of women are non-equity principals. Women represented 50% of the attorneys promoted to equity principal and 45% of the attorneys promoted to non-equity principal this year. In 2017, 33% of the firm’s principal hires were women and nearly 40% of associate hires were women. Women play a meaningful role in firm governance. The nine-member elected Management Committee includes two women (one of whom is Hispanic), and the five-member elected Compensation Committee includes two women.

 

Many new and innovative initiatives were launched in 2017, in addition to Fish continuing to expand and improve existing programs and policies to attract, retain and promote women at the firm. One such example is EMPOWER.

 

Started in 2009, the EMPOWER Women’s Initiative is focused on addressing issues unique to women in the legal profession; increasing opportunities for networking and mentoring relationships; and providing tools and resources to position the firm’s women for success. Fish created its own EMPOWER curriculum, which includes innovative programs with a specific emphasis on building leadership and business development skills. Regular EMPOWER Retreats are also held so Fish women at every experience level can meet in-person and off-site for two days for career and professional development, fostering essential connections among its women attorneys.

 

“As a member of the firm’s Compensation Committee and promotion and advancement process, I have a unique perspective for EMPOWER. It guides our programming in order to maximize the impact for our women legal staff.” Dr. Teresa Lavoie, Principal, Chair of EMPOWER, Member of Compensation Committee.

 

Through the implementation of significant advancement, retention, promotion and support initiatives at all levels of the firm, Fish is dedicated to advancing the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers at the firm.  MWL is pleased to present the 2018 Leadership Award to Fish & Richardson P.C.

 

Service to MWL Award
The Service to MWL Award was created to recognize the MWL member, group of members, legal employer Partner or 100% Club member whose efforts have contributed substantially to advance MWL's mission.  Minnesota Women Lawyers is pleased to present the 2018 Service to MWL Award to Veena Iyer, Shareholder at Nilan Johnson Lewis PA. 

MWL is honored to present the 2018 Service to MWL Award to Veena Iyer. During this past year, Veena was instrumental in helping MWL bring various affinity and bar associations together to draft and file a Petition to Appear as Amicus with respect to Rule 7A of the Minnesota Rules of Admission. Veena also gave personal testimony before the Board of Law Examiners regarding Rule 7A. Additionally, she served on MWL’s Strategic Planning Taskforce and chaired the MWL Endorsement Taskforce, providing valuable leadership, input and recommendations to each of these important initiatives.

In addition to Veena’s time and dedication to MWL this past year, she has served in many other leadership roles with MWL over the years. She served on the taskforce to establish MWL’s Foundation, served as a member of the inaugural MWL Foundation Board, and participated as an MWL Board Member from to 2013 to 2017. Prior to her Board service, Veena chaired the Community Action Committee for several years, and led several other projects and initiatives, all in the effort to further MWL’s mission and goals.

Veena’s leadership as a champion for women in the profession, her passion for diversity and inclusion, and her natural ability to bring people together to accomplish common goals, has made a significant contribution in advancing MWL’s mission. Given her dedication and leadership, MWL is honored to present the Service to MWL award to Veena Iyer this year.

Equal Justice Award
MWL is honored to present the 2018 Equal Justice Award to University of Minnesota Law Student Rebecca Rosefelt in recognition of her article entitled “Empowerment to Breastfeed as a Right: Making Minneapolis a Global Leader in Women’s Rights.”  All Minnesota law school students are invited to submit papers or articles they have written on a topic involving law and social justice.

 

Additionally, this year, MWL will present an Honorable Mention award to University of Minnesota Law Student Trevor Matthews for his article entitled: "Most Integrated Setting: Omstead, Fry and Segregated Public Schools for Students with Disabilities."

 

Rebecca Rosefelt is just completing her second year at the University of Minnesota Law School. She is seeking a dual concentration in international law and human rights law, and is especially interested in worker's rights and women's rights. Rebecca is a student attorney in the Human Rights Litigation and Advocacy Clinic, and will return to the Minnesota Journal of International Law next year as the Lead Managing Editor. This May she will present, as part of Juvenile Justice Advocates International, a paper on juvenile pretrial detention limits to two UN committees as well as at the World Congress on Justice for Children.

Trevor Matthews is a 3L at the University Minnesota Law School.  After graduation, Trevor will spend a fellowship year at 3M Legal Affairs as the coordinator of their pro bono legal program. Before law school, Trevor taught music theory and composition at Bowling Green State University, where he earned his master's degree in composition.

 

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Minnesota Women Lawyers is an association of nearly 1,300 attorneys, judges, law students and legal employers, dedicated to advancing the success of women attorneys and striving for a just society. Visit our website at www.mwlawyers.org


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