Chapter Initiatives – Get Involved!

Opportunities for Involvement in the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association

Interested in getting involved in the Minnesota Chapter of the FBA? Review the list of committees and groups below, and feel free to reach out to the contacts with further questions or to get involved. Application.

Annual Golf Tournament and Social Kick-Off Event: The Chapter’s Annual Golf Tournament is a long-standing annual tradition that brings together members of the bench and bar at an end-of-season celebration filled with friendly competition and camaraderie. To get involved, please contact chairs Phillip Goter ( or Aaron Knoll (

Bar Talk Newsletter Committee: The Bar Talk Newsletter Committee works to provide Minnesota FBA Chapter members with timely and valuable information about Chapter business through quarterly publication of the award-winning newsletter Bar Talk. To get involved in Bar Talk, please contact co-chairs Chad Pennington ( or Kari Dahlin (

Community Outreach Committee: The Community Outreach Committee seeks to promote the Chapter’s mission—to strengthen the federal legal system, the administration of justice, and the rule of law—by engaging with community members, outside organizations, and schools through events, activities, and other programs. To get involved in the committee’s activities, please contact co-chairs United States Bankruptcy Judge William J. Fisher (, Amy Conners (,), Lauren A. D’Cruz ( or Cari Heicklen (

Digital Communications Committee: The Digital Communications Committee works to provide Minnesota FBA Chapter members with timely and valuable information about Chapter business through the Chapter website, the events platform, and timely emails to members. To get involved in the Chapter website, events platform, or emails, please contact co-chairs Ann Motl ( or Leon Wells (

Diversity Committee: The mission of this committee is to further diversity and inclusion within the Minnesota Chapter, our federal court system, the legal profession, and our greater community. Committee members plan events, seminars and networking opportunities to bring together lawyers, judges, law students and other community members. To get involved, please contact co-chairs United States Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Cowan Wright (, Danielle Mair (, or Uzodima Franklin Aba-Onu (

Grant Committee: The Grant Committee solicits and evaluates applications for FBA chapter grants from organizations whose activities are consistent with and advance the mission of the FBA and in particular have a focus on issues that are federal in nature. The Committee recommends to the Board of Directors which applicants in its judgment should be awarded grants and in what amounts. The Grant Committee Chairs, Keiko Sugisaka (  and Surya Saxena (  are always looking for new committee members. Please let them know if you would like to join the Committee.

Intellectual Property Committee: : The Intellectual Property Practice Group hosts a series of events designed to highlight cutting-edge legal issues in IP law and to bring together the judges and lawyers who adjudicate and litigate IP cases. If you would like to join the IP Committee or be included in its events, please contact co-chairs Tasha Francis (, Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer ( or Nathan Louwagie (

Law School Outreach Committee: Since 2012, the Law School Outreach Committee (LSOC) has served as a liaison connecting the Minnesota Chapter of the FBA with the FBA law school divisions of each law school in Minnesota. A key goal of the LSOC is to ensure that members of each school's law student division are getting the most out of their membership, including learning about federal practice areas; meeting members of the FBA, federal bar, and judiciary; and cultivating relationships within the legal community. To further these goals, the LSOC provides the local FBA Law Student Divisions with guidance on organizing events, obtaining funding, furthering diversity, and connecting with opportunities within the Minnesota Chapter of the FBA and FBA-National, and holds events to recognize and support law students within the Twin Cities area. To get involved, please contact law school liaisons Cassandra Jacobson ( or Christopher Proczko (

Legal Education Committee: The Legal Education Committee organizes and presents the annual Federal Practice Seminar, a day-long program that is held each summer. The Federal Practice Seminar aims to foster improvements in the practice of federal law, including the elimination of bias and the promotion of diversity and high standards of ethical practice, facilitating the administration of justice, and promoting legal education. Committee members will meet regularly over the course of the bar year to identify innovative topics and speakers, develop the Seminar’s content, and plan and execute the Seminar To get involved, please contact Vice Presidents of Legal Education United States District Judge Eric C. Tostrrd ( or Katherine S. Barrett Wiik (

Mass Tort and Class Action Practice Group: The Mass Tort and Class Action Practice Group’s mission is to create a diverse community to address a spectrum of issues and substantive questions arising in cases in which a large number of plaintiffs assert common claims. The group focuses on both substantive and procedural legal developments as well as best practices. To get involved, please contact co-chairs United States Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson (  Tim Griffin (, or Elizabeth Odette (

Membership Committee: The Membership Committee is responsible for developing and implementing the Chapter’s annual membership recruitment and retention programs, engaging in membership outreach to new members with an increased focus on diversity and inclusion with respect to members from the affinity bars, public sector, in-house, and greater Minnesota communities, as well as updating the Chapter’s Membership Plan. Members of the Membership Committee review the Chapter’s membership reports, which FBA National submits to the Chapter monthly, and contact those whose memberships have recently lapsed. To get involved, please contact co-chairs Adam Hansen (  or Joel Schroeder (  

Monthly Luncheons: From September through May of each year, the FBA hosts a monthly luncheon at the Minneapolis Club on a topic of interest to the federal bench and bar. In addition to a chance to hear from engaging speakers on interesting topics, the lunches also offer opportunities for FBA members to network with each other and the federal judges, many of whom are in attendance. Please check the Chapter’s website and calendar for additional details. For more information about the FBA monthly lunches, please contact co-chairs Jeff Justman (, Kristen Draves ( and Alia Abdi (  

Newer Lawyers Committee: The Newer Lawyers Committee is responsible for coordinating a series of monthly luncheons hosted by members of Minnesota’s federal bench for lawyers who have been practicing for five years or less. These luncheons present an excellent opportunity for newer lawyers to gather with federal judges on an informal basis. The Committee also plans events as part of the “Vintage” series, a program that connects newer lawyers with “vintage” lawyers for storytelling and sharing insights about federal practice. To get involved, please contact co-chairs Kyle Kroll ( or Alia Abdi (  

Pro Se Project: The Pro Se Project is an important initiative of the United States District Court, District of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association to improve the administration of justice. The Pro Se Project strives to provide civil pro se litigants who receive a judicial referral to the Pro Se Project with the opportunity to meaningfully consult with volunteer counsel and thereby enhance access to justice in our federal courts. Thanks to the generous contribution of time and talent by more than 450 volunteer lawyers, the Pro Se Project has served in excess of 1,400 pro se litigants over the past decade. Nationally recognized for its work with indigent and disabled individuals, the Pro Se Project received the American Bar Association’s prestigious Harrison Tweed Award For more information on the Pro Se Project and how you can participate, contact the Pro Se Project Coordinators, Tiffany Sanders ( or (612) 965-3711)

Special Events Committee: The Special Events Committee plans and organizes special events, including the FBA Dinner Dance, for the Minnesota Chapter. To get involved, contact co-chairs Laura Johnson ( or Arthur G. Boylan (

White Collar, Compliance, and Criminal Law Committee: The White Collar, Compliance, and Criminal Law Committee brings together prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and defense attorneys practicing in federal court to plan CLEs and social events designed to promote collegiality among lawyers from both sides of the courtroom. To get involved, please contact co-chairs   Marnie Fearon (  or Joseph Thompson (


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