Message from the President

Welcome to the 2018-2019 year of the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association! September 1st marks the start of a new year, with plenty of exciting programming and opportunities ahead. As one of the largest and most active chapters of the FBA, our Chapter is proud to offer its 900+ members multiple ways to engage with one another and the larger community. Our Chapter collaborates with our local federal courts, affinity bar associations, and community partners to carry out our core mission of strengthening the federal legal system, promoting the administration of justice, expanding the diversity of the profession, and encouraging cordial and friendly relations among members of the federal bench and bar in Minnesota.

As an all-volunteer organization, our sixteen committees, chaired by members of our Executive Committee, plan and carry out the Chapter’s various initiatives, publications, and activities. Committees are the lifeblood of this Chapter, and offer a fantastic opportunity to get to know other members and take part in Chapter leadership. The most meaningful way to get involved in our Chapter is by joining a committee, and the beginning of the Chapter year is a great time to start.

A recent addition to our Chapter is the Community Outreach Committee, which creates broader community programs and connections. This past year the Community Outreach Committee, working collaboratively with the Diversity Committee, provided high school students the opportunity to participate in a week-long Court Camp at the Minneapolis Federal Courthouse. They also created events in which community members heard first-hand a local woman’s story of Holocaust survival, and local Latino students were encouraged by lawyers and judges to pursue a legal career and viewed the inspiring documentary, “Someone Like Me.” You can be part of making experiences like these happen by joining the Community Outreach or Diversity Committees.

There are a lot of ways to participate in our Chapter. For example, our Law School Outreach Committee supports student FBA chapters at our local law schools by connecting law students with attorney mentors and creating networking opportunities for students to meet members of our local federal bench and bar. Members are kept informed of Chapter events and opportunities, and of other matters of interest to federal practitioners, through the award-winning newsletter produced by the Bar Talk Committee and the website and emails produced by our Digital Communications Committee. Our Seminar Committee provides thought-leadership and logistical planning for our annual Federal Practice Seminar. Volunteers on the Membership Committee reach out to current, former, and prospective members, welcoming them to the organization and connecting them with the benefits of membership. Charitable grant award recommendations are made to the Board of Directors by the Grant Committee, which solicits and reviews grant applications from local non-profits with a connection to federal practice. And those focused on intellectual property, federal criminal law, or complex civil litigation can engage with other members of their practice area and develop educational programming through service on the Intellectual Property Committee, White Collar and Criminal Law Committee, or Mass Torts and Class Action Practice Group. Each committee welcomes new volunteers. You may join a committee by contacting the Committee chairs listed on pages eight-nine in this edition of Bar Talk and on the Chapter Initiatives page of our website, http://www.fedbar.org/Chapters/Minnesota-Chapter/Chapter-Initiatives.aspx

Opportunities to get involved are not limited to committee participation. Members can also engage in Chapter initiatives by attending our events, volunteering to provide pro bono representation to federal pro se litigants in the District of Minnesota through our Chapter’s nationally-recognized Pro Se Project, or serving as a mentor to a law student through our Mentorship Program. Members are also encouraged to attend our Monthly Luncheons at the Minneapolis Club and our annual Golf Tournament and Judges’ Dinner-Dance. We hope our newest members of the bar will build meaningful relationships and grow in their practice by attending our Newer Lawyer and Vintage events. Information for each Chapter event is provided through regular Chapter email communications. If you are not receiving emails from the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, please reach out to our Digital Communication Co-Chairs to be added to the member email list.

Our Chapter’s exciting work would not happen without the dedicated volunteerism of local attorneys and judges, and the door is open to everyone who wants to be involved. As this new Chapter year kicks off, I encourage each member to get involved, both to serve and to develop rewarding and meaningful relationships within our local federal practice community. I look forward to all of us meeting new people and being part of the new and ongoing initiatives this Chapter offers in the coming year.

- Kelly G. Laudon