HCBA Honors Nine with Excellence Awards

by HCBA | Mar 19, 2018
NEWS RELEASE: March 19, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS--The Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) recognizes nine attorney members with its new HCBA Excellence Awards. The awards honor members for their service to the local legal profession, the community, and the association. The HCBA selected eight members for their work from among six different categories and one member for career contributions to the profession. The HCBA will recognize the nine honorees in the following categories at the association's annual meeting on May 31:

  • Landon Ascheman, Ascheman Law: Mentoring in the Profession
  • Michael Cockson, Faegre Baker Daniels: Providing Pro Bono Service
  • Yaima Couso, Volunteer Lawyers Network: Improving Access to Justice 
  • Phil Duran, OutFront Minnesota: Advancing Diversity & Inclusion
  • Ami ElShareif, Robins Kaplan: Service to the Association
  • Referee JaPaul Harris, Fourth Judicial District: Improving Access to Justice
  • Susan Link, Maslon: Advancing Innovation in the Profession
  • RJ Zayed, Dorsey & Whitney: Providing Pro Bono Service
  • Suzanne Pontinen, Former Executive Director of Volunteer Lawyers Network: Career Contributions to the Profession
Landon Ascheman, a solo practitioner with Ascheman Law, is a dedicated mentor to law students and new lawyers through his work with the HCBA and other organizations. Michael Cockson, a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, provided hundreds of hours of pro bono service on behalf of tenants suing an unscrupulous property owner. Volunteer Lawyers Network Resource Attorney Yaima Couso developed expungement resources for pro se petitioners and supervised nearly 1,000 expungement services for people in poverty. Phil Duran, the legal director for OutFront Minnesota, is a leader in advancing the rights of transgender people statewide. Ami ElShareif, an associate at Robins Kaplan, devoted significant time to serving the HCBA through her work on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee and as co-chair of the 1L Minority Clerkship Program. Hennepin County Referee JaPaul Harris led extensive outreach efforts to youth, immigrant communities, and other organizations on behalf of the Hennepin County District Court. Susan Link, a partner at Maslon, is recognized for her work as program director at Wills for Heroes, an organization that provides wills and other estate planning documents to first responders at no charge. RJ Zayed, a partner at Dorsey & Whitney, provided hundreds of hours of pro bono service on challenging federal defense cases. Suzanne Pontinen, the former director of Volunteer Lawyers Network, will receive the Career Contributions to the Profession award for her many years of leadership at VLN and her dedication to promoting legal services in the local community.

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.