Public Law Section

 COMMUNITY Image



Who We Are | Our Mission

The Public Law Section is all about Community, using the individual strengths of many to maintain a strong community for all.

  • We are a community of lawyers working in Local, State and Federal government, education, the Bench and various private law firms and businesses. 
  • We work together to provide services and programs relating to the unique needs of public and private attorneys involved with public law issues.
  • We sponsor numerous CLE programs each year addressing issues unique to lawyers working in public law, such as data practices, ethics, government immunities, constitutional law, legislative updates, and elimination of bias.  We welcome and include Law Student Section members.


Section Benefits and Activities

Join the Public Law Section and as a PLS member you will:

  • Enhance your professional effectiveness, improve the justice system and contribute to the profession and the community.
  • Attend almost monthly CLEs for just $10 per credit
  • Build a powerful network of contacts in public and private sectors;
  • Have a voice in decision-making through special local and statewide committees, Supreme Court Boards, commissions and task forces.
  • Receive in-depth information on issues affecting lawyers working in the public sector through:
    1. Newsletters
    2. Committee meetings
    3. Targeted, timely and very affordable CLEs and legislative updates


Diversity Mission Statement

The MSBA’s Public Law Section (PLS) embraces the principles of diversity and inclusion.  PLS Bylaws require the Section take an active role in broadening representation with respect to geographical, race/ethnicity, physical and mental disability, sexual orientation, gender, and type of public employment (state, county, municipal, federal, part time, full time, legal services) , and to encourage participation and reduce barriers to participation of all public lawyers in Section activities.  
 
The PLS therefore has a steadfast commitment to: 
  • Seeking the active participation of diverse speakers and authors in Section programs and publications

  • Providing mentorship opportunities and increase Section membership of law students and newly admitted lawyers, with focus on under-represented minorities
  • Collaborating with others in the MSBA and greater legal community to build diversity awareness and create welcoming environments to achieve Section goals


Public Law Legislative & Judicial Matters Policy

The membership of the Public Law Section is a unique combination of attorneys representing or holding office in executive branch agencies at the state, county, or local level, as well as public defenders and members of the judicial branch.  Because of their direct employment by these other co-equal branches of government, there is a high potential that any legislative position taken by the Public Law Section could create a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict, for its members.

It is therefore the policy of the Public Law Section to abstain from taking a formal position on any legislative proposal.  For the same reasons, the Public Law Section will not take a position in any open matter before a state or federal court, including any state or federal administrative hearing.  This includes advocating for or filing amicus curiae briefs.

Read the full policy here


Model Pro Bono Policy

At the end of 2018 the Public Law Section revised their model pro bono policy with the help from the MSBA Access to Justice Committee. Patricia Beety, former Chair of the PLS Section Council, lead this initiative. The first policy was adopted in 2007 and has since been updated. The new 2018 version was approved by the MSBA Assembly during the December 2018 meeting. A link to the most recent model policy is here


Public Service Projects

Before the pandemic, the first Wednesday of every even month, Public Law Section Members were invited to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. On February 5th 2020, this group of PLS members prepared and served a meal at the Ronald McDonald House. Since COVID-19, the Public Law Section has halted these in-person service projects and is instead providing financial donations to the Ronald McDonald House. We look forward to when we can resume these activities again in-person.

    
RMHFeb2020



Highlights from the 2021 Virtual Public Law Awards Ceremony

Nominators and Winners_smaller

Watch the ceremony here.


Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

 

Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

2021 Rosalie E. Wahl Judicial Award of Excellence

The 2021 Rosalie E. Wahl Judicial Award of Excellence was awarded to 
Hon. Thomas Gilligan, Jr. Presented by John Keller.

JudgeGilligan


Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

2021 Public Attorney Awards of Excellence

The Public Attorney Award of Excellence – Civil Law – Public Law Office Counsel was awarded to Katherine Kelly and presented by the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

The 2021 Public Attorney Award of Excellence - In-House Agency Counsel was award to Karl Procaccini and presented by Craig Gustafson.


Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

 

Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

2021 Public Lawyer Diversity Award

The 2021 Public Lawyer Diversity Award was award to the Minnesota Association of City Attorneys Executive Committee (Immediate Past President Maria Cisneros, President Tom Jacobson, 1st Vice President Jared Shepherd) and presented by Patricia Beety. 


Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

 

Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

The Douglas K. Amdahl Public Attorney Career
Achievement Awards were awarded to:

Donald Mueting, and presented by Ann Bloodhart.

Kate Berger, and presented by Commissioner Roslyn Robertson and Nancy Leppink.

Sara Stoltman, and presented by Wendy Legge. 

Patricia Winget, and presented by Suzanne Todnem & Jacquie Cavanagh.

Clifford Greene, and presented by Katherine Swenson.

Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

 

Kim Mesun

The P. Kenneth Kohnstamm Pro Bono Attorney Award 
of Excellence was awarded to Kim Buechel Mesun 
and was presented by Justin Kwong 

Become part of the PLS Community today.  JOIN PLS TODAY!