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

The first Wednesday of every even month, Public Law Section Members are 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.

    
RMHFeb2020



Public Law Section Highlights

Highlights from the 2020 Virtual Public Law Awards Ceremony
   
PLSawardrecipientssmall










PLSAwardsmall

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 


2020 Rosalie E. Wahl Judicial Award of Excellence

The 2020 Rosalie E. Wahl Judicial Award of Excellence was awarded to 
Hon. Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks. Presented by Katherine Swenson. 

JudgeHalbrooks

 

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 

KirstinKopp
 
The William E. McGee Public Defender Award of   
Excellence was awarded to Kirstin Kopp and 
 presented by Anne Zimmerman.  



TonyPalumbo
  The Julius E. Gernes Prosecutor Award of Excellence
  was awarded to Anthony Palumbo and was presented
  by James Backstrom. 


DanielRogan
The Public Attorney Award of Excellence- Civil Law  
was awarded to Daniel Rogan and was presented by  
Rebecca Holschuh.  


KristynAnderson 

  The Public Attorney Award of Excellence- In-House Agency  
  Counsel was awarded to Kristyn Anderson and       
  was presented by Craig Gustafson.




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

  NancyJones
Nancy Jones  
Presented by Lisa Godon  

  JudyFritz

  Arden Fritz (accepted by Judy Fritz)
  Presented by Justin Kwong

 ChristieEller
Christie Eller  
Presented by Angela Behrens  

Not present: 

The Douglas K. Amdahl Public Attorney Career Achievement Award was awarded to Lynn Belgea who was nominated by Nancy Norman Sommer. 

The Douglas K. Amdahl Public Attorney Career Achievement Award was awarded to Katherine Engler who was nominated by Lynn Belgea. 

The William E. McGee Public Defender Award of Excellence was awarded to Ronald Greenley who was nominated by the Hon. Jenny Walker, Lisa Jones, and Franchine Mocchi.

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!