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HCBA Recognizes Members for Pro Bono Service
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NEWS RELEASE: January 17, 2017

Minneapolis— Each year, the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) recognizes three attorneys who have made a significant contribution through pro bono service. The Pro Bono Publico awards are presented to lawyers in recognition of the time, knowledge, and devotion given in service to the community. Recipients of the 2017 awards are attorneys Cathy Haukedahl, Lindsay Davis, and Jonathan Bye. They will be honored at the 37th annual Bar Benefit, which will take place on Thursday, March 2, at 5 p.m. at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center.  

Three distinct award categories honor the dedication of pro bono services. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual for career-long pro bono work on behalf of the community, and the two Excellence Awards recognize current or recent excellence in service by individuals—one from the private sector and one from the public sector.

Cathy Haukedahl is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Throughout her legal career, Haukedahl has been a strong advocate for legal services. Currently, she serves as executive director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (MMLA), where her leadership has helped thousands of Minnesotans gain access to justice.

Haukedahl has helped MMLA remain a leader in addressing the access to justice gap through the development of innovative programming such as medical-legal partnerships, expansion of domestic violence court projects, and community clinics. In addition to giving more clients access to the legal system, these programs have also given lawyers more opportunities to serve the community through pro bono work.

Haukedahl guided MMLA during the fallout from the Great Recession when the organization faced significant funding decrease coupled with skyrocketing demand for services. She led a structural reorganization effort that ensured a strong future for the organization. In addition to her leadership with MMLA, she has also served the Minnesota legal community by serving on multiple task forces and committees that address important issues in the legal community.                                         

Lindsay Davis will receive the Award of Excellence for a Public Attorney. Davis demonstrates a commitment to serving those in need through her work, pro bono service, and leadership in the greater legal community. Currently, Davis is the access to justice director for the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA).

At the MSBA, Davis has worked behind the scenes to develop programming and advance policy changes that address justice-related issues. Through Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN), she frequently volunteers to help with criminal expungements by screening and representing vulnerable clients. In addition, Davis has also taken on pro bono cases outside of her normal practice area.

Davis also participates in various task forces and steering committees to help improve legal access to those in need. She has shared her expertise by conducting training, speaking at various conferences, and authoring several articles on topics related to law and poverty.  

Jonathan Bye receives the Award of Excellence for a Private Attorney for his leadership in his firm and the greater community. As a partner at Lindquist & Vennum, he has been an example of service to others in the firm and the legal community. A fellow partner called Bye the “face of pro bono.”

For over two decades, Bye has either chaired or co-chaired Lindquist’s Public Service Committee, and the firm has met the Pro Bono Challenge metrics every year since then. He has been a member of the VLN board of directors for over a decade and served as board chair in 2009. Under his leadership, the organization implemented a new five-year strategic plan, formalized best practices and policies, increased client services, and significantly improved its financial health. He has also served on the VLN Benefactor’s Board since its inception in 2009.

Through his work with the Hennepin County Pro Bono Project, Bye was instrumental in creating the District Court Referral Project, where judges can directly refer low-income clients to VLN for services.

The HCBA proudly recognizes these members, each highly deserving of this honor, as individuals who rise to the call and share their time and knowledge for the benefit of our community. The HCBA also proudly supports legal access for all through a variety of direct service programs, through its support and partnership with Volunteer Lawyers Network, and through significant grants made to legal service providers by the Hennepin County Bar Foundation. 

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 Photos of award recipients are available by contacting Nick Hansen (612) 752-6679 or