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Remembering Hennepin County Bar Members in Court and in Words

Tamara Hjelle Olsen, the first female managing officer of Gray Plant Mooty in Minneapolis, where she joined in 1986 after attending Harvard Law School, and a Minnesota's Top 100 Super Lawyers honoree, died last summer after a year-long battle with cancer at age 51.

Olsen's story was one of 29 compiled in a booklet for the Hennepin County Bar Association's Bar Memorial on April 11 to commemorate members of the bar who have died in the past year or so. Every year about springtime, the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District sets aside a court date to remember them, a tradition that, in some way, has been around since the 1930s, says Tom Nelson, the chair of the HCBA's Bar Memorial Committee.

"It's a special session of the Hennepin County District Court," Nelson says. "So, it's actually a session of the court with the robed judges and the chief judge of the Hennepin County District Court presiding. ...[It's a] meaningful moment for the Hennepin County Bar."

The lawyers' stories were written by family, friends or colleagues and organized and compiled by the committee, which works with the HCBA staff to make the memorial happen each year.

"Every lawyer has somebody remembering them with great stories and some are funny and some are poignant and some are sad," Nelson said. "The people who write the memorials are very, very careful about writing. It's a family member or a partner or a dear friend so that the memorials that are written are very, very special."

The bar members commemorated this year included veterans of the armed forces, senators, school board members, parents and business owners. They saw the Great Depression, the Vietnam War and 9/11. Many dedicated several decades to the profession. One man even celebrated his 101st birthday.

The committee gathers photographs of them, which are displayed in the atrium at the event. During the proceedings, the president-elect usually reads off all of the names, a wind ensemble or vocalist performs and someone always gives a speech.

This year, University of St. Thomas School of Law Dean Thomas M. Mengler delivered the main address. "Indeed, in the words of Mother Theresa, we learn from these men and women to 'be faithful in small things, because it is in them that your strength lies,'" says the transcription of the speech in the booklet.

"Many of you who are here today remember those times when your loved one was late coming home because he or she was taking a few more minutes to talk to the new attorney in the adjoining office," the speech continues. "These small things are perhaps the greatest contribution of this group of lawyers whom we honor today."

One point that was echoed throughout the booklet: they will be dearly missed.

"What I think is especially unique about [the memorial]," Nelson says, "is it's a very thoughtful way of remembering lawyers who passed away and it's a very special way of seeing how unique and remarkable the lawyers in our community are. It's really a remarkable group of men and women who are in the legal profession and I think it's a good reminder for all of us."

For more information on the memorial and the booklet go here.

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As 2013 comes to a close, Super Lawyers celebrates another year of recognizing excellence in practice with the release of our Top Lists.

What are Top Lists? Published in each state, the attorneys included on a Top List are have not only been selected to their state's Super Lawyers list-they have also scored the highest point totals during our patented selection process, which is comprised of peer nominations, independent research and peer evaluations.

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(The Super Lawyers selection process; click to view full-size.)

Attorneys on a Top List are truly the best a state has to offer, and this year is no exception. Among this year's Top List attorneys are:

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  • Ted Wells (Top 10, New York Metro), dubbed the "go-to guy" for defense in high-profile white-collar criminal cases and complex civil litigation.
  • Charla G. Aldous (Top 50 Women, Texas and Top 10, Texas), the personal injury attorney whose verdicts and settlements from 2000-2005 garnered more than $675 million.

"Super Lawyers is proud to provide visibility to outstanding attorneys," said Julie Gleason, Director of Research for Super Lawyers. "The Top Lists take that step to the next level by highlighting those attorneys who demonstrate a truly exceptional level of accomplishment."

The size and specifics of each Top List (Top 10, Top 50 Women, etc.) vary depending on the list's respective state or region, and the number of attorneys selected to the state's Super Lawyers list for the year.

If you've been selected to your state's Top List, there are some easy ways to promote this accomplishment: Download our Super Lawyers Promotional Kit for templates to use on your website, blog or social media channels.

To view the Top Lists by state or region, please visit SuperLawyers.com/TopLists.

David J. Beck Representing the University of Texas in Farrah Fawcett Case

Attorney David J. Beck of Beck Redden in Houston, a member of the Super Lawyers National Advisory Board, is representing the University of Texas at Austin in the dispute with actor Ryan O'Neal over an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett. The Charlie's Angels star left her collection of art to the university before her death of cancer in 2009, O'Neal, an old flame, has had possession of it since soon after her death and claims that the portrait is his.

The case was recently covered by the Today Show and CNN.com.

In addition to his prestigious position on the National Advisory Board, Beck was featured in a profile in the 2008 edition of Texas Super Lawyers magazine. 

2013 Super Lawyers Advisory Board Retreat: Recap

(Note: This content is posted on behalf of Heather Walker, Super Lawyers Sr. Director.)

At Super Lawyers, our vision is to provide unparalleled visibility for the attorneys and firms on our list. Just as the business of law is ever-changing, the best marketing solutions for lawyers also evolve. Super Lawyers hosts a variety of focus groups, regional events, sponsorships, trade shows, quarterly webinars and retreats to better understand today's attorney.

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Super Lawyers recently completed our 2013 Advisory Board Retreat, held November 13-15 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Attendees included our National Advisory Board (well-known attorneys) and members of our Marketing Board (marketing directors). The group participated in broad sessions and small breakouts designed to generate ideas that will grow our businesses together.

While the weather and the location were truly exceptional, the best part was the valuable insights we received on how to:

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  • Deliver online marketing solutions that drive business development for top law firms

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A special thanks to our attendees. The group's engagement, honesty and strategy will be truly impactful to Super Lawyers' long-term success!

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