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William E. McGee


(1952-2000)
"A warrior in the
fight for justice."

The University of Minnesota Law School is honored that the family of William E. McGee, class of 1980, has permitted the school's National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition to bear his name. Mr. McGee was a strong advocate for human rights and devoted much of his career to representing the poor and underprivileged.

He was the first African American to be appointed Chief Public Defender in the state of Minnesota. During his career, he also served as a public defender and prosecutor for Hennepin County and as a staff attorney and then Executive Director at the Legal Rights Center, a non-profit, community based organization that represents low-income people of color.

Mr. McGee worked with numerous community and legal organizations including the NAACP, the Legal Redress Committee, the Minnesota Criminal Rules Committee and the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers of which he was a founding member and a past President. He received many community and professional awards including the 1992 Hennepin County Bar Association Pro Bono Award and the 1992 Minnesota Minority Lawyers Association Leadership award.

Mr. McGee taught a Juvenile Justice course as an Adjunct Professor at William Mitchell College of Law and took very seriously his role as a mentor to young attorneys and students. Posthumously, he was named an Attorney of the Year by The Minnesota Lawyer newspaper and honored with the Profiles in Courage Award of the Minnesota Association of Black Attorneys.