Judge Toddrick Barnette (’92), Joseph T. Dixon Jr. (’69), Leslie M. Altman (’83) Receive HCBA Awards
MAY 23, 2012—Three Law School alumni will receive Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) awards at the 93rd annual luncheon meeting and awards presentation on May 24, 2012, at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center. Judge Toddrick Barnette (’92) and Joseph T. Dixon Jr. (’69) will receive the Professionalism Award, and Leslie M. Altman (’83) will receive the Diversity Award.
The Professionalism Award is presented by the HCBA's Professional Conduct and Professionalism Committee to one judge and one lawyer who best exemplify a commitment to the highest professional standards in the legal community.
Judge Barnette is being recognized for his "devotion to the profession and to the rule of law as well as the independence of the judiciary," according to a May 1 HCBA news release. He has served on the organization’s search committee for an executive director and currently serves on its nominating committee. In addition to the HCBA, he is a member of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA).
Judge Barnette was appointed to the Hennepin County District Court in 2006 and was elected in 2008. Previously, he worked as a senior attorney in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (2004-06) and a senior attorney (2001-04) and attorney (1993-2001) in the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office.
Dixon is being honored for his ongoing commitment to the profession through board, task force, and committee involvement and his dedicated support of legal services for the disadvantaged. He has worked with the Volunteer Lawyers Network for 40 years, serving on its board for more than 20 years; participated on the MSBA's Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee for the past 25 years; and served as president of Central Minnesota Legal Services. He is a member of the HCBA, MSBA, ABA, Federal Bar Association, and the Law School's GENERATIONS campaign cabinet.
Dixon began at Henson & Efron in 1971 and was elected president of the firm in 2001, only the third in its history, succeeding Robert Henson and Stanley Efron. He was appointed by the U.S. District Court to serve on the Federal Practice Committee (2007-10), and he currently focuses on commercial and individual dispute resolution.
The Diversity Award is presented by the HCBA's Diversity Committee to recognize outstanding commitment toward increasing diversity in the legal profession.
Altman is being recognized for raising awareness of gender equity and diversity, resulting in examination of disparities and initiation of measures to correct them at multiple law firms. She has served as president of Minnesota Women Lawyers, a director of the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations, a participant in the ABA's Commission on Women in the Profession, and chair, twice, of the MSBA’s Diversity Task Force, which surveyed the progress of women and minorities in Minnesota’s legal arena.
A shareholder at Littler Mendelson and former co-chair of its Workers' Compensation Practice Group, Altman represents public- and private-sector employers in employment law matters. She was the first woman appointed to the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals by Governor Rudy Perpich in 1985 and left the bench in 1988 to enter private practice. Previously, she was a special assistant attorney general at the Minnesota Attorney General's office, assigned to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (1983-85).
An HCBA Diversity Award also goes to a law firm that has demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity through various initiatives. The 2012 recipient is Leonard, Street and Deinard, one of Minnesota's first major law firms to name a woman attorney as a partner and the only Twin Cities firm to offer comprehensive scholarship and professional development programs to all four Minnesota law schools.
Founded in 1919, the HCBA provides professional development and mentoring, publications, social events, and CLE, pro bono, community-service opportunities to its 8,400 members. It presents professionalism awards in the belief that professionalism fosters respect and trust between lawyers and the public, improves the administration of justice, and serves the best interests of clients. Its presents diversity awards in recognition of its mission to serve a diverse membership by advancing professionalism, ethical conduct, collegiality, and competence in the legal profession.