Winter 2018 Newsletter

Student Profile: Brianna Shareef

Brianna Shareef is currently a third year student at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2016 with a B.A. in Political Science. While at Bowling Green State University she was a member of the Bowling Green State University Dance Team and served as the public relations officer for the BGSU Law Society. Since her arrival at St. Thomas in 2016, she has been elected Vice President of the Black Law Student Association while also serving as a member of the University of St. Thomas Journal of Law & Public Policy.

Brianna’s passion for public service led her to clerk for Children’s Hospital as well as the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in the Child Protection and Adult Prosecution Divisions. Currently, Brianna is a MJF volunteer at Fox Rothschild LLP, working on their pro bono projects.

When asked about her experience volunteering with Fox Rothschild, Brianna says that, “Going from public to private is a different experience that I’m grateful for. I love getting to experience a different work culture.” She also says that the attorneys at Fox Rothschild have a positive attitude towards pro bono work. She also believes that knowing that she is helping in some way keeps her coming back. Since beginning with FR, she has been able to participate in the housing clinic. She notes that that experience “was AMAZING” and that she loved it. “I’m excited to get more involved in that.” She has received a warm welcome from all of the attorneys at Fox Rothschild. She states that they have been clear on their expectations of her as a law clerk – which has helped her navigate her role in this volunteer experience.

MJF Board Member Profile: Archana Nath

Archana Nath is a Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP (formerly Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP) who practices in the area of business litigation. She assists clients in matters involving health care and ERISA litigation, patent disputes and general business disputes.

She has served on the Minnesota Justice Foundation Board for 10 years, most recently as president. Archana is also Fox Rothschild’s Pro Bono Co-Chair and is actively involved in a number of charitable, community and pro bono activities. She volunteers at the Children’s Law Center, which helps to solve an array of legal challenges facing low-income children and their families such as issues related to custody, special education services and basic utilities. Archana has participated in other pro bono representation through the Volunteer Lawyers Network, LegalCorps, and the Tubman Safety Project, which provides pro bono legal representation to low-income victims of domestic violence seeking orders of protection. She also led a team of volunteer attorneys in her office that provided representation for over two decades to a defendant in a death penalty case through the American Bar Association’ Death Penalty Project. In addition, she serves as a reading volunteer at St. Joseph’s Home for Children.

Public service has always been important to Archana, who has volunteered with a variety of organizations since high school. In fact, it was while she was serving an under-resourced population through Teach for America that she became inspired to apply for law school. She recognized that the system can be difficult to navigate and wanted to learn how she could help people move forward in a positive manner.

Archana first became involved with Minnesota Justice Foundation the week before starting her law school career at the University of Minnesota Law School. Through MJF’s Pre-Orientation Service Project (POSP), she volunteered with Minnesota Legal Services Coalition. She was actively involved with UMN Law’s MJF student chapter throughout law school and served as co-president during her third year. During law school, she had summer clerkships with the Hennepin County Public Defender and with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services.

MJF is a long-established and well-respected part of the Minnesota legal community. As president, Archana’s vision for MJF was to continue to expand its reach into the law schools and the legal community to maximize opportunities for law students and the services provided to clients in need. She focused on utilizing the skills and passions of the other board members to inspire and facilitate further support of the organizational goals from the inside and also sought to help redefine the vision of MJF in light of the changes to the law school climate over the last several years. For example, smaller law school classes called for MJF to find creative ways to fill the ever-growing need for volunteer legal services among disadvantaged populations. Archana also sought to help further integrate MJF into each of the law schools’ changing public service programs. She feels strongly that because there are so many areas of need, every student can find volunteer opportunities where they can contribute in areas they are passionate about.

In Archana’s own words: “As a member of the board, I am exposed to passionate, public service-oriented law students, dozens of committed public service organizations, and clients in need of help across a broad spectrum of legal issues. My work with MJF has shown me how important legal representation is, particularly for indigent clients, and how varied people’s legal needs can be. And I have seen how the work of just one volunteer can change a client’s life for the better. With all of that, my experiences with MJF remind me of how important it is to instill in lawyers, starting in law school, the importance and impact of volunteering throughout their careers. Volunteering during law school is such a strong predictor of a lawyer continuing public service—whether through a public interest job or pro bono volunteering—as part of his or her legal practice. In a time when public service is more important than ever, MJF plays a vital role in helping instill the value of volunteerism in the next generation of lawyers.”

MJF 2018 Annual Awards Celebration

MJF would like to thank everyone who attended our Annual Awards Celebration on Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at which we honored outstanding individuals in the Minnesota legal community.

The winners of the 2018 MJF Outstanding Service Awards are:

Imani Jaafar
City of Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights
Advocate Award

Elizabeth Sauer
Central Minnesota Legal Services
Direct Legal Service Award

Timothy McLarnan
McLarnan & Skatvold, Moorhead, MN
Private Practice Lawyer Award

Royzetta Evans
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Susan Craig, M.D.
University of Minnesota Law School
Jonathan Snyder
University of St. Thomas School of Law
Law Student Award Winners

Our keynote speaker was Judge David Stras, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, who spoke on the topic of ‘The Rule of Law and Family History.”

Thank you to our evening’s sponsors:

Gold Sponsors
Dorsey & Whitney, LLP
Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP
Robins Kaplan, LLP
Stinson Leonard Street, LLP

Silver Sponsors
Ballard Spahr LLP
Briggs and Morgan, PA
Fredrikson & Byron, PA
Maslon LLP

Bronze Sponsors
Best & Flanagan, LLP
Ciresi Conlin LLP
Collins Buckley Sauntry and Haugh, PLLP
Felhaber Larson
Fox Rothschild, LLP
Tim and Susanne Goodman
Gray Plant Mooty
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Monroe Moxness Berg PA
Nichols Kaster, PLLP
University of Minnesota Law School
University of St. Thomas School of Law

Pro Bono Supporters
Greene Espel, PLLP
George Byron Griffiths
Lommen Abdo
Jack Sullivan