A Faegre Drinker Pro Bono team was selected by Minnesota Lawyer as 2023 “Attorneys of the Year” in the Pro Bono category. The Faegre Drinker team will share the award with the ACLU of Minnesota for their work to change Minnesota’s system of felony disenfranchisement.
The “Restore the Vote” team included Faegre Drinker attorneys Craig Coleman, Jeffrey Justman and Kirsten Elfstrand. The team was selected for their work in challenging the constitutionality of felony disenfranchisement. Following the litigation, Minnesota restored voting rights to over 55,000 Minnesotans living in the community on probation, parole, or community supervision. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz called it “the largest expansion of voting rights in Minnesota in a half-century.”
In the article “2023 Attorneys of the Year: Jennifer Schroeder, et al. v. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon,” Minnesota Lawyer spoke to Coleman about the significant win. “From our perspective, we were motivated to find a way to protect the right to vote and the integrity of democracy,” said Coleman.
Coleman also noted the focus of the plaintiffs’ arguments was “the lack of any purpose served by disenfranchising persons who are living in the community. Our clients really illustrated the idea that we release people to live in the community with the expectation that they function as members of the community. The idea of somebody wanting to vote and denying them that right makes no sense.”
Retired partner Joseph Price was also selected as a 2023 “Attorney of the Year” in the Outstanding Service to the Profession category.
“Attorneys of the Year” honorees will be recognized during an awards event on February 8, 2023 at Quincy Hall, NE in Minneapolis.
The full list of recipients is available for Minnesota Lawyer subscribers.