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May 22, 2024

American Bar Association Honors Jim Volling with 2024 ‘Pro Bono Publico Award’

Business litigation senior counsel Jim Volling will be honored by the American Bar Association with a 2024 “Pro Bono Publico Award” – the American Bar Association’s highest pro bono recognition. The prestigious award honors both law firms and attorneys that have enhanced the human dignity of others by improving and/or delivering volunteer legal services to our nation’s low-income and marginalized communities. Volling will be recognized at the ABA’s annual meeting in August, along with two other attorneys and two law firms. 

Volling is recognized for his sustained service and leadership over the course of his career, including his work focused largely on three areas: children, post-conviction representation and prisoner reentry.

Children. As one example, in 2017, Volling was the lead plaintiffs’ counsel in a putative class action lawsuit filed on behalf of minor children challenging, on constitutional grounds, Hennepin County’s child protection system ─ and prevailed, achieving a landmark settlement. This lawsuit built on his more than 20 years of advocacy for abused and neglected children. 

Post-Conviction Work. For four decades, Volling has represented individuals who have been wrongfully convicted or are unjustly facing execution. That work continues to this day. The Great North Innocence Project leadership wrote of his work: “Mr. Volling’s collaborative approach makes the most of his prodigious expertise while also allowing his colleagues to gain valuable experience and have a meaningful opportunity to serve justice. In other words, he does not do this work for the sake of appearances or accolades, but truly commits himself to his clients and shares opportunities with colleagues. He leads by selfless example.”

Reentry. Volling has been instrumental in developing and implementing the Minnesota Collaborative Justice Project, which focuses on prisoner reentry. Judge Donavan Frank of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, stated as follows regarding Volling’s work with the court: "We have had numerous defendants tell us, ‘Thank you for sending us Jim Volling, he listened to us and he really cares, and he believes in us and believes we can make it.’” Judge Frank concluded by stating: “Jim Volling, by his leadership and his own efforts is delivering the promise of Equal Justice Under Law for all citizens. In doing so, he helps meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community by providing them access to justice, hope and success….”

Volling has served in various leadership roles at the firm, including as Chair of the business litigation group and a member of the management committee. Among numerous other community leadership roles past and present, Volling currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project of Minnesota. 

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