President's Page: Growing Your Legal Community Presence

By HCBA President Landon Ascheman

Everyone wants to be respected and acknowledged for the hard work they do, and the knowledge and understanding they’ve gained. By working together and sharing that knowledge, we all grow as a legal profession. I’m asking you to share your knowledge and hard work, pass it along to other members of our legal community, and be recognized for your leadership. At the same time, I want to acknowledge that there are many of us that face imposter syndrome—we don’t feel like we know enough of what’s happening to truly be a benefit to other attorneys. We are concerned that our efforts to contribute may not be up to the task or that we may be looked down on for our lack of experience. 

No matter what camp you fall into, the HCBA welcomes you and is seeking your participation and leadership. There are many ways that you can do this, and you don’t need to be an expert in association governance or operations. When I first started attending HCBA meetings, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know anyone at the meeting, didn’t know what was expected of me, and had absolutely no idea about the structure of the HCBA. I was still welcomed with open arms and found many wise colleagues that were happy to help. That is the welcoming community I still see around me today, and I hope you will decide to join us. 

Let’s talk about some of the opportunities within HCBA: 

The Sections have grown this year; we have joined our HCBA sections with the RCBA and MSBA. Overall, the reports and feedback have been very positive. We’ve had the chance to pick some of the best traits from each of the organizations and help develop 40 strong groups focused on legal practice areas and areas of interest. Each of those individual Sections has its own leadership council and most have dedicated new lawyer, and law student liaison positions. Sections will be seeking new members in the coming months leading up to our 2023-2024 bar year, which begins in July. People that have ideas about events the groups could do, training that is needed, and developing suggestions for legislative action to clarify (or fix) the law should absolutely apply to join those section councils. If you’re unsure about joining, attend a meeting or reach out to a council member and have a Zoom or coffee to talk about the section.   

The HCBA also has its own committees specific to our district and our community. We have open seats on our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which generally meets once a month and focuses on areas including the diversity pipeline, building a coordinated, collective approach to educating youth from underrepresented backgrounds about legal careers, and planning CLE and other programs. We have the Bench and Bar Committee that focuses on bridging the communication gap and allowing candid conversations between attorneys and Judges, and our publications committee, who contribute to the the Hennepin Lawyer e-newsletter.

As a District Bar Association, we also have the District Ethics Committee, which works with the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility. The OLPR provides training to attorney and non-attorneys to investigate ethical complaints, prepare reports, and present to the greater DEC which then reviews each complaint individually and submits recommendations to the OLPR. The number of cases per person is fairly small, generally a couple a year, but the education and knowledge of the ethics system can be invaluable. 

We also have opportunities to join the HCBA Board and our Finance and Planning team. Both of these roles get more into the operation of the HCBA, including their policies, procedures, bylaws, budgeting, and how best to serve our members. You could also participate with the MSBA as an HCBA Assembly Representative, which deals with policies and procedures at the State level. You could also apply to join our strong officer line and serve as the President of the HCBA for the 2026-27 bar year. 

There are also other district bars, affinity bars, and a variety of committees at the MSBA level. No matter where you go to get involved (and don’t feel like you have to pick just one), your participation and contribution is needed, and very much appreciated. The actual time commitment is minimal, but the impact you can have for the legal community or even the greater community is substantial. For those that haven’t been involved, I highly encourage you to look into these opportunities and get involved. Reach out to our CEO Cheryl Dalby at to find out more about any of the above ways to connect with the HCBA. 

Also, don’t forget to register your North Star Pro Bono hours from 2022 by March 17. 

Landon Ascheman is the president of the Hennepin County Bar Association. He is a solo practitioner with Ascheman Law focusing primarily on criminal law.

Managing Editor
Elsa Cournoyer

Executive Editor

Joseph Satter