Stinson Leonard Street Partner Tom Nelson Becomes 96th President of the Hennepin County Bar Association

Press Release

Tom Nelson today becomes the 96th president of the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA). Nelson is a partner at Stinson Leonard Street, where he handles a wide range of business and commercial strategic matters from both a trial and consulting perspective.

Nelson grew up in Bloomington, Minn., and attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where he received his bachelor's degree in philosophy. He then attended Yale, graduating with a master's degree in theological studies. He earned his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1977.

Before practicing law, Nelson was a founder, teacher and administrator of an innovative public high school in New Haven, Conn., called High School in the Community. After graduating from law school, Nelson served two terms as a law clerk for Judge Thomas J. Meskill of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which hears cases in New York City. Nelson returned to Minnesota in 1983, along with his wife, the Honorable Susan Richard Nelson. He first worked at the Popham Haik law firm, and then joined Leonard, Street and Deinard in 1997.

Nelson has had a long history of service to the bar. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and remains actively engaged with ABA, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Hennepin County Bar Foundation and the Federal Bar Association. At the HCBA, he served as chair of the Bar Memorial Committee for several years, as well as being active as a member of the Bench and Bar Committee and Diversity Committee. Nelson received the Professionalism Award from the HCBA in 2008, an award presented annually to a member "who best exemplifies the pursuit of the practice of law as a profession, including a spirit of public service and promotion of the highest possible level of competence, integrity and ethical conduct." He also received his law firm's Pro Bono Service Award in 2008.

"I'm honored to serve the HCBA and look forward with great excitement to a productive year as president," said Nelson. "There are multiple opportunities for the county's attorneys to connect, to improve access to the judicial system, especially for those underrepresented, and to contribute to our communities."

Nelson will place his emphasis during the year on building gateways and bridges between the community, the courts, other bar associations and the many facets of the legal profession. His own experience with and enthusiasm for the profession will guide him in leading the association and its 8,300 members.

"I have no doubt that Tom's presidency will be an active one," said Eric Cooperstein, 2013-14 HCBA President. "Tom is well known and well respected within the bar, which only enhances his ability to make meaningful connections between individuals and organizations and to generate outstanding results for our Association."

Recently, Nelson travelled with the Minnesota State Bar Association delegation that met with the National Union of Cuban Jurists on a one-week trip to Cuba. He has been active in a wide variety of community services also, and – concurrent with his bar presidency – will serve as chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Swedish Institute.

About the HCBA

The Hennepin County Bar Association is a professional society representing more than 8,300 attorneys with a wide variety of services for the community and the profession. The association strives to ensure the fairness and accessibility of the legal system by promoting public understanding and confidence in our system of justice and by working along with the courts to improve the administration of justice.


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Amanda Bowling
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