Bill Pentelovitch, partner in Maslon's Litigation Group, received the Minnesota State Bar Association's (MSBA) Lifetime Achievement Award—officially bestowed at the virtual MSBA Assembly meeting on June 22, 2020. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an experienced member of the State Bar who has continually displayed commitment and contributions to the Bar, the legal profession, and/or the public throughout their career. Recipients are well respected in the legal community for integrity, competence, career achievement, and service to the bar and/or community. Bill is one of only ten honorees selected to receive the award since 2013.
Bill is a highly accomplished trial lawyer, a fierce advocate and leader for civil rights and liberties, and a true luminary in the field. His contributions span 46 years of remarkable work at Maslon—for which he is revered by his colleagues for steadfast leadership, generosity, efficacy, and unrivaled dedication to the profession.
Over the course of his career, Bill has tried hundreds of jury trials, bench trials, and arbitrations involving virtually every type of dispute in which businesses can become embroiled, representing a wide variety of financial institutions, global-leading medical device and pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing companies, real estate and construction companies, and professional service firms in breach of contract, business tort, and statutory liability and interpretation cases. He practices nationally in the areas of non-compete, trade secret, unfair competition, patent licensing and royalty, and business contract litigation—and is a leading authority in Minnesota in the area of ownership and governance disputes in corporations and partnerships.
In addition to his dedicated work on behalf of Maslon clients, Bill's career-long commitment to social justice is unparalleled. Bill has been pro bono counsel in numerous impactful matters, including successfully representing the plaintiffs in litigation to desegregate the Minneapolis public schools; serving as lead trial and appellate counsel in the late 1980s representing Planned Parenthood of Minnesota as plaintiff in a reproductive freedom case that successfully challenged a Minnesota statute restricting the right of minors to obtain abortions without parental consent; negotiating with state and federal law enforcement authorities on behalf of protesters at the 2008 Republican National Convention to protect their rights to freedom of speech and assembly; representing the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and the ACLU-MN before the Minnesota Supreme Court in a challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment which would have imposed onerous identification requirements on people seeking to exercise their right to vote; representing the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy in a fact-finding hearing to determine whether there had been irregular procedures in connection with the issuance of the permit for the proposed PolyMet NorthMet copper nickel mine in Northern Minnesota; and filing numerous amicus curiae briefs on behalf of a variety of non-profit organizations such as the ACLU, including recently an amicus brief before the Minnesota Court of Appeals—filed on behalf of his own transgender child—supporting affirmance of a determination by the Anoka County District Court that the constitutional rights of a transgender boy were violated by creating a segregated locker room. Bill's extraordinary contributions were the cover story of the 2019 Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine, "The Greater Good: Bill Pentelovitch has been pushing Minnesota forward for nearly a half century."
Bill has also dedicated significant time to serving on non-profit boards and in leadership roles for a lengthy list of important civic organizations, including the ACLU-MN, the ACLU-MN Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, the Sabes Jewish Community Center, Minneapolis Jewish Federation, the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and the Blake School. He has been well-recognized for his successes over the years, receiving a number of accolades including the Twin Cities Cardozo Society's 2014 Sidney Barrows Lifetime Commitment Award, recognition as a 2012 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer, and the 2016 Commendation for Distinguished and Meritorious Service, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.