Maslon is pleased to announce that Catherine Ahlin-Halverson has been selected as a 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Honoree by Minnesota Lawyer for her contributions as director of Maslon UPLIFT. The award celebrates individuals and organizations that have advanced diversity and inclusion within Minnesota's legal community. Catherine is one of only 19 honorees selected by an outside panel of judges who were particularly focused on individuals and organizations with a consistent track record in advocating for diversity and inclusion—not only in words but action.
Catherine, a former partner and highly accomplished litigator at Maslon, left private practice in 2016 to serve the firm as Maslon Public Interest Counsel and launch Maslon UPLIFT: Legal Institute for Teens, a new legal diversity pipeline program created for 8th grade students reflecting the rich diversity of the Twin Cities. Participants in the 6-month after-school program gain access to engaging opportunities to learn from volunteer attorneys about the legal profession, criminal justice, and the court system. By way of the experience, students also build confidence, develop analytical and speaking skills, foster long term vision, and create a framework to pursue academic excellence in high school.
Each year, Catherine orchestrates the legal institute experience, facilitating with participating schools, carefully setting and overseeing the weekly curriculum, coordinating volunteer judges and attorney coaches (who spend much of the academic year instructing on key trial practice concepts), and working closely with each student, their mock trial teams, and the volunteer attorney coaches. All culminates with a criminal mock trial program presented each spring in front of actual Minnesota judges in courtrooms at University of Minnesota Law School and Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Due to Catherine's dedicated efforts, Maslon UPLIFT has been extraordinarily impactful and has grown each year since its launch, reaching more students in new ways. In September 2017, the program began at St. Louis Park Middle School. In 2018, the program expanded to include Columbia Academy in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. In 2019, UPLIFT expanded opportunities for engagement, allowing UPLIFT graduates to continue their involvement with the program by offering assistance, experience, and knowledge to the 2019-2020 Maslon UPLIFT class. Also in 2019, Catherine launched a Summer Book Club to help program graduates stay connected through continued support of their shared interests and mutual goals.
To date, 105 students have graduated the program—and Catherine is dedicated to moving forward and continuing to impact diverse Twin Cities students for many years to come.
To learn more, go to: Minnesota Lawyer, Diversity & Inclusion Honorees.