Becker & Poliakoff, in partnership with the University of Miami School of Law, recently welcomed Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison as the inaugural keynote speaker of the first Alan S. Becker and Gary A. Poliakoff Preeminent Leaders in Law Speaker Series. The educational forum, established in honor of the firm’s founding members (Becker, J.D. ’69, and Poliakoff, J.D. ’69), strives to connect those seeking to understand the complexities of the law with legal practitioners who have real world experience applying the law in a variety of contexts.
“A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society,” Ellison said in his remarks at the event. “You are either helping things get better or you’re not. Whether you are in private practice or corporate practice, a corporate counsel, public lawyer, public defender, or prosecutor, we all can advance this cause of justice, and we all have a responsibility to do so.”
Becker’s Managing Shareholder Gary Rosen facilitated a ‘fireside chat’ with AG Ellison that emphasized the importance of having a heart of service, resisting the allure of the spotlight to truly focus on justice, going to trial for solutions not for the love of the fight, nuts and bolts of staffing the George Floyd trial, and avoiding group think.
The two trial lawyers enjoyed a frank tradesman talk about his work in the State of Minnesota v. Derek Michael Chauvin case, where AG Ellison believes that, by prosecuting the murder of George Floyd, his office ‘polished the badge Chauvin had tarnished.” AG Ellison also praised prosecution team members “the world doesn’t know…yet” who were determined to move the historic case forward, candidly discussed what he thought should have been handled differently, and explained why he believes the verdict was more about accountability than justice.
“The candor with which AG Ellison spoke was exactly the type of conversation Alan and Gary encouraged in the firm,” said Rosen. “I am proud that the spirit of these two leaders was kept top of mind and look forward to many more conversations with remarkable leaders in our field such as AG Keith Ellison.”
To watch the replay of the inaugural event, please click here.
To read the University of Miami’s recap, please click here.
To learn more about the Alan S. Becker and Gary A. Poliakoff Preeminent Leaders in Law Speaker Series, please click here.