2020 Fall CLE

SMRLS is hosting a free virtual CLE on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 from 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. This virtual CLE is in place of our annual Fall Appreciation Luncheon, which is canceled this year to accommodate COVID-19 safety precautions. There is no cost to attend this free virtual CLE. Our featured panelists and moderator will discuss the impact of racism and social justice in the legal profession. 1.5 Elimination of Bias CLE is applied for. Any questions? Please email cla@smrls.org.

Registration is Closed


Don Lewis

Don Lewis began his legal career with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., handling desegregation cases involving white and black state colleges in the South. In 1982, he returned to his home state of Minnesota to join the U.S Attorney’s Office, where he focused on prosecuting white-collar crimes. Six years later Mr. Lewis co-founded Nilan Johnson Lewis in Minneapolis. His resume also includes five years as Dean at Hamline School of Law. He holds degrees from Northwestern University and Harvard Law School.



Featured Panelists:

Ivan Fong

Ivan Fong is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at 3M. He oversees all legal, legal policy, compliance, and government affairs matters for the company. Mr. Fong’s previous work experience includes serving as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; CLO and Secretary of Cardinal Health, Inc.; Sr. VP and General Counsel of GE Vendor Financial Services; Chief Privacy Leader and Senior Counsel, Information Technology of GE; and Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Fong has also been a partner with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.; an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center; and a law clerk to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court. He serves on the boards of directors of Equal Justice Works and Minnesota Public Radio. 

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Dr. Abdul M. Omari

Dr. Abdul M. Omari is the founder of AMO Enterprise, which focuses on leadership development and the inseparable ties to diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has taught leadership courses for college students and has researched perceptions of mentoring and the role of Cultural Intelligence within mentoring relationships. Dr. Omari holds a B.A. in global studies, a master’s of public policy, and a PhD in comparative and international development education from the University of Minnesota. One of his many recognitions include being named to the “40 Under 40” list by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal


Jerry Blackwell

Jerry Blackwell is the founding partner, CEO and chairman of Blackwell Burke P.A. Mr. Blackwell serves as national and trial counsel for several major corporations, having represented them in federal and state courts in 47 states and internationally. He is an experienced and successful trial lawyer with nationwide experience defending class actions, toxic tort, commercial disputes, products liability, and other high stakes complex cases. He is a founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. In 2011, Governor Mark Dayton appointed Mr. Blackwell to serve as an at-large member of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Appointments. He served two terms until 2019. 


Tara Norgard

Tara Norgard is a top-rated intellectual property attorney at Carlson Caspers IP Litigation & Counseling. She has secured victories in district and appellate courts and arbitrations across the country, and negotiated multimillion-dollar, client-favorable settlements in matters involving a wide spectrum of technologies, including medical devices, financial systems, radiation therapy systems, dental treatments, glass coatings, and consumer goods. Prior to joining Carlson Caspers, Ms. Norgard clerked for the Honorable Donald P. Lay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and practiced with Sidley, an international law firm headquartered in Chicago. 

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