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John Baker and Kate Swenson Receive 2024 Amicus Service Award from International Municipal Lawyers Association

John Baker and Kate Swenson have once again been honored by the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) with one of IMLA’s distinguished Amicus Service Awards for their continued service to the IMLA Legal Advocacy program in Tyler v. Hennepin County.

The International Municipal Lawyers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the interests and education of local government lawyers. Through the Amicus Service Award, IMLA seeks to recognize the lawyers who have been actively involved in legal advocacy for and on behalf of local governments and IMLA, and who have done exemplary work to protect and advance local government interests.

In the last several years, John and Kate have written or co-authored amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of IMLA and other organizations of public-sector officials and entities in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, Township of Millburn v. Palardy, and Tyler v. Hennepin County. One or both of them have co-authored amicus briefs on behalf of IMLA and others to the First Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit, California Supreme Court, and Minnesota Supreme Court.

John Baker is one of the six founding attorneys of Greene Espel, which has grown into a successful litigation boutique, well respected in the Twin Cities legal community—and beyond. He has practiced law in Minnesota since 1988. From his first day, he has represented cities and city officials in state and federal litigation. After making a name for himself as an exceptional brief writer, he became an appellate advocate and trial attorney—and is a leading authority in the area of land-use law.

While John has significant experience in private and public-sector matters, he is best known as an advocate, author, and speaker on constitutional law, land-use litigation, appellate practice, First Amendment law, and defamation. He routinely receives and accepts invitations to speak at annual state and national programs on topics related to one of these areas of focus, including several mid-year or annual IMLA conferences. He received IMLA’s award for Outstanding Associate Member in 2021. John has presented oral argument on appeal more than 30 times.

Kate Swenson, a partner at the Minneapolis litigation boutique Greene Espel, focuses her practice in the areas of government and constitutional litigation and appellate law. She has significant experience representing public entities, including cities, counties, and educational institutions. Formerly legal counsel to the Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel, Kate brings the problem-solving skills honed in that role to bear in her work for clients. Kate has successfully argued before the Eighth Circuit, the Minnesota Court of Appeals, federal and state district courts, and administrative bodies. She has also tried cases and briefed appeals in federal and state courts.

Kate is the secretary of the Public Law Section Council of the Minnesota State Bar Association, which provides services and programs related to the unique needs of attorneys working in public law. She also serves as the Vice President of the Minnesota Justice Foundation, which creates opportunities for law students to perform public interest and pro bono legal services.

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