Fredrikson & Byron P.A.
Minnesota Keystone Featured Member - April 2016
This month’s featured member is Fredrikson & Byron P.A. Fredrikson & Byron has been Minnesota Keystone member since 1989. In 2010, they were recognized as an honored company.
Why does your company value charitable giving?
As a profession, lawyers play a crucial role in providing much-needed pro bono legal services to low-income individuals and qualifying nonprofits and small businesses. We consider the opportunity to do so paramount to our core values as lawyers are uniquely situated to be able to provide these services.
How has your program changed since you first joined Minnesota Keystone in 1989? How has it stayed the same?
We formalized our pro bono program in 1992, joined the Pro Bono Institute’s (formerly the American Bar Association’s) Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge by committing a minimum of 3% of our billable work to pro bono. We hired a dedicated person to grow and expand the pro bono program in 1997. Additionally, we have taken an integrated approach to our giving, including coordinating pro bono, our Foundation giving and our community service programs to better serve our communities. The firm has expanded opportunities to engage all of our employees, through pro bono projects for lawyers; community service work for everyone, including staff; encouraging and helping our employees to find board positions on deserving nonprofits; and by aligning our Foundation dollars with our engagement opportunities.
Why does your company continue to be members of Minnesota Keystone?
Fredrikson & Byron has long recognized the value of being an active, engaged member of our communities in which our employees live and work. The Minnesota Keystone program exemplifies and supports those same values – that by giving back, our communities are stronger and more vibrant, and provide better opportunities for everyone.
Tell us about a meaningful partnership you have formed with a charitable organization.
We have a long history of combining our pro bono work with community economic development. We formed a partnership with Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) in 1998 to serve low-income entrepreneurs with legal advice and assistance. Through that partnership, we have assisted more than 400 small businesses with entity formation, contracts, commercial leases, etc. Additionally, we support NDC through direct donations through our Foundation, and have a lawyer serving on NDC’s board of directors. Through this partnership, we have been witness to the significant growth and changes along our inner-city business corridors, including Lake Street, University Ave., and now West Broadway in north Minneapolis. We helped launch many successful businesses by providing small amounts of legal services that provided a foundation on which to grow.