Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights Given to Minnesota Federal Judge Donovan Frank

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2012 – The _ Commission on Disability Rights has selected Donovan W. Frank, federal judge for the District of Minnesota, to receive its 2012 Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights.  Judge Frank has spent his legal career advocating for the rights of persons with developmental disabilities—“the forgotten minority”—to equal opportunities, equal justice under the law, and equal access, and to be treated with dignity and respect.

Created in 1999, the Hearne Award honors the work of Paul G. Hearne, a lawyer born with connective tissue disorder who became a leader in the disability rights movement.  The award, co-sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Company, will be presented on Aug. 6 at the commission’s Annual Meeting Reception for Lawyers with Disabilities in Chicago.  The reception, sponsored by LexisNexis and Wal-Mart, will begin at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Columbus Hall A/B, Gold Level, East Tower.

Judge Frank is a frequent continuing legal education presenter on the importance of a diverse workforce that includes persons with disabilities.  In fact, about 20 employees at his courthouse have some type of developmental disability.  He also educates legal professionals about disability discrimination and the right to equal justice for persons with disabilities who are the victims of crimes.

Judge Frank has long served as co-chair of the diversity committee of the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and works closely with the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.  He has received the Luther Granquist Systems Change Award from the Arc Minnesota for making life better for individuals with disabilities.  Judge Frank has served on the Board of Directors of the Range Mental Health Center Inc. and the East Range Developmental Achievement Center.

More information about the Paul G. Hearne Award can be found online; additional details about the reception can also be found online.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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