Board of Directors

SMRLS is governed by a dedicated Board of Directors comprised of attorneys, business leaders and community members all committed to serving the mission of equal justice.

Matthew Benda, Esq.

Board President

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Board President
Albert Lea attorney Matthew Benda was elected President of the SMRLS’ Board of Directors in March 2018. Mr. Benda succeeds Gail Olson as Board President, and member Brett Olander is the new First Vice-President of the Board.
 
Mr. Benda, partner at Peterson, Kolker, Haedt & Benda. Ltd., has served as a SMRLS volunteer attorney for more than 20 years and was appointed to the Board in 2002 by the Freeborn County Bar Association. In 2011, Mr. Benda was named one of Minnesota Lawyer's Attorneys of the Year in recognition of his work with watershed districts and local businesses.
 
Mr. Benda’s primary areas of practice are agricultural law, business planning and transactions and real estate. Added Benda, “The passion demonstrated by SMRLS’ attorneys and staff dramatically improves people’s daily lives. I am honored to be part of such a first-class organization.” 

Gail Olson, Esq.

Board Member

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Board Member

Gail Olson is the formed SMRLS Board President and is retired from the General Counsel at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

J. Scott Braden, Esq.
Law Offices of J. Scott Braden

William M. Mahlum, Esq.
Mahlum & Associates

Barbara F. L. Penn, Esq.
Community Member

Stephen F. Witort, Esq.
3M Federal Government Affairs

Treasurer

Thomas Hatch is the Assistant County Attorney at the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney.

Additional Members

Ali Abdullahi
Community Member

Kathy Bartz
Community Member

Jan Marie Lundgren
Community Member

Sonja Miller
Community Member 

Suyapa Miranda
Community Member

Elizabeth Webster
Community Member

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