Published on: Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The Shakopee law firm of Brekke, Clyborne & Ribich, L.L.C. received the Alumni Living the Mission Award at the University of St. Thomas School of Law’s annual Mission Awards luncheon held on Thursday, April 7th, 2011.
The Mission Awards are given annually to faculty, staff, students and alumni to recognize their contributions to the law school and to the greater community. The awards recognize excellence in professional preparation, scholarly engagement and societal reform, and service and community. A complete list of award winners can be found at the University of St. Thomas School of Law website.
In his opening remarks, Dean Thomas Mengler touched on what makes the Mission Awards so important to the law school and to the broader Twin Cities community. “What I most admire about our Mission Awards is that they celebrate the many different ways in which we can contribute – through teaching excellence, excellence in mentoring, excellence in scholarship, dedication to service and leadership in our community, and to the advancement of social justice broadly defined,” he said.
Barbara Brekke, Johanna Clyborne and Rebecca Ribich graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2005 and shortly afterwards started the BCR law firm. While each of them could be singled out for their exemplary service, BCR truly exemplifies the notion that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
These women were drawn to the law school by its unique mission and within days of meeting forged a friendship that has now spanned nine years. All three had already established service to their communities as a part of their lives prior to meeting. Once the idea to establish a firm took root during law school, continuing with that commitment of service to their clients and community was a natural decision for these three. Their volunteer time encompasses serving the legal needs of those who cannot afford it; supporting the law school through speaking, coaching and mentoring; working with local schools and educational programs; being involved in the local community and bar associations; and promoting legal and business ethics. Each partner’s practice area is diverse yet complements each other.
Barbara Brekke focuses her practice on wills, trusts, estate planning and probate, real estate and small business law. She also offers her expertise and experience as a frequent speaker at UST law classes, CLEs and conferences. Barb serves on the boards of Holy Family Catholic High School and the KleinBank Shakopee Branch Advisory Board. She volunteers for the Scott County 4H program and has served as a member of the social justice committee at St. Mark’s Church. Barb is a member and Community Services Chairperson of the Shakopee Rotary, and vice chair of the Scott County Extension Committee. She is a past chair of the Shakopee Community Education Advisory Council, a former board member of Shakopee Dollars for Scholars and a former national advisory board member of Scholarship America.
Johanna Clyborne practices in the areas of family law, criminal defense, civil litigation, and legal issues particular to the United States Armed Forces. Since 1989, Johanna has served in the United States Army National Guard. Johanna is a recently returned combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During her deployment to Iraq, the Star Tribune ran a story on her reunification with an Iraqi teenager whom her family had hosted in their home while seeking lifesaving medical treatment. During her tour, Johanna was awarded the Bronze Service Star, which is awarded for meritorious service and is the fourth highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces. She also received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, which recognizes members of the military who have performed substantial volunteer service to the community above and beyond the duties required of a member of the Armed Forces. Johanna has served as a Girl Scout troop leader for the past seven years. She is a member of the Minnesota Woman’s Lawyer Chapter. Additionally, she participates in Legal Assistance to Military Personnel and serves on the colleagues list through the Minnesota State Bar. She has volunteered through the Volunteer Lawyers Network and Southern Valley Battered Woman’s Alliance. She is a member of the Eighth District Bar Ethics Committee.
Rebecca Ribich specializes in family law, immigration law and juvenile law issues. Becky's involvement in the community has spanned the last 20 years. She was a founding appointee and chair of the City of Plymouth Human Rights Commission, chair of an educational fundraising committee, chair of the parish council for a large suburban parish and facilitator of adult education programs. She is a board member and past president of the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Minnesota Business Ethics Award Steering Committee. Becky has volunteered with the St. Paul United Way, and served as a tutor for English as a Second Language (ESL).
Barb, Johanna and Becky exemplify the UST mission both in their individual accomplishments and in the excellent reputation of the BCR law firm. They embody the quote from their website that surely serves as their firm’s mission statement: “We are neighbors, parents and friends working in community with our clients to obtain justice through honesty, commitment and genuine compassion.”
The law office of Brekke, Clyborne & Ribich, L.L.C., strives to attain satisfaction and fulfillment by respecting each individual for their unique situation and problem. They actively work collaboratively with their clients to find a solution that is in their best interest.