A Chicago native, Howard Bass enrolled at Mankato State University in 1977 to play football. He was elected student association president in 1980 and graduated the following year in the top 10% of his class with a degree in political science and economics.
Howard returned to Chicago to attend DePaul University Law School in 1981. He received the American Jurisprudence Award in Constitutional Law in 1982, became a managing editor of the DePaul Law Review the following year, and graduated in the top 10% of his class in 1984.
Fresh out of law school, Howard moved to the Mississippi Delta, the poorest part of America's poorest state, where he practiced as the Assistant Washington County Public Defender in Greenville, Mississippi, from 1984 to 1988. While there, he became a Mississippi Civil Liberties Union board member and helped elect Mississippi's first African-American Congressman since Reconstruction. Howard also organized the Mississippi Public Defenders Association and was elected its president in 1987.
In 1988, Howard returned to Minnesota and became an associate at Thomson & Ellis in St. Paul. The following year, Howard left Thomson & Ellis to be an associate at Meshbesher, Singer & Spence in Minneapolis. Other than Hennepin County District Court Judge Jack Nordby, Howard is the only Twin Cities lawyer to have practiced with Doug Thomson and Ron Meshbesher, both legendary Minnesota criminal defense attorneys.
Howard became a partner at Meshbesher & Spence in 1994 and practiced there until 2004, when he left to form the Bass Law Firm (originally known as Bass & Peck). During those ten years, he was a Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers board member and served as that organization's president in 2002.
In 2005, Howard was elected to the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota board of directors. He was also elected Senate District 35 DFL Chair and mnpACT! Treasurer.
Over the years, Howard has coached youth football, basketball and soccer in Lakeville. He has also taught Sunday school and led the youth group and outreach ministry at Open Circle Church in Burnsville. He also coached the Lakeville South High School mock trial team for four years, taking them to two state tournaments.
Howard is routinely recognized by Minnesota Law & Politics as a "Super Lawyer" and is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America . Minnesota Law & Politics has recognized Howard Bass as a "Top 40 Criminal Defense Super Lawyer," and Minnesota Monthly has recognized Howard as one of the "Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Minnesota."