Theory vs. Practice
By Michael J. Ford
Everybody’s favorite philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” At the 2009 Convention we will explore the idea of theory vs. practice through a variety of CLE programs. You don’t want to miss it.
The annual convention is the longest ongoing program of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Formats have changed and locations have varied but the one constant has been an annual gathering of lawyers from throughout the state.
Join us June 24, 25, and 26 in Duluth for the 2009 MSBA Convention. You’ll have opportunities to network with judges and lawyers from throughout Minnesota—you can renew old acquaintances and make new friends. With 18 CLE programs to choose from you can collect nine credits—that’s just $36 dollars a credit. Quite a bargain, I’d say. Plus, for that same investment you can participate in several social events including the Superior Supper and Sunset Harbor Cruise and the always popular Presidents’ Reception.
On a more serious and important note, we’re convening the Law Firm Economic Roundtable: Finding Opportunity in Crisis at this year’s convention.
Don’t expect the usual CLE program. We’re aiming for more of a Davos World Economic Forum approach. We’ll bring in experts, but they won’t be standing at a podium lecturing. Your voice will be just as important as theirs. I’m a firm believer that the professional and business aspects of a law practice cannot be separated. My hope is that this program will help all of us find our way through this challenging time with our integrity intact and our bottom line in the black.
Over and above the Economic Roundtable, the Convention Committee has put together a CLE schedule sure to appeal to all members—whether in private practice, in–house counsel, or public attorneys. Topics include: long-term care, working with clients in mediation, military law, open meeting laws, pro bono service, recent updates in technology, ethics, filing your next appeal, and professionalism. You can earn ethics, elimination of bias and standard credits.
Insights on Offer
Chief Justice Eric Magnuson will present the annual State of the Judiciary address. The legislative session will be over and he can share his plans for the future of Minnesota’s judiciary. And, with any luck, Minnesota will have a second senator and the chief may be able to share some insights on the Canvassing Board experience.
The 2009 program will feature two outstanding speakers. Everyone’s favorite history professor, Hy Berman from the University of Minnesota, will discuss “The ‘Other’ in Minnesota: From Prejudice to Acceptance.” Professor Berman was scheduled to present this program last year, but had to cancel because of health issues. Fortunately, he’s ready for this year and will guide us through the waves of immigrants to Minnesota and how they have changed the state and its legal system.
Actor Gary Anderson will return to the MSBA convention, this time with his one-man show “Keeping the Faith—The Life of William Jennings Bryan.” Anderson, many of you will remember, was part of our 2007 Convention in St. Paul. That time, he portrayed Bryan’s one-time friend and eventual adversary Clarence Darrow, the other half of the famous Scopes monkey trial. That 1926 battle of titans was all about the clash between theory and practice. Funny how that works out.
Mark your calendar and plan now to join me in Duluth, June 24-26, for the 2009 MSBA Convention—theory vs. practice.
Sales Tax on Legal Services?
As I pen these words the legislature is struggling with bills relating to funding the legal system, imposing new fees and costs on users of that system—to include a possible sales tax on legal services—and the bill to change how we select and elect judges is proceeding. By now most, if not all, of the members of the association have been asked to weigh in on the sales tax issue with their legislators. If this catches you by surprise, or you have questions or comments, ring me up.
MICHAEL J. FORD is president of the Minnesota State Bar Association. A shareholder in the law firm of Quinlivan & Hughes, PA, St. Cloud, Minnesota, he is a graduate of St. John’s University and received his JD from the William Mitchell College of Law. He concentrates his practice in the areas of civil litigation, insurance coverage, employment and government liability, and land use and general casualty law.