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MSBA News

  • Proposed professional conduct rule changes deferred to April

    On November 20, the Judiciary Committee reviewed the two proposals from the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) Committee regarding 5.5 and 1.6. (Read about those proposed changes in this earlier post.) The Judiciary Committee passed a recommendation that the Assembly defer action on these proposals until after the January meeting of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board. The RPC Committee subsequently requested that the two proposals be pulled from the December Assembly meeting agenda and placed on April’s agenda instead.

  • MSBA Office Construction

    underconstructionThe Minnesota State Bar Association, the Hennepin County Bar Association, and the Volunteer Lawyers Network are excited to announce that they are strengthening their connections by combining their three existing offices into a single space, featuring a shared entryway, remodeled lobby, and updated conference rooms.  The MSBA consolidation of office space will result in budget savings over the long term. The leadership and staff of the MSBA, HCBA, and VLN are enthusiastic about the opportunities this enhanced shared space will provide for serving legal professionals and the public, as well as for increased collaboration between the groups.  


  • MSBA Assembly will weigh petitioning changes to MRPC

    The MSBA Rules of Professional Conduct Committee is proposing that the MSBA petition the court for amendments to MRPC 1.6 and MRPC 5.5. The MSBA Assembly will consider these proposals at its December 8 meeting. Rule 1.6 addresses confidentiality of information, while Rule 5.5 pertains to the unauthorized practice of law. You can read more about the particulars of the proposed changes at Bench & Bar Online. 

  • MSBA survey: Most Minnesota solo/smalls offer alternative billing/service arrangements

    alternative-billingA recent survey regarding alternative billing and service arrangements sent to MSBA members in solo/small practice yielded interesting results. Of the 450 respondents, 80 percent offer some sort of alternative billing arrangement or service model, with flat fees leading the charge. Limited scope services were also popular; sliding-scale fees and low bono arrangements less so. Asked what the MSBA could do to assist practitioners in this area, the top responsesinvolved CLE programs and forms. Respondents pointed to difficulties in determining what to charge clients, and noted that services often become more expensive than originally anticipated. Two focus groups will be held over the next month to obtain more in-depth information from members. The MSBA thanks Karin Ciano, chair of the Solo/Small Firm Section, for her assistance with the survey and the upcoming focus groups.

  • Greater MN clerkships

    The MSBA and our Outstate Practice Section are working with the University of St. Thomas School of Law’s Outstate Practice Cooperative to launch the Greater Minnesota Outstate Clerkship. The purpose of the program is to offer law students an opportunity to work and live in greater Minnesota for a period of time during the summer months, in hopes of spurring interest in careers there. . Job and student postings will eventually be made on the Greater MN Legal Network’s Community page and must meet certain minimum qualifications. For example, each job opportunity must be for a period of no fewer than 4 weeks and provide an opportunity to perform genuine, real-world legal work.  Student applicants must provide a writing sample and demonstrate a commitment to serving greater Minnesota.

    To express interest as either a student or a sponsor firm, please contact Mike Carlson (Membership Services MSBA,mcarlson@mnbar.org) or Amanda Heinrichs (MSBA Outstate Practice Council Member, hein5506@stthomas.edu).


  • Do you provide Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services?

    ADR mediationIf so, take a look at the proposed changes to Rule 114 of the General Rules of Practice posted by the court recently. The ADR Section of the MSBA is reviewing the proposed amendments at their meeting today to determine whether or not to weigh in. November 28 is the deadline for written comments and requests to appear at the hearing on December 19.








  • Proposed amendments to MN Rules of Civil Procedure

    MSBA proposal to bring the MRCP into conformity with the Federal Rules moves forward

    Over a year ago, the MSBA filed a petition with the court requesting amendments to the MN Rules of Civil Procedure that would a) bring a number of the rules into conformity with the federal rules of Civil Procedure, and 2) require the court to allocate 50% of unclaimed cy pres funds in state class action suits to civil legal services. The court referred the petition to its Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure. In its report, the Advisory Committee recommended the court adopt some of the proposed changes that would bring the MRCP into conformity with the Federal Rules, but recommended against adoption of the cy pres provision. The court has posted the Advisory Committee’s report for public comment. Comments are due November 28, with a hearing set for December 19.


  • Remodel Coming Soon

    ComingSoonThe MSBA is consolidating its office space and joining with the Hennepin County Bar Association to  share a single conference center.  Overall, the changes should save the MSBA between $50,000-70,000 per year.  Over the past seven years, the MSBA staff has been reduced.  In addition, design trends are making more use of less space.  The new conference center will consist of 6 conference rooms of varying sizes.  In addition to new carpet and wall coverings, members will experience better technology for remote participations.  The MSBA has seen an explosive growth in the number of remote participants at MSBA events.  We will improve our technology to respond.  Most of the work on the project will be done between Thanksgiving and the New year, a time when conference center usage is slower.

     

     


  • Volunteers Needed for Disaster Assistance

    Volunteer attorneys are needed to provide legal assistance to the residents of the several states and U.S. territories affected during this destructive hurricane season. The ABA Disaster Relief page provides links to resources for those interested in volunteering or in donating to legal services providers. In addition, press releases issued by the Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands bar associations jointly with ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD), provide further information. The ABA YLD, which coordinates legal services to disaster victims through an arrangement with FEMA, is making an urgent request for individuals to assist with relief legal services for individuals in Puerto Rico. Volunteers, particularly those conversant in Spanish, are asked to complete this intake form to be contacted by YLD coordinators.


  • MSBA Statement on DACA Repeal

    immigration-250x150At its meeting on September 15, the MSBA Assembly adopted the ABA resolution regarding the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, with some minor modifications. The resolution was brought to the Assembly by the MSBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and the Immigration Law Section Council. The text of the statement is available here.





  • Rules of Professional Conduct

    Rules-of-Professional-ConductMSBA members Eric Cooperstein and Fred Finch represented the viewpoint of the MSBA’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) Committee at the recent Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (LPRB) meeting. The LPRB included the RPC Committee’s proposed amendments to Rule 5.5 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct. The draft amendments were spurred by the Court’s decision in In re Panel File 39302884 N.W.2d 661 (Minn. 2016) and the invitation to suggest how the rule could better reflect the bar’s understanding of the meaning of fields of practice that are “reasonably related” to a lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is licensed. The RPC Committee seeks feedback from MSBA sections and attorneys on the proposed changes. Any comments are due to Nancy Mischel, nmischel@mnbar.org, by September 22.


  • Update on Status of MSBA Rules Petition

    Gavel-documentIn early September of 2016, the MSBA filed a petition for amendments to the MN Rules of Civil Procedure, which would: a) bring a number of the rules into conformity with the federal rules of Civil Procedure, and 2) require the court to allocate 50% of unclaimed cy pres funds in state class action suits to civil legal services. The court referred the petition to its Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure. In its report, the Advisory Committee recommended the court adopt a number of the proposed changes that would bring the MRCP into conformity with the Federal Rules, but recommended against adoption of the cy pres provision. Stay tuned for more information on how the court decides to proceed.