MN Wild

About MSBA

Minnesota State Bar Association

Championing Justice, Equality, and Professionalism

Our Diversity Enriches Us, Our Inclusion Empowers Us

Founded in 1883, the Minnesota State Bar Association is the oldest professional association for attorneys in Minnesota. For licensed attorneys in Minnesota, membership is voluntary. Membership is open to any attorney licensed to practice law in any state. Membership is also available to law students, paralegals, and law management associates.

Accommodations: The MSBA is committed to creating an inclusive environment in which all members can participate fully. Please contact us if there are reasonable accommodations that would allow you to participate more fully within the Minnesota State Bar Association.

What We're Doing

  • Opportunity to travel to Tbilisi, Georgia

    tbilisi georgia

    Are you interested in traveling to Tbilisi, Georgia with other Minnesota judges and attorneys to meet with leaders of the legal community to talk about the rule-of-law and other items of mutual interest?  This self-funded trip is planned for May 12-19, 2018. 

    Judge Bill Koch is coordinating the trip.  Currently, retired Justice Paul Anderson and 7 others judges are making the trip, as well as a few attorneys and family members.

    If you want to explore an exciting part of the world and have a potential impact on the administration of justice half-a-world away, please contact as soon as possible and more information will be sent to you right away.

  • Bankruptcy Law: Venue Reform (as of 3/8/18)

    The MSBA adopted a position in support of venue reform in 2016: Resolved that the MSBA supports legislation to change the venue provisions of 11 USC sec. 1408 to require Ch. 11 cases to be filed in the district where principal assets or principal place of business are located.  The MSBA supports change that would stop the venue shopping that enables so many chapter 11 cases to be filed in Delaware and the Southern District of New York and away from districts in which companies are headquartered.  

    Over the years, many of Minnesota’s companies have filed in Delaware and the Southern District of New York, meaning that it is impractical and more expensive for Minnesota creditors and employees to observe and monitor the proceedings.  Doing so would entail traveling to a distant place (that has nothing to do with the Minnesota business) and hiring counsel local to the proceedings.  It also means that Minnesota considerations get much less attention than would be the situation if the proceedings occurred in the location of the company headquarters.

    MSBA member Jim Baillie is leading our effort to pass this legislation. There is momentum this year at the U.S. Senate. Other bar associations are adopting positions in support of the bill and advocating at the Senate. Senator Tina Smith has agreed to co-sponsor the bill; Senator Klobuchar is undecided. 

    A letter of support from state attorney generals is being drafted, and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson will be asked to sign on.

  • Life Sentences for Juveniles Reconsidered

    Members of the Commission on Juvenile Sentencing for Heinous Crimes testified before a Minnesota House of Representatives committee on the unconstitutionality of portions of Minnesota’s Heinous Crimes Act.

    Minnesota is one of just eight states with laws not in compliance with Miller v. Alabama, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of release for juvenile homicide offenders violated the 8th Amendment. 

    In 2016, Robin Wolpert, then President of the Minnesota State Bar Association, established the commission. The 19-member Commission’s report and recommendations were adopted as a legislative priority for the MSBA in the 2018 legislative session.

    The Commission suggested two alternatives to bring Minnesota law in compliance with Miller: specify the factors that should be used to sentence juveniles who are convicted of heinous crimes, or eliminate the sentence of life without the possibility of release and establish a sentence of life in prison with the eligibility for parole after a specific term of years.

    Although no bill has been introduced at the Minnesota Legislature to date, four members of the legislature served on the commission, and a bill is expected.

Our Leaders

SoniaMiller-Van Oort


Sonia Miller-Van Oort
Sapientia Law Group PLLC

Paul Godfrey


Paul Godfrey
Law Office of Paul Godfrey

What I do: I work for Farmers Insurance as the managing attorney for the Law Offices of Paul W. Godfrey. I manage 12 lawyers in our office who provide representation for Farmers and its insureds throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin.    

My Volunteer Work:
Ramsey County Bar Association Committees
MSBA Civil Litigation Section
MSBA Secretary
MSBA Treasurer
MSBA President-Elect

Advice to New Members: If you want to become a leader, get involved in Bar activities. You will need to collaborate with people over whom you have no authority, find solutions to new and different problems, and adapt to a multitude of perspectives.



Tom Nelson
Stinson Leonard Street LLP



Dyan Ebert
Quinlivan & Hughes PA

What I do: I practice in the area of employment law, with an emphasis on public employment litigation. My clients are located throughout Minnesota and the matters I handle range from administrative actions to state and federal district court cases. 

My Volunteer Work: 
Local bar associations
Regional bar associations
Practice specific associations
MSBA Secretary

Advice to New Members: Join a Section to utilize resources relating to the substantive area of law you practice, give back to your community by volunteering as an attorney coach or judge through the Mock Trial program, or take on a pro bono case in conjunction with the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee.