MSBA News



MSBA News

  • NEWS RELEASE: Debt Collection Lawsuits Dominate Minnesota’s Civil Courts; MSBA Access to Justice Committee Issues Report

    The Minnesota State Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee has issued a new report that details how current practices and policies relating to debt collection through the courts impact consumers, including disproportionate impact on communities of color; and outlines and recommends data-driven ways civil courts can better serve Minnesotans.  Access PDF of the report.


    Minneapolis, MN (October 10, 2023) – The Access to Justice Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) today released a comprehensive report on debt collection lawsuits across the state, entitledMinnesota Consumer Debt Litigation: A Statewide Access to Justice Report.” The findings reveal that debt collection cases dominate Minnesota’s civil courts, and that confusing policies — such as having two different courts to navigate — can be burdensome for the many Minnesotans without legal counsel. The report also finds that a staggering 82% of debt lawsuits filed in district courts end in an automatic win for the plaintiff, which leads to a court-authorized garnishment of wages and bank accounts. After consulting a range of stakeholders across the state, the Committee issued data-informed recommendations for the justice system to ensure that both sides are equally heard, and Minnesotans have accessible and effective means to participate in the court process.

    “Our work for the past year has been to dive deep into our court data to find out who’s being sued, for how much, and identify pain points in the system and address them.” MBSA Access to Justice Director Katy Drahos said, “What the Committee found was that consumer debt lawsuits make up over half of all cases in civil court, and that there are many barriers to participation for those who owe a debt, who are almost always unrepresented. What we have now is a roadmap to better serve all Minnesotans.” 

    The report’s key findings are:

    ●      The current debt litigation landscape has made it difficult for Minnesota civil courts to realize their stated vision in an effective, equitable and open system. Minnesota has fewer residents in debt than in most places in the U.S., but more litigious plaintiffs, with 1 in 8 debts in collections eventually filed as civil court cases.

    ●      Court processes and policies make it difficult for Minnesota consumers to participate in and resolve their cases. Minnesota’s two-venue system for debt litigation allows plaintiffs to choose whether to file in district court or conciliation court for matters involving $4,000 or less. This creates confusion and different outcomes for consumers, almost none of whom are represented by a lawyer.

    ●      There are racial and income disparities in who is being sued in Minnesota.  Overall, the rate of debt claims filed against Black and Latino Minnesotans is more than twice that of Non-Hispanic White Minnesotans. Further, the filing rate against consumers in neighborhoods where the median household income is $50,000 or less per year is 50% higher than against those in neighborhoods where the median household income is over $75,000 per year.

    ●      The services and protections available to debt consumers are not reaching enough Minnesotans or helping people avoid the worst consequences of debt cases. Most Minnesotans facing debt litigation represent themselves. They often don’t make enough money to hire a private attorney but make too much to qualify for legal aid. An estimated 82% of cases are filed against people who are above the legal aid income threshold.

    Earlier this summer, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation into medical debt practices in the state. The Committee’s report found that medical debt accounts for 17% of debt collection cases, with a higher prevalence of such cases in conciliation court (25%), compared to district courts (7%).

    Recommendations of the report include:

    • Develop specialized procedural rules for debt cases to better manage consumer debt cases.
    • Create and improve resources that empower self-represented litigants to participate in their cases.
    • Preserve economic stability for debt-burdened Minnesotans, so they can afford basic needs while repaying their debts.
    • Expand services for lower- and moderate-income people who are struggling with debt.

    In October 2022, the Minnesota Judiciary, the MSBA and State Support Services, with data analysis support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and January Advisors, began analyzing the largest data sample of business-to-consumer debt cases ever compiled in the state. The group analyzed nearly 700,000 consumer debt cases filed between 2011 and 2021. These data sets informed the MSBA Access to Justice Committee’s recommendations to Minnesota’s civil courts.

    “The working group’s recommendations for our justice system will help self-represented consumers engage in their cases and make the justice system more accessible to all,” Dori Rapaport, Chair of Access to Justice Committee Workgroup and Executive Director, Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota shared, “We are not saying debts should not be paid, but that the practices in the justice system could improve to ensure fairness and support early resolution of these cases.”

    To stay up-to-date on the Committee’s work and view the report, visit the MSBA Access to Justice page.

    ***

    The Minnesota State Bar Association, established in 1883, serves 14,000 attorney and law student members. The association promotes the highest standards of excellence and inclusion within the legal profession, provides valued resources to its members, and strives to improve the law and the equal administration of justice for all. The MSBA Access to Justice Committee is dedicated to advancing solutions that help all people, and particularly people with lower incomes or limited access to legal assistance, obtain the legal help and resources they need to receive equal justice.

     


  • Paul Floyd assumes presidency of Minnesota State Bar Association; new officers named

    Minneapolis, MN (July 5) — Following its last Assembly meeting of the bar fiscal year on June 29, 2023, the MSBA announced the composition of its 2023-2024 Executive Committee.

    On July 1, Paul M. Floyd became president of the MSBA for the new bar year. Floyd, a partner in the firm of Wallen-Friedman & Floyd, PA, earned his JD at the William Mitchell College of Law and has built his practice around helping other attorneys navigate issues they encounter in their practices. He is also a past president of the Hennepin County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter. 

    Joining Floyd on the MSBA Board of Governors as officers for 2023-24 are President-Elect Samuel Edmunds (Sieben Edmunds Miller PLLC); Treasurer Thomas R. Pack (Greenberg Traurig); and Secretary Kenya Bodden (Thompson Coe). 

    The Minnesota State Bar Association, established in 1883, serves 14,000 attorney and law student members. The association promotes the highest standards of excellence and inclusion within the legal profession, provides valued resources to its members, and strives to improve the law and the equal administration of justice for all.

    ###

    Paul Floyd, 2023-2024 MSBA President

  • Support funding for the judicial branch, public defenders, and civil legal services during the 2023 legislative session

    During the current legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature will be setting a state budget for the upcoming fiscal biennium. As part of this work, lawmakers will be allocating funds for the judicial branch, public defenders, and civil legal services. 

    • Courts are a foundational aspect of our democracy, essential to securing the rule of law and ensuring public safety. 
    • Public defenders provide constitutionally-mandated representation for qualified defendants in felony and misdemeanor cases.
    • Civil legal services providers help poor and vulnerable Minnesotans access the justice system and protect their most basic human needs.

    Minnesota is fortunate to have a well-respected justice system that enables Minnesotans to peacefully resolve their disputes and protect their rights, families, and businesses. But only an adequately funded justice system can perform those roles at the level Minnesotans expect and deserve.


    Here's how you can help: 

    • Identify your state senator and representative here: https://www.gis.lcc.mn.gov/iMaps/districts/
    • Click the "Contact" icon next to their names, which will bring you to their legislative webpages. 
    • Using the email addresses on their legislative webpages, send concise and respectful emails identifying yourself as a constituent and sharing your perspective on why it is important to fund courts, public defenders and civil legal services. Ask them to support increased funding. 
    • Alternatively, you can contact your elected officials' legislative assistants and ask them to arrange a meeting where you can share your support for the justice system in-person.
    • Please reach out to your legislators on or before "Justice Day at the Capitol," which is March 16. 

    If you contact or meet with your senator or representative, please share who you communicated with and any other relevant information via email to nmischel@mnbars.org

    Thank you for supporting the justice system!


  • Minnesota State Bar Association co-sponsors “A Look at the Future of the Federal Criminal Justice System” on February 21, featuring keynote by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

    (MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA) – The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) is co-sponsoring a day-long legal education conference, “A Look at the Future of the Federal Criminal Justice System: Enhancing Public Safety and Eliminating Racial Disparities” on Tuesday, February 21, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in downtown Minneapolis.

    The conference includes a day of educational sessions focused on improving equity and public safety in the federal criminal justice system, and features a keynote address by former Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder and panel presentations by local and nationally-known lawyers and leaders.  Sessions will cover four key areas: 

        • Analyzing federal sentencing disparities
        • Incorporating lessons learned from state reform efforts
        • Leveraging community-based initiatives 

        • Exploring innovative programs from federal districts across the country.

    Co-sponsors include the MSBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council, the Federal Bar Association, the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and the Minnesota Coalition of Bar Associations of Color.

     

    Advance registration is required. This will be an in-person event, and there is no remote participation option currently planned for the conference.  Registration options are available for attorneys in public and private practice, law students, and members of the community. Lunch is included with registration. A reception will follow the program. For attorney attendees: 4.0 Elimination of Bias CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credits have been applied for. 

    Registration information, agenda, presenters, and additional program details available online:

     

    ------------------------

    Schedule for the Day

    A Look at the Future of the Federal Criminal Justice System: 
    Enhancing Public Safety and Eliminating Racial Disparities.
    Tuesday, February 21.
    University of St. Thomas School of Law School Atrium.

    •  8:00 - 8:45 am: Registration.

    •  8:45 - 9:00 am: Welcoming Remarks.

    •  9:00 - 10:20 am: Understanding the Impact: An Analysis of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and Racial Disparities in Federal Sentencing Decisions.

    •  10:30 - 11:50 am: Overcoming Systemic Bias:  Lessons from County Prosecutors. Identifying and Implementing Solutions to Eliminate Bias in the Criminal Justice System.

    •  12:00 pm - 1:20 pm: Fireside chat with former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

    •  1:30 pm - 2:50 pm: Beyond Prosecution: Community-Based Initiatives to Promote both Public Safety and Equity.

    •  3:00 pm - 4:20 pm: Judicial Innovations: Creation and Use of Pre-Trial and Post-Conviction. Specialty Courts to Expand the Federal Judge’s Options. 

    •  4:30 pm - 4:45 pm: Closing Remarks. Reception will follow the program. 

     


    ---------------------------

     

    About the Minnesota State Bar Association:
    The MSBA was established in 1883 and serves over 14,000 attorney and law student members. The association promotes the highest standards of excellence and inclusion within the legal profession, provides valued resources to its members, and strives to improve the law and the equal administration of justice for all.

    ###


  • From the MSBA, HCBA, and RCBA Presidents: Statement on the Death of Amir Locke

    The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA), Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA), and Ramsey County Bar Association (RCBA) grieve the senseless death of Amir Locke, who on February 2, 2022, became the latest Black man to die at the hands of law enforcement in Minnesota. While we cannot change what happened to Mr. Locke, the bar associations will continue to work hard to improve the law and the equal administration of justice.

    In service of their missions, the MSBA, HCBA, and RCBA are currently:
    1. Establishing a monthly meeting/check-in to support our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) members who are disproportionately impacted by the failures in our justice system. 
    2. Planning a continuing legal education program on no-knock warrants, their use in the criminal justice system, and legislation surrounding the same.  
    3. Curating a list of resources to assist lawyers working on matters of racial equity in our justice system.  

    More information on these offerings will be available soon. This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list of the work the bar associations will perform on matters of equity in the administration of justice. For our members, for the legal profession, and for our communities, we can and will do more.

    Jennifer A. Thompson
    President, 2021-2022 
    Minnesota State Bar Association

    Brandon Vaughn
    President, 2021-2022
    Hennepin County Bar Association

    Monica Dooner Lindgren 
    President, 2021-2022
    Ramsey County Bar Association


  • From the MSBA President: Donate to the Minnesota State Bar Foundation by January 31, 2022 and Help the MSBA Secure a $25,000 Match for Legal Services Organization Funding

    Dear MSBA Colleague:
     
    You might recall that in October, my Bench & Bar column focused on pro bono service as part of a diversified approach to bridging the gap on access to justice.  I write to you now about another prong of that diversified approach: increasing funding for legal services organizations. 

    From now until January 31, 2022, donations to the Minnesota State Bar Foundation (MSBF) will be used to provide funding for legal services organizations and will be matched up to $25,000 from MSBF reserves! Past and future bar presidents have joined me in already pledging about 30% of this amount to kick off the campaign. Will you join us and donate today also?

    One of the priority areas in the MSBA’s current strategic plan is to eliminate barriers for the public to obtain necessary legal resources, including representation.  To address this priority, among other things, the MSBA committed to facilitate collaborative problem-solving with our strategic partners.  I am pleased to tell you the MSBA has taken great steps towards this strategic objective by partnering with the MSBF to increase access to justice funding during the 2021-22 grant cycle.

    With the roll out of the new Uniform Pro Bono Reporting requirements, we have a unique and exciting opportunity to help narrow the access to justice gap in Minnesota by encouraging new and increased giving to legal services organizations from MSBA members.  As you may know, the new Uniform Pro Bono Reporting requirements go into effect in January 2022 and require attorneys, starting April 1, 2022, to report using a checkbox if they have donated to programs that provide legal services to people of limited means. With this backdrop, last Friday, the MSBF voted to approve a MSBA proposal whereby the MSBA would begin a campaign to raise $25,000 from its membership, to be matched by $25,000 from MSBF reserves. In addition, the MSBF approved the MSBA’s request for a one-time release of an additional $75,000 from MSBF reserves for legal services funding. These funds will provide a much-needed boost to legal services organizations this upcoming grant cycle.  Funds raised through this match campaign will go directly to legal services programs to help low-income Minnesotans with critical legal needs such as housing, family matters, and immigration issues. 

    If you have already given directly to a legal service organization this year or plan to do so, thank you! We welcome anything more you can do to aid our matching grant effort.  If you’ve never donated before, now is the perfect time to do so!  

    If you donate by December 31, 2021, you will be able to “check the box” on the lawyer registration form with the new reporting requirements that you complete in 2022.  And if you donate in January 2022, you will be able to “check the box” again when you complete your registration in 2023.

    I hope to report on February 1 that our members gave $25,000 to this effort, with every penny matched. A total of $50,000 for access to justice funding would be so meaningful.  This would be combined with the extra $75,000 the MSBF is contributing from its reserves to legal services, for a grand total of $125,000. Our collective efforts can change lives for the better! 

    If you have any questions, please reach out to bar staff Nancy Mischel

    Thank you for considering this request.  DONATE NOW.

    Sincerely,

    Jennifer A. Thompson
    President, 2021-2022 
    Minnesota State Bar Association

     


  • Members: Sign up for new Tri-Bar CLE Planning Group

    Help staff develop programming and recruit speakers for CLEs for MSBA, HCBA, and RCBA. This programming can help fill gaps in section CLEs and allow us to respond quickly to hot topic issues. The group meets virtually no more than once a month. Contact Jennifer Carter, Senior Director of Member Services, at jcarter@mnbars.org if you’re interested or have questions.

  • Jennifer Thompson is the new president of the Minnesota State Bar Association for 2021-22

    Contact: Joseph Satter, Senior Director of Communications
    (612) 752-6621
    jsatter@mnbars.org 
    Photo available on request
    Minneapolis, MN (July 1, 2021)—Following its annual convention, conducted virtually on June 24-25, the Minnesota State Bar Association announced its 2021-22 association officers.
    Today Jennifer Thompson begins her term as president of the MSBA for the new bar year (July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022). Thompson, a founding partner of Thompson Tarasek Lee-O’Halloran PLLC in Edina, has spent her career practicing construction and real estate law. She has also served as an attorney commissioner on the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and as a volunteer attorney for the Children’s Law Center.
    Thompson says her plans for the year ahead will involve building from the strategic planning cycle the MSBA is currently in, with an eye toward membership, the leadership pipeline, and equity as key issues. “We have to think about what our members really want and how we’re providing that to them,” she said.
    In addition to Thompson, the 2021-22 MSBA officers are:
    • President-Elect: Paul D. Peterson. Peterson, a founding partner of Harper & Peterson, PLLC in Woodbury, is a board-certified Civil Trial Specialist whose practice is focused on representing individuals and families who have been injured by the wrongful acts of others. Peterson also does pro bono work for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS).
    • Treasurer: Paul Floyd. Floyd, a partner at Wallen-Friedman & Floyd, P.A. in Minneapolis, is a “lawyer’s lawyer,” focusing his practice on counseling attorney clients about the business issues their firms face. He is a past president of the Hennepin County Bar Association (2016-17) and of the Minnesota chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
    • Secretary: Samuel Edmunds. Edmunds, a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist and founding partner of Sieben Edmunds Miller PLLC, represents clients in criminal cases ranging from misdemeanors to homicides. He is a former chair of the MSBA New Lawyers Section and of the Elections and Appointments Committee as well as a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates.

  • YWCA Equity Challenge and Bar Association DEI Discussions

    In conjunction with the YWCA’s 21-day equity challenge (https://www.ywcastpaul.org/racial-equity-challenge/), the MSBA, RCBA, and HCBA will be holding supplemental discussions, offered twice per week during the three weeks of the YWCA challenge (6/21, 6/28, 7/5).

    Facilitated by Erikka Ryan (MSBA/RCBA/HCBA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director), these discussion/reflection/connection sessions provide opportunities for bar members to share experiences, meet accountability partners, and to talk about ways to implement the tools you are gaining from the equity challenge.

    When you sign up for the YWCA challenge here, please put your bar association (RCBA, HCBA, MSBA 7th District, etc.) under the “Company/Organization” box in the registration.

    Note: You must sign up for the YWCA challenge by June 20.

    Then, select one of our supplemental sessions each week from the MSBA/HCBA/RCBA calendar.

    Reach out to Erikka Ryan at eryan@mnbars.org with questions.


  • Statement from MSBA, HCBA, and RCBA Presidents on State vs. Derek Chauvin decision

    The April 20th decision in State vs. Derek Chauvin was a pivotal moment. Not just here in Minnesota where the verdict was read, but around the nation and beyond. This week, we all witnessed our justice system working exactly as intended. The judge, prosecution team, defense counsel and jury in the Chauvin case all participated in the critical work of delivering justice, just as our democracy requires. We thank them for rising to the challenge of doing this difficult, agonizing work. At the same time, we realize that our community’s efforts to ensure equal justice for all are far from over. As lawyers in Minnesota, we recognize that these efforts must continue and pledge to work toward a justice system that is fair to all.

    -- Dyan Ebert, Esteban Rivera, and Susan Buckley


  • A Message from MSBA President Dyan Ebert, HCBA President Esteban Rivera, RCBA President Susan Buckley and Vildan Teske, President of the Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter

    Our community witnessed the killing of yet another Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of law enforcement on Sunday. This happened at a time when many are reliving the trauma of the brutal killing of George Floyd through the trial of Derek Chauvin. Countless other instances of interpersonal and structural racism experienced by our Black colleagues has caused and continues to cause immense suffering by BIPOC legal professionals, and particularly our Black colleagues. The bar associations stand with our colleagues of color in grieving this latest senseless loss.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “racism is a serious threat to the public’s health.” (https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/racism-disparities/index.html).  “A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color. The impact is pervasive and deeply embedded in our society—affecting where one lives, learns, works, worships and plays and creating inequities in access to a range of social and economic benefits—such as housing, education, wealth, and employment.” Id. 

    The bar associations strive to improve society by developing professional excellence among its diverse membership. One of the core components of their missions is to provide valued resources to their members. The bars must live this mission and vision for their BIPOC members. To provide time and space for healing from the latest events, the MSBA, HCBA, RCBA, Federal Bar Association Minnesota Chapter, Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers are hosting a series of listening sessions for legal professionals, especially for our members of color. Information about these listening sessions is available here.

    This statement reflects the position of the presidents of the Minnesota State Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, Ramsey County Bar Association, and the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. It does not necessarily reflect the position of the national Federal Bar Association or the board members and officers of the above associations. Board members affiliated with the judicial and executive branches of the federal, state, and local governments did not participate in the issuance of this statement.


  • MSBA President Dyan Ebert, in consultation with the MSBA Fair Response Committee, has issued this statement on the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision in State of MN v. Khalil

    “The proper role of the judiciary is one of interpreting and applying the law,

    not making it.”

    Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

    On March 24, 2021, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued the unanimous decision, authored by Associate Justice Paul Thissen, in State of Minnesota v. Khalil, in which the Court determined that for purposes of felony third degree criminal sexual conduct the statutory definition of “mentally incapacitated” in Minn. Stat. §609.341, subd. 7 (2020) did not include circumstances where an individual voluntarily ingested alcohol and became intoxicated before being sexually assaulted. In reaching its decision, the Court referred to the plain language of the statute which provides, “mental incapacity means that a person under the influence of alcohol, a narcotic, anesthetic, or any other substance, administered to that person without the person’s agreement, lacks the judgment to give a reasoned consent to sexual conduct or sexual penetration.” The Court’s decision resulted in the reversal of the third degree criminal sexual conduct conviction of defendant Kahlil and the case was remanded back to the district court for a new trial.

    In the days since Khalil was issued, some have claimed that the Supreme Court, in general, and Justice Thissen, in particular, determined that sexual assault of an intoxicated person is not illegal. These claims misstate and misinterpret the Court’s decision. The Khalil decision was limited to the interpretation of the term “mentally incapacitated” as defined by Minn. Stat. §609.341, subd. 7 (2020).

    The power to change the language of the statute, including how the term “mental incapacity” is defined, is within the authority of the Minnesota Legislature, and not the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

    Dyan J. Ebert

    MSBA President, 2020-21


  • Statement about Chauvin Trial from MSBA President Dyan Ebert

    With the State v. Derek Chauvin trial beginning, the eyes of the world are on the Minnesota courts and our community. Questions will be raised about all aspects of the trials of those charged with killing George Floyd. As attorneys, we have a unique perspective on these proceedings and an important role in promoting public confidence in the justice system and support for the rule of law.

    Defending the rule of law is a civic duty and the most important professional obligation of attorneys. The obligation is embedded in the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct, which provide that “a lawyer should further the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority.” (Minn. R. Prof. Conduct, Preamble ¶6.)

    As attorneys, we need to remain committed to defending the rule of law when we hear news reports of the trial of the officer accused of murdering George Floyd. With the significant role that the courts have in carrying out the administration of justice, it is not surprising that they are often the subject of criticism. We need to be strong in our support of the people working in that courtroom—the judge, the lawyers, the clerks, and the court reporter and bailiffs. We also need to encourage people in our various communities who raise questions about the trial process to be respectful and appreciate the work of the people in that courtroom. We need to uphold the rule of law that is playing out on this very visible, highly charged, stage. We also recognize that historically the justice system has not always treated everyone equally. We reaffirm our commitment to equal justice and increasing racial equity in our profession, the justice system and our community.

    The Minnesota State Bar Association is committed to advocating for the profession and supporting equal justice for all Minnesotans under the law. To that end, we have formed a Fair Response Committee, which will be tasked with promoting public confidence in the administration of justice by fostering public understanding and appreciation of the judicial system. More information about that committee is on the MSBA website. We encourage members to also take an active role in helping educate those in our circles and beyond about the legal system and the role that the rule of law has in our society.

         -- Dyan Ebert
             2020-2021 MSBA President


  • MSBA Statement on Interference with Election Certification

    The Minnesota State Bar Association condemns the attempts to interfere with the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election, including the violent and destructive actions that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Such violence erodes the public’s faith in our democratic process and undermines the rule of law. 

    As officers of the legal system, lawyers have special responsibility to uphold the rule of law, defend the Constitution, and protect the independence of the judiciary. The peaceful transition from one presidential administration to the next is one of the fundamental principles of our democratic system. When our democracy is being threatened, it is our duty to speak out against those who encourage and are involved, both directly and indirectly, in encouraging seditious behavior and violence.

    Dyan J. Ebert
    MSBA President, 2020-21

  • MSBA Launches Association Health Plan to Address Member Health Coverage Needs

    NEWS RELEASE: November 2, 2020
    Contact: Cheryl Dalby, CEO
    cdalby@mnbars.org   612-333-1183
     

    (MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA) – The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) announced today that it will offer an association health plan to its members, extending affordable health care to law firms in the state of Minnesota.

    The MSBA Association Health Plan (www.Health.MSBAinsure.com) was developed to meet the unique health care needs of law firms. It will offer a portfolio of health benefits options insured by Medica. The plans are available to law firms that have at least one primary owner in good standing with the MSBA and at least one additional individual on staff. Law firms and their employees will be able to choose from a variety of PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) and Health Savings Account (HSA)-eligible Consumer Directed Health Plans (CDHPs).  

    Law firms may also select from Medica’s broad access PPO network or from a listing of ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) made available in certain geographic areas throughout the state.  Medica will work with any licensed and appointed agent who wants to quote MSBA Association Health Plan to their eligible member clients.

    The Mercer Affinity 365+SM platform will provide members and their brokers access to obtain medical coverage quotes for employees and their families. The platform facilitates enrollment and provides ongoing benefit administration to help drive cost efficiencies and employee engagement.

    “Law firms of all sizes face significant challenges in providing affordable health insurance for employees. An MSBA-sponsored health plan has been discussed for a number of years and we’re excited to be launching this new initiative. The plan offers health insurance options for MSBA attorney members and law firms across the state,” said MSBA CEO Cheryl Dalby.

    MSBA is quoting these plans for eligible member groups beginning with January 1, 2021 plan effective dates. To request a quote for these plans, interested businesses or their brokers may visit www.Health.MSBAinsure.com.

    The MSBA Association Health Plan is an industry-based Association Health Plan (AHP) that’s fully ACA-compliant, serviced by Mercer and sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association. Medical insurance is underwritten by Medica. Plans are not available to member employers outside of Minnesota.

    About the Minnesota State Bar Association:
    The MSBA was established in 1883 and serves over 13,000 attorney members. The association promotes the highest standards of excellence and inclusion within the legal profession, provides valued resources to its members, and strives to improve the law and the equal administration of justice for all.



    Learn more: Watch the MSBA Association Health Plan overview video here.


  • Message regarding U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit decision on Minnesota mail-in ballots

    Last night the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit announced its decision to eliminate Minnesota's established seven-day grace period for accepting absentee ballots for next week’s general election. It ruled that all mail-in ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day be set aside.
     
    The Minnesota Secretary of State's Office has issued the following guidance:
     
    Next Steps for Voters 
     
    Voters should no longer place their absentee ballot in the mail. Instead, voters have several options to ensure their vote is counted in the November general election:

    • Voters who have already put their ballot in the mail can track their ballot at http://www.mnvotes.org/track. If their ballot has not yet been received the voter can vote in-person either by absentee, or at their polling place on Election Day.

    • Voters can deliver their ballots to their county election office by hand (or have someone they trust hand-deliver it for them).

    • Voters can cast their vote in person with an absentee ballot at their local election office up until November 2, 2020.

    • Voters can cast their votes in person on Election Day. Use our Pollfinder Tool to find out where to vote.

    Links to Additional Information
     
    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit Decision
     
    Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State – Elections & Voting

     


  • MSBA announces results of poll on contested Supreme Court judicial race

    September 4, 2020

    Contact: Nancy Mischel (nmischel@mnbars.org, 612-278-6331)

    Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Announces Results of Poll on Contested Supreme Court Judicial Race

    Today the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) announced the results of its poll of members regarding the two candidates for the contested Minnesota Supreme Court judicial seat. 

    The poll was conducted between August 19 and September 3, 2020.  A total of 6,848 MSBA members, many of whom practice in front of the appellate courts and are knowledgeable about the candidates, were included in the poll. The response rate was 29.5%. 

    The purpose of the poll is to collect and make available to the electorate information which—in conjunction with voter guides, candidate questionnaires, news articles, etc., made available by the MSBA and other sources relative to contested judicial elections—the electorate may consider when deciding whom they wish to vote for in the general election. The online poll was voluntary and conducted in a neutral and unbiased manner. The result of the poll does not constitute an endorsement of any candidate by the MSBA. 


     

    MSBA Poll Results

    Supreme Court (contested race) Seat 4

    Michelle MacDonald

    • 8.82% (178 votes);

    Paul Thissen, Supreme Court Associate Justice since May of 2018

    • 91.18% (1840 votes) of the 2,018 total votes.

      

    For more information on these candidates, visit www.mnjudges.org.

     


  • Dyan Ebert assumes the presidency of the Minnesota State Bar Association for 2020-21

    Dyan Ebert assumes the presidency of the Minnesota State Bar Association for 2020-21

    Contact: Joseph Satter, Senior Director of Communications

    (612) 752-6621

    jsatter@mnbars.org 

    Photos available on request

     

    Minneapolis, MN (July 6, 2020)—Following its first-ever virtual annual convention on June 22-25, the Minnesota State Bar Association announced the composition of its 2020-21 Executive Committee. 

    On July 1, Dyan Ebert—a partner and two-time former CEO of the central Minnesota firm of Quinlivan & Hughes—became president of the MSBA for the 2020-21 bar year. She practices in the area of civil litigation, with a focus on employment and government liability, insurance coverage, and general casualty law. Ebert, who joined the Quinlivan firm in 1994, served as the 83-year-old firm’s first female CEO from 2003 to 2010, and again from 2014 to 2019.

    In view of the massive disruptions to the legal industry posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Ebert says her focus during the bar year ahead will be helping the bar association assist its members in navigating the crisis and continuing to pursue goals spelled out in the long-range strategic plan that’s already in place. Some areas of special interest to her include wellbeing for attorneys—“We have to put that at the forefront, to put out resources to help the members”—as well as access to justice.  

    In addition to Ebert, the 2020-21 MSBA Executive Committee consists of:

    • President-Elect: Jennifer A. Thompson.  Thompson, a partner at Thompson Tarasek Lee-OHalloran PLLC in Edina, has spent her career practicing construction and real estate law. She has also served as an attorney commissioner on the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and is a volunteer attorney for the Children’s Law Center. She will serve as MSBA president for the 2021-22 bar year.
    • Treasurer: Paul D. Peterson. Peterson, a founding partner of Harper & Peterson, PLLC in Woodbury, is a board-certified Civil Trial Specialist whose practice is focused on representing individuals and families who have been injured by the wrongful acts of others. Peterson also does pro bono work for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS).
    • Secretary: Paul Floyd. Floyd, a partner at Wallen-Friedman & Floyd, P.A. in Minneapolis, is a “lawyer’s lawyer,” focusing his practice on serving attorney clients with counsel about the business issues their firms face. He is a past president of the Hennepin County Bar Association (2016-17) and of the Minnesota chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

     


  • MSBA response to the posthumous pardon of Max Mason

    June 12, 2020
    Contact: Cheryl Dalby, CEO
    cdalby@mnbars.org/612-333-1183


    100 years later, justice at last for Max Mason

    The Minnesota State Bar Association applauds the action of the Minnesota Board of Pardons earlier today in granting the first posthumous pardon in the state’s history to Max Mason, a 21-year-old black man who was falsely accused and later convicted of rape in the aftermath of the lynching of three of his fellow African American circus workers in Duluth on June 15, 1920.

    The MSBA, along with many others in the Minnesota legal community, supported the application for this unprecedented pardon—prepared and argued before the Board by Minneapolis attorney Jerry Blackwell—by providing a letter on Mason’s case and a column on the Duluth lynchings, both written by MSBA President Tom Nelson, as materials backing the application.

    “Our State's treatment of Mr. Mason, and the tragic and terroristic events of Duluth in the 1920s, have long been a stain on our State and society—rooted in a racism that continues to haunt and harm our lives, and enacted under a purported and twisted version of the rule of law,” Nelson wrote on behalf of the bar. “[I]t is always the right time to right a wrong—and Mr. Mason's arrest, conviction, imprisonment and banishment is a wrong that has long called for righting.”


  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, Ramsey County Bar Association, and Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association Statement on George Floyd

    On Monday, May 25, 2020, video footage circulated of the violent killing of George Floyd in an incident involving Minneapolis police officers. In the video, a Minneapolis police officer is seen kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over five minutes, while Mr. Floyd repeatedly states, “I can’t breathe.” We write today to join in the grief and anger over the fact and manner of Mr. Floyd's death, to pledge that his death will be honored and not forgotten, and to commit ourselves to the continuing effort to bring justice to the fore, for Mr. Floyd and his family and friends, of course; but also for our shared community. The Minnesota bar associations, and the legal profession itself, are dedicated to the Rule of Law, equal justice for all, and the dignity and sanctity of human life.

    More than just an isolated incident, Mr. Floyd’s killing highlights an ongoing problem. In a state and country devastated by the deaths of Black and Brown people at the hands of police officers, drastic changes are needed in our approach to public safety. The Minnesota State Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, Ramsey County Bar Association and the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association support the equal administration of justice for all, and to that end, envision a Minnesota where law enforcement personnel are held to a standard of treating all individuals with dignity.

    Just as the legal profession is charged with promoting and delivering the principles of equal justice in our communities, the police must promote and deliver the principles of equal justice and administration of justice for all people. Acts of misconduct against people of color reduce the public’s trust in police, the police force and the administration of justice. If a Black man in south Minneapolis can be brutally choked by law enforcement, whose motto is to protect with courage and to serve with compassion, no individual should feel safe.  

    The Bar Associations call on Governor Walz and all other public officials and law enforcement agencies across the state to actively confront the systems and cultures within their police departments that have repeatedly allowed people of color to be brutalized and killed.

    The Bar Associations also recognize that the rule of law needs to protect us all and must exist at all levels of our justice system. We support the lawyers, judges and other court personnel who will work on all sides of this issue to ensure that the constitutional rights of all involved are respected and justice is achieved.

    The Bar Associations envision a state where no person must fear the police and where arrest and use of force by law enforcement are last resorts, not first options. The peace and well-being of our community relies on trust in our system of justice. We pledge to participate in the healing that must come after the events of the past week, and to lift and support the voices and actions of others working toward the goals of equal access to justice and equal administration of public safety for all people. The Bar Associations further renew their commitment to their vision of being leaders in achieving equal justice for all.

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    Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers is always available to assist lawyers, judges, law students and their family members who are struggling. For free, confidential assistance, call 651-646-5590 or 1-866-525-6466. Please also remember the MSBA's SOLACE program, which exists to help members who are experiencing hardship. Learn more about getting, and giving, help through SOLACE.

    In the coming days, the bar association websites will list opportunities for our members to work toward the changes called for in this statement or provide assistance to those suffering after the events of the last week.

    This statement reflects the position of the Minnesota State Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, Ramsey County Bar Association and the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. It does not necessarily reflect the position of the national Federal Bar Association. Board members affiliated with the judicial and executive branches of the federal, state and local governments did not participate in the issuance of this statement.

     

     

     

     

     

     


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