MSBA News



MSBA News

  • 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.

    ______

    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.

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • MSBA statement on anti-Asian discrimination during COVID-19 pandemic

    Contact:
    Cheryl Dalby, CEO
    cdalby@mnbars.org
    (612) 333-1183

    April 8, 2020: Today the Minnesota State Bar Association released the following statement regarding the rising incidence of discrimination against Asian Americans in Minnesota and around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our bar association and our legal community—and for that matter, our system of justice and the promise of our great nation—stand for equality, respect, and the rule of law,” said MSBA President Tom Nelson. “Hatred, bigotry, and downright racist meanness should have no place or protection during these or any times.”

     MSBA STATEMENT ON ANTI-ASIAN DISCRIMINATION DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

    The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) denounces the increase in racist attacks and xenophobic profiling against members of the Asian-American community in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

    Amid public fear and panic about the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been increasing reports across the country of attacks targeting Asian Americans, linked to racist assumptions about COVID-19. For example, a woman wearing a face mask in New York City was punched and called “diseased”; two Hmong men in Plymouth, Indiana were denied service at hotels due to the false assumption that they were Chinese and carrying COVID-19; and an Asian family in Texas was targeted during a knife attack while grocery shopping, and both the father and son were cut badly across their faces. Likewise, a growing number of racist incidents against Asian-American students, parents, and families are being reported in our communities here in Minnesota.

    The fact that COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China has at times led to Asian Americans being stereotyped as infected with the virus, and this racist assumption hurts Asian American communities all over the country. These and other racist attacks harm Asian American communities and the larger community by stoking animus between groups when it is important to be as cooperative as possible. Furthermore, these violent incidents recall past attacks that have remained a permanent stain in U.S. history. We must denounce anti-Asian bias and racial intolerance and stop it from becoming normalized.

    As part of this effort, the MSBA urges the media and community leaders to help stop the spread of xenophobia and misinformation by encouraging all community members to share only confirmed and verifiable information about COVID-19, how it spreads, and what actions we can take to ensure the best protection for everyone. In addition, the MSBA encourages providing information about all measures that impact Asian American communities in multiple languages so that those who are limited English proficient are able to access important information in a timely manner.

    COVID-19 does not discriminate by race. The harm caused by COVID-19 will be greater if we allow it to divide us, and eradicating the virus will depend on our ability to work together. 

    MSBA encourages anyone who encounters or witnesses attacks or harassment to report it to 911 immediately and request language assistance from law enforcement entities if needed. Reports can be made to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) at 651-539-1133, or info.MDHR@state.mn.us

  • Statement on COVID-19 from Minnesota State Bar, Hennepin County Bar, and Ramsey County Bar Associations

    In response to the developing situation surrounding COVID-19 and with the health and safety of members, guests, and staff in mind, the Minnesota State Bar Association, Hennepin County Bar Association, and Ramsey County Bar Association have decided to adjust planned programming for the time being.

    Effective on Friday, March 13:

    • All meetings and CLEs for all three associations will be offered via remote access only. Information on remote participation will be emailed to you or posted on the bar associations’ online calendar at www.mnbar.org 
    • The MSBA One Profession events scheduled for March 13 in Willmar and March 27 in Bemidji will be postponed.
    • The RCBA Judges’ Dinner scheduled for March 26 is cancelled.

    Remote-only participation for meetings and CLEs is currently planned through April 15, 2020.  At present, the bar association offices will remain open and are keeping their regular business hours. Staff are available via phone or email if you have specific questions related to upcoming programs. We will keep you informed of any changes related to association programing as they develop. 

    The Executive Committees of all three bar associations and senior staff are taking these measures to comply with suggestions to increase “social distancing” to slow the spread of COVID-19, not because of any immediate threat to our staff, members, or guests. Everyone is reminded to follow the health and safety guidelines recommended by the CDC. Information on COVID-19, steps to prevent illness, and answers to common questions are available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.   

    We apologize for any disruption in plans that these changes may cause and appreciate the support and dedication of our member volunteers, sponsors, supporters, and others who have helped plan these events and programs.

     


  • 30th Annual Conference: National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts

    NationalConsortium_jpg
    Registration is now open for the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts, hosted by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

    June 13-16, 2018
    Loews Minneapolis Hotel
    601 N 1st Avenue | Minneapolis, MN

    More info at http://national-consortium.org 

  • MSBA opposes permanent codification of the cameras in the courtroom pilot project in certain criminal proceedings

    Acting on a recommendation from the Criminal Law Section, the MSBA filed comments with the Supreme Court in opposition to making the cameras in the courtroom pilot project permanent. The reasoning behind the MSBA position includes these factors:

    [Read more]


  • 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 William.Koch@courts.state.mn.us 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. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/SessionDaily/Story/13030

    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 https://www.mnbar.org/docs/default-source/legislation/report-of-the-commission-on-juvenile-sentencing-for-heinous-crimes.pdf?sfvrsn=2 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.


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