• 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 
    • 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   

    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

    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 

  • 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 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.

  • Give an ED Talk at the MSBA Convention!

    Audition to deliver an “ED Talk” (similar to TED Talks) at this year’s MSBA Convention! In-person auditions will be March 21 and 29—or submit a video. Receive a $25 Starbucks gift card just for trying out. ED talks debuted at last year’s MSBA Convention and the audience loved them. An ED Talk can be up to 15 minutes. It doesn’t need to be law-related and a slideshow presentation is optional. 

    In-person Auditions:

    WHEN: Wednesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 29
    WHERE: MN CLE Conference Center, 3rd floor, City Center Building, 600 Nicollet Mall, downtown Minneapolis
    CONTACT:  Email Lisa at to schedule a time

    Sending a Video:

    Record your ED Talk for submission. Then save the video to cloud storage or video-sharing service and email a link, not the actual recording, due to limits on the size of email attachments we can receive.)

    Send it to

    Finalists will present their ED Talks at the 2018 MSBA Convention on June 28-29 at the Mystic Lake Center. Mark these dates and don’t forget to register, whether you audition or not! Prizes will be awarded be awarded based on audience favorites.

    First prize: Minnesota CLE Season Pass 
    Second prize: Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 
    Third prize: $150 Amazon gift card

  • MSBA at BLE: Rule 7A hearing

    MSBA members Eric Cooperstein and Fred Finch represented the MSBA at a public hearing held by the Board of Law Examiners (BLE) on January 16. The Supreme Court had directed the BLE to review its interpretation of the Rule 7A requirement that a lawyer seeking admission without examination under the rule must establish that for 60 of 84 months immediately preceding the application, the lawyer was "(e)ngaged, as principal occupation, in the lawful practice of law." The MSBA, which had submitted comments on the issue, spoke in opposition to a minimum practice requirement of 120 hours per month. Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, the Hennepin County Bar Association, and Minnesota Women Lawyers also appeared at the hearing. All opposed the 120-hour requirement. At the conclusion of the hearing, BLE Chair Douglas Peterson indicated that the BLE did not have a specific timetable for concluding its deliberations on Rule 7A.

  • Video: MSBA on proposed MRCP changes

    You can watch video of Eric Magnuson and Dan Cragg presenting on behalf of the MSBA at the recent Minnesota Supreme Court hearing regarding proposed changes to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. The MSBA requested the Court adopt changes to Rule 23 that would require 50% of state class action unclaimed funds to be allocated to legal services programs. The MSBA also requested several changes that would bring the timelines in Rules 16.02, 26.02, 26.04 and 63.03 into accord with those in the federal rules.

  • MN Judicial Branch Public Notices Update

    On December 19, former Justice Eric Magnuson and attorney Dan Cragg, along with MSBA President Sonia Miller Van-Oort, will speak at the Court’s public hearing regarding proposed changes to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure. Justice Magnuson will present the case for adoption of a rule providing half of unclaimed cy pres funds from state class action settlements be awarded to legal services. Mr. Cragg will argue that the Court should amend some additional Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure to conform with the Federal Rules.

    Also on December 19, three MSBA Sections will present their concerns at the Court’s public hearing regarding proposed changes to Rule 114 of the General Rules of Practice, which governs alternative dispute resolution. The Sections scheduled to speak are ADR, Family Law, and Construction Law.

  • 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, or Amanda Heinrichs (MSBA Outstate Practice Council Member,

  • 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.