Civil Litigation Section

Annual Report

MSBA Civil Litigation Section
Annual Report

Section Membership
As of June 26, 2017, the Section has 1,333 members. 

Financial Status
The Section had an account balance of $37,521.90 as of May 31, 2017.

CLEs & Events
The Section hosted 6 CLE programs in fiscal year 2016-17.  

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

An Update from the Federal Bench with The Honorable Susan Richard Nelson




1.0 Standard


Charting the Boundaries of Multijurisdictional Practice – In Re Charges of Unprofessional Conduct in File No. 39302




1.0 Ethics


Winning Tips for Successful Negotiation (co-sponsored with New Lawyers Section)



1.0 Standard


Effective Written Discovery - Time Tested Strategies from Jeff Anderson



1.0 Standard


Civil Litigation Annual Dinner - An Evening with Erwin Chemerinsky: The US Supreme Court after Justice Scalia



1.0 Standard


Approaching the Bar - Journalists and Lawyers Face off



1.0 Standard



 Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Section’s Election Meeting was held on May 12, 2017. 

The following candidates were newly-elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019: 

Martin Fallon, Maslon
Stephanie Balmer, Falsani, Balmer, Peterson & Quinn
Jeremy Stevens, Bird, Jacobson & Stevens
Cassandra Doran, Law Student and non-voting member 

The following Governing Council members were re-elected to serve from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019:

Shari Aberle, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP
Judge Louise Bjorkman, Minnesota Court of Appeals
Douglas Elsass, Nilan Johnson
Daniel McGrath, Steingart McGrath & Moore, PA
Galen Robinson, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
Matthew Schapp. Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer, PA

The following Governing Council members were elected as officers to serve from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018:

Section Chair:
Annamarie Daley, Jones Day

Section Vice-Chair:
Melissa Stull, Soule & Stull, LLC

Section Treasurer:
Judge Edward Wahl, Hennepin County District Court

Section Secretary:
Scott Rusert, Nilan Johnson 

Immediate Past Chair:
Douglas Elsass, Nilan Johnson

Diversity and Inclusion
What diversity and inclusion goals did the Section include in the 2016-2017 work plan, how did you approach these goals, and what was the result?

(1)        Increase diversity in leadership.  The Section recruits and supports diverse candidates for appointments to the Section Council, including communicating opportunities to join the Section Council and the value of joining the Section Council to affinity bar organizations.  The Section Council considered diversity in all appointments. 

(2)       Increase diversity in membership.  The Section recruits and supports diverse members.  The Section will seek to strengthen its relationships with affinity bar associations by developing partnerships with the leaders of those associations and inviting members of those associations to attend and participate in the Section’s programs and activities.  The Section will also increase its recruitment of law students and new lawyers, and current members will seek to act as a “buddy/mentor” to law students and new lawyer members.  The Section will do the same with regard to recipients of the Section’s scholarships. 

(3)       Increase diversity in programs and activities.  The Section recruits and supports diverse presenters for the programs that it offers, aiming to have at least one diverse presenter for each panel presentation of three or more presenters.  The Section will also offer or sponsor at least one CLE per year that provides an opportunity to identify and consider issues relating to diversity, and invite affinity bar associations to co-sponsor it.  The Section will work with the MSBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Director to identify potential program topics and co-sponsors.

Other Section Accomplishments

The Section focused this year on projects to build relationships among civil litigation lawyers and the courts, and to assist newer lawyers in their development in the profession and engagement in the legal community. For the coming year, the Section intends to continue with its plans to schedule programs with the Newer Lawyers section.  The Section also continued with its Monthly Practice Tips that are sent to members by email.

The Council approved a revised Mission Statement for the Section:

The MSBA Civil Litigation Section serves its members and the legal community by advancing standards of practice in civil cases, fostering connections among lawyers and the courts, offering learning opportunities, and providing a network of experienced and diverse lawyers that promotes collegiality in the profession.

Submitted By:

Doug Elsass, Section Chair

Date: June 27, 2017