MN Wild



Spring 2015, Volume XVII, No. 2

Note from the Editors

By Joe Bourne and Jeff Mulder

Welcome to the Spring 2015 edition of Hearsay, a quarterly newsletter dedicated to publishing the work of Minnesota’s new lawyers.  We are pleased to be able to bring you articles several interesting topics and recent developments in the law.  If you are interested in submitting to a future edition of Hearsay, please contact Joe Bourne or Jeff Mulder.

Note from the Chair

Happy Spring All!

As we close out the 2014-2015 bar year, I'm excited to see the path on which the New Lawyers Section is set. This year we have had a lot of discussions about the purpose and mission of the NLS. The membership has recognized that we, as a section, need to refocus our attention on what we can offer our members and reinforce our Section as a producer of strong leaders within the legal community and various organizations.

Our Section’s voice is being heard more often on different levels of the MSBA and our opinion and input is sought after for various programs and taskforces within the MSBA. Our members continue to take on leadership roles in other MSBA sections and continue to apply to serve on various boards, such as the Minnesota CLE board and as delegates from the MSBA to the ABA. I hope our members continue to seek such leadership opportunities. 

At our annual meeting in May, we recognized the following three individuals for their dedicated service to our Section:

  • Landon Ascheman as the Chair of the Social Committee
  • Adina Florea as the co-Chair of the CLE Committee
  • Kelly Moore as the co-Chair of the CLE Committee

We also held the elections for next year’s officers. The membership elected the following individuals:

  • Elisa Murillo as Chair
  • Michael Boulette as Vice Chair
  • George Norris as Treasurer
  • Ryan McCarthy as Secretary

If you are interested in becoming more involved in the NLS, we always welcome participation within our various committees. You can contact Elisa Murillo as she begins organizing next year’s executive council. You can find more information about the NLS committees at:

It has been an honor to serve as the Chair of the Section this year and I look forward to seeing the progress of the Section in future years.

Jennifer S. Santini

Basics of Drafting Enforceable Severance Agreements (for New Lawyers)

By Kelly M. Dougherty 

New employment lawyers will often face the task of negotiating and drafting a severance agreement (or separation agreement) on behalf of either an employer or employee.  To be effective for your client and obtain a smooth transition, it is important to understand the context of the separation of employment, whether voluntary or involuntary, and to identify desired monetary and non-monetary terms early in the process.  Further, under federal and Minnesota law, there are specific requirements for a valid release of claims.  This article outlines the basics of drafting enforceable severance agreements and common mistakes to avoid. 

Winning Your Default Judgment Motion

By Jason Raether

Default? The two sweetest words in the English language!”

--Homer Simpson, “The Simpsons”

            When the defendant has failed to timely answer the complaint, it is time to bring a default judgment motion.  Like Homer Simpson in The Simpsons episode quoted above, many attorneys make the assumption that the other party's failure to respond means automatic success.  This often leads to exasperated judges denying the motion and confused attorneys wondering why they lost a motion to an empty chair.

            Default judgments are addressed in Rule 55 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, but an attorney who relies solely on Rule 55 will be ill-prepared when they bring a default judgment motion before a careful judge.  Instead, a successful default judgment motion requires knowledge of the General Rules of Practice, case law and common practice.  By following the advice below, you are more likely to win your motion and avoid looking like Homer Simpson.  Read more...

I Made A Mistake. Now What Do I Do?

By Molly Eiden
It is every lawyer’s nightmare: a mistake in handling a client matter. Now what?

First, mistakes happen. You are certainly not the first lawyer to make a mistake while representing a client. Nationwide, more than 55,000 claimants initiated claims against lawyers who had legal malpractice insurance in the 2008-2011 report period.

Next, be pro-active in responding to the situation. Consult your firm’s internal procedures for handling these situations. The information below should be considered advisory guidelines that may assist you throughout the process. Read more...

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