Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Report: Task force proposes MSBA bylaw changes

How can the MSBA modify its existing governance to foster member engagement while being efficient and effective? This was the charge given to the MSBA’s Governance Task Force last year. To complete its mission, the task force took a deep dive into the MSBA Bylaws and recommended 11 changes. These changes range from the simple (for example, updating the term “outstate Minnesota” to “greater Minnesota”) to the more complex. The two proposed changes most likely to pique members’ interest are adding a fifth position to the officer track and allowing unclaimed Assembly seats to be filled by members appointed by the president (with MSBA Council approval). 

Currently the officer track consists of the secretary, treasurer, president-elect, and president. The task force is proposing a new officer seat called vice-president to be inserted between treasurer and president-elect. This provides an additional opportunity for members who aspire to become president. However, it also increases the time commitment of members in the officer track to five years rather than four.

The Assembly, MSBA’s policy-making body, includes designated seats for different sectors of our legal community. For example, each bar association section has a seat, and all the district bars have one or more seats depending on their proportional membership. In addition, there are seats for representatives from groups such as the Minnesota District Judges Association and the Minnesota Intellectual Property Lawyers Association, as well as Minnesota Women Lawyers and affinity bars such as Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. Sometimes a group fails to nominate someone to serve on the Assembly. Following a set time period and after notice to the group, the task force recommends empowering the president to fill those empty seats with members who are interested in serving on the Assembly.

To read the full report and recommendations of the Task Force, visit

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