Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Minnesota Supreme Court adopts family and personal leave proposal


In 2022 the MSBA filed a petition with the Court proposing amendments to the Rules of General Practice for the District Courts, the Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure to create up to a 90-day presumptive personal leave continuance for attorneys who meet certain requirements. (See Court File Nos. ADM09-8009, ADM04-8001 and ADM09-8006.) The Court directed its relevant rules advisory committees to review the petition and report their recommendations. The Court then opened a comment period with a public hearing in November 2023.

On April 30, the Court issued an order adopting the personal leave provisions requested by the MSBA, albeit on a two-year pilot project basis, beginning September 1, 2024. Certain types of cases are exempt from the new presumptive leave rule, including criminal cases, orders for protection, harassment restraining orders, summary eviction and summary tenant cases, commitment cases, juvenile delinquency cases, juvenile protection cases, and adoption cases.

The MSBA petition arose out of concerns about attorney well-being and how the profession might address those concerns. The amendments adopted by the Court allow for personal leave not only for new parents, but also for attorneys with health conditions that render them temporarily unable to represent their clients. Attorneys who need to provide caregiving for a family or household member with a serious health condition, as well as attorneys dealing with the death of a family or household member, are also eligible for leave under the rule.

Attorneys wishing to claim the presumptive leave must file a declaration that they:

  • qualify under one of the rule’s covered categories; 
  • are making a timely request; 
  • are not seeking the leave for purposes of delay; 
  • are substantially involved in the case and will be again when their leave comes to an end; and 
  • have obtained their client’s informed consent to the continuance.

The length of leave requested must also be specified in the declaration. In recognition of privacy interests, an attorney is not required to specify which covered event they are facing when they request a presumptive leave. Attorneys reported that the prospect of more specific disclosures to opposing counsel and the Court had impeded them from requesting continuances in the past.

Another provision of the new rules allows opposing counsel to object by bringing a motion within 14 days of the filing of the application for a personal leave continuance. A court must rule on such a motion within 21 days of its filing, without a hearing.

The MSBA wishes to thank the members of the Parental Leave Working Group for their efforts in accomplishing this novel rule change. Jessica Klander chaired the working group, represented the MSBA at the public hearing on the matter, and assisted in drafting the MSBA’s petition. Working group members m boulette and Sarah Soucie-Eyberg were also instrumental in the petition-drafting process. 

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