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for: ‘2010’

Rules of the Game: Business Development for Lawyers

Competition for business is intense, time is short, and there’s no time like the present to hone your business development skills and develop your personal book of business. Textbooks, web resources, and endless published articles are replete with theoretical constructs of ideal marketing programs and business development methodologies. No doubt some of these are useful; […]

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Wartime Consigliere: Minnesota Lawyers at War

* In the 1972 film, “The Godfather,” Sonny Corleone addresses his family attorney (“consigliere”) Tom Hagen, who wants to negotiate an end to the New York family feud, saying, “If I had a wartime consigliere … I wouldn’t be in this shape!” “I will never say anything bad again about lawyers, particularly military lawyers.  They […]

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Direct Adversity Conflicts

Conflict of interest: The term is used frequently today in public discourse as well as by lawyers and consumers of legal services.  To most people, it no doubt indicates something bad, something to be avoided.  In the context of the practice of law, the term is occasionally used loosely in situations that may not in […]

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When the Cup Runs Over: Distributing Leftover Funds Via Cy Pres

Even when class-action lawsuits are resolved for the plaintiffs, not all class members may be found and compensated.  Whether and how the residual funds should be distributed is for the judge to decide, and arguments for and against cy pres distribution both draw on fundamental values. Cy pres is the back-up field goal kicker of […]

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Pro Bono: Celebrating & Raising the Bar

Hardly a day goes by without the media giving us more bad news on the state of our economy and our community. The legal system has not been immune to this negative cycle: reduced court funding has stressed the capacity of the system to meet critical needs.  Our neighbors grapple with significant problems, such as […]

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September 2010

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Representing the Small Business in Troubled Times

Small businesses in the best of times face the challenge of getting paid for goods and services rendered, but troubled times increase the risk that a customer will default.  While there are no guarantees, a few tools are available to maximize the prospect of getting paid. Trying to come up with the definition of a […]

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To Protect and Deter

“To Serve and Protect” is the well-known motto of police forces everywhere.  While there isn’t an official, comparable motto for lawyer discipline agencies, many courts have supplied one, even if unwittingly.  “To Protect and Deter” could be so proclaimed, since courts have often declared that the purposes of lawyer discipline are protection of the public and […]

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Independent Contractor or Employee? The Focus Shifts Again

Courts, legislators, and government agencies have striven for years to distinguish employees from independent contractors, and the question remains a lively one for attorneys.  With roots in both statutory and common law, the distinction continues to evolve, as a recent decision from the Minnesota Court of Appeals illustrates. The question of whether a worker is […]

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From Classrooms to Dining Rooms

In my August column I made reference to concern expressed by some great Americans who caution that we face a very real threat to our system of democracy and constitutional government. The concern is based on Americans’ lack of knowledge concerning their rights and obligations in our form of constitutional government, as well as the […]

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