Court rules and comments
- On December 1, the MSBA Court Rules and Administration Committee met with representatives from the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Rules of Evidence Advisory Committee to discuss the expert witness rule, Rule 702. The Supreme Court Committee welcomes input regarding Rule 702 through February 15.
- Acting on a recommendation from our Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, on November 22 the MSBA filed comments in response to a petition filed by the Board of Law Examiners (BLE) requesting amendments to the Rules for Admission to the Bar. The MSBA opposes lengthening the amount of time for conditional admission from 24 to 60 months, as proposed by the BLE.
- The Rules of Professional Conduct Committee is reviewing various proposals to amend MRPC 5.5 in light of a recent decision upholding a private admonition for the unauthorized practice of law. In the case (A15-2078), an attorney in Colorado provided legal advice to a relative in Minnesota and attempted to negotiate with a Minnesota attorney on behalf of that relative.
- The petition filed by the MSBA on September 2 to amend the Rules of Civil Procedure has been referred to the Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure. The MSBA proposed changes to bring the Minnesota rules into conformity with the federal rules. Also included was a proposal to require half of unclaimed cy pres funds in state court be allocated to legal aid.
- In December, the MSBA Assembly approved a recommendation from the Judiciary Committee to support amendments to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure related to judicial recusal, so that it is consistent with the Judicial Code of Conduct. The Board on Judicial Standards filed a petition with the court requesting the amendments.
On November 9, the MSBA filed a request to appear as amicus in Frederick v. Wallerich (Court File A15-2052), which was granted. The MSBA Council made the decision to file the amicus since the court may revisit the statute of limitations for legal malpractice, an issue of profession-wide significance. In this family law case, the court of appeals affirmed a district court decision that appellant’s legal malpractice claim was barred by the six-year statute of limitations and that the respondent’s attorney and her firm did not commit separate acts of malpractice that would have tolled the limitations period. Thanks to Michael McCarthy and Erica Holzer from the Maslon law firm, who drafted the amicus brief on behalf of the MSBA.
Alternative Legal Models Task Force
The task force recently completed listening sessions across the state. During those sessions, co-chairs Ken White and Susan Weins presented information about options the task force is considering and gathered feedback from members about those options. The sessions were held in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth, St. Cloud, Mankato, and Rochester; remote participation was available for the Minneapolis session. The MSBA Assembly also participated in a session at its December meeting. The task force will be reviewing member feedback before deciding what, if any, recommendations to make to the MSBA Assembly in April. For more information on the work of the Task Force, please visit www.mnbar.org/ALMTF .