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Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

MSBA policy action updates

Lawyer registration: The MSBA filed comments with the Court regarding proposed changes to the Lawyer Registration Rules. The MSBA requested that the rule be amended to permit the Court to publish disaggregated data on race and gender. Currently the Court publishes race data and gender data, but not data that combines both of these variables. For example, from the self-reported statistics we know how many Hispanic/Latino lawyers there are in Minnesota, and we know how many female lawyers there are in Minnesota, but we do not know how many female Hispanic/Latino lawyers are practicing in Minnesota.  Minnesota Women Lawyers and a number of additional affinity bars joined in our comments to the Court.

MRCP: The MSBA filed comments with the Court regarding proposed changes to the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure recommended by the Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure. The MSBA requested the Court adopt changes to Rule 23, which would require 50 percent of state class action unclaimed funds to be allocated to legal services programs. The MSBA also requested several changes that would bring the timelines in Rules 16.02, 26.02, 26.04 and 63.03 into accord with those in the federal rules. Last, the MSBA voiced its support to update Rule 63 regarding disqualification of judges to comport with the Code of Judicial Conduct. The MSBA positions on these issues were approved by the Assembly over a year ago. The MSBA will be represented at the public hearing on December 19 by former Justice Eric Magnuson and Daniel Cragg, both of whom assisted in drafting comments. Credit is also due to MSBA members Lindsay Davis, Drew Schaffer, and Justin Perl, who wrote the initial draft comments regarding the cy pres (unclaimed funds) provision.

Bar admission: The MSBA filed comments with the Board of Law Examiners (BLE) in response to their request for comments on Rule 7A pertaining to admission to the bar. The BLE specifically requested comments regarding their current interpretation of the phrase “engaged as a principal occupation” in the practice of law as being full-time or substantially full-time; whether that phrase should be measured as 120 hours or more of practice per month; whether 60 of the past 84 months is a reasonable look-back period regarding the practice of law; and how part-time employment and absences from employment should be addressed. The MSBA comments address: 1) how measuring hours worked may not correspond with a lawyer’s competency; 2) how the “look-back” period may negatively affect those who take FMLA or parental leave; and 3) how the BLE could incorporate additional criteria to establish competency, such as practice history and supervision. The MSBA thanks members Eric Cooperstein and Ken Jorgensen for drafting these comments.

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