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

BLE report proposes amendments to Rule 7A

The Board of Law Examiners (BLE) has filed its report on Rule 7A of the Rules for Admission to the Bar, including proposed amendments, with the Court (see ADM10-8008). The Court, after denying Kathleen Reilly’s petition for review of a BLE decision denying her admission based on years of practice to the Minnesota bar, had ordered the BLE to study Rule 7A and provide the Court with its findings and recommendations. As part of its study, the BLE invited comments regarding their current interpretation of the phrase “engaged as a principal occupation” in the practice of law as meaning 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 filed comments in 2017 addressing: 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 major amendments to Rule 7A proposed by the BLE would:

  1. reduce the number of practice months required from 36 of the 60 months prior to application, rather than 60 of the preceding 84 months; and
  2. establish 1000 hours per year as the threshold for satisfying the “principal occupation” requirement, rather than the Board’s prior policy of at least 120 hours per month.

To access the report, click here and enter the case number ADM10-8008 when you reach the search page.

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