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

In Defense of Public Defenders

Minnesota’s chronically underfunded public defender system is looking for more resources at the Minnesota Legislature this year in hopes of increasing staff and reducing caseloads. It’s part of a six-year funding plan designed to get Minnesota PDs closer to the ABA’s national standards for public defenders. In nearly half the counties in Minnesota, a poor […]

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CRTs: A Powerful Tool for Income-Tax Planning

Charitable Remainder Trusts have been around a long time. But in cases involving extraordinary income events or certain kinds of underperforming assets, they offer estate planning advantages that deserve a fresh look. Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) have long been considered useful estate planning tools to reduce the grantor’s liability for income and estate taxes while satisfying a philanthropic objective […]

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When Legal Concepts Collide: Custody, Guardianship, and Minnesota Law

For decades, family law and guardianship have existed as distinct legal regimes with very different purposes. But recent changes to Minnesota child support laws have set them at odds with each other, with sometimes disastrous results for families whose children have disablities. Collisions are messy. When cars or trains or planes collide, the outcome is noisy, painful, and […]

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‘Band of Brothers’ Scores Pro Bono Win

How perseverance, determination and a bit of luck finally brought VA benefits to a traumatized Vietnam vet.   In a 2009 photo, attorneys (left to right) Patrick Mahlberg, Patrick Burns, John Satorius, and John Degnan stand with their client Larry Stigen. It’s been nearly five years since Bench & Bar brought you the story of Larry […]

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Pandora’s Inbox: NLRB Changes Email Rules

The National Labor Relations Board’s recent decision in Purple Communications ushers in a new policy for the workplace in response to the accelerating technological changes of our society, and significantly enhances employees’ ability to organize to form unions and engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining.1 On December 11, 2014, the board […]

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Continuous Representation Doctrine: Why Minnesota Should Say No

A 2013 order in Hennepin County District Court revived calls for the state to adopt a continuous representation standard for legal malpractice akin to the continuing treatment standard that applies to medical malpractice in Minnesota. But a comparison of our law to that of states that embrace continuous representation suggests it would be a bad policy choice. The statute […]

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Legal Lore of the Civil War

The 150th anniversary of the war’s end offers a reminder of Minnesota’s role in the case that made the Great Conflict inevitable. The 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War is being celebrated in Minnesota and elsewhere over the coming month. The conflict between the states effectively concluded on April 9, 1865, with the surrender […]

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An Elegant Balancing Act: Lawyers as Legislators

Not a few persons trained as lawyers have found themselves called to make law as well as interpret it, and they bring a special perspective to the legislative process.  The role of legislator also poses some unique challenges for lawyers, especially where Minnesota encourages legislators to have a career outside politics. Lawyers have had a […]

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Minnesota’s LLC Makeover: Increased Certainty Heightens LLCs’ Appeal

Minnesota’s new LLC act, adopted in 2014, will automatically cover all the state’s newly formed LLCs as of August 1, 2015 and will cover all Minnesota LLCs as of January 1, 2018, regardless of when they were created.  The new statute makes Minnesota a more competitive venue and may encourage more businesses to subject themselves to Minnesota […]

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Crisis Communications & Social Media: The Game Just Got Tougher

The rise of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter has given everyone the ability potentially to shape a public narrative, at times to the detriment of a lawyer’s client.  Understanding these new media and the new communications environment can help the attorney prepare for and respond effectively to a client’s next communications crisis. Anyone […]

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