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

Recognizing Social Entrepreneurship: Minnesota Embraces the Public Benefit Corporation

As of January 1, 2015, Minnesota will join the ranks of states that have adopted statutes permitting public benefit corporations, a new form designed to enable businesses to seek not only shareholder value but also fulfillment of the company’s stated social purpose.  Minnesota’s statute compares favorably with those of California and Delaware and bodes likely […]

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The Digital Scarlet Letter: Responding to Mug Shot Publishers

Rapid growth of the internet has spawned a new business whereby publishers “harvest” arrestees’ mug shots from public sites and reproduce them online without regard to subsequent disposition of the individual’s case, at times requiring payment to remove a photo from public view.  Legal responses to the phenomenon are varied and the issue remains unsettled. […]

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Free and Reduced Cost Legal Research: Options for Minnesota Lawyers

Amid challenging economic times lawyers across the profession are searching for ways to increase their efficiency while maintaining the quality and thoroughness of their work product.  Low-cost alternatives for legal research can be a cost-effective choice but users need to be aware of both their strengths and limitations. Over the last several years, practicing lawyers’ […]

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Boomtown: Risks and Rewards in the Peace Garden State

North Dakota’s oil boom has spawned sudden increases in population, business, and opportunity for roughnecks and lawyers alike.  But the challenges for practitioners and courts have grown apace. Unless you have been living under a rock (that is, any rock other than the massive shale formation known as “The Bakken”), you have likely heard by […]

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Minnesota’s Judiciary: Leadership in Service to Minnesotans

Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to speak with you today.  During my time with you, I want to talk about customer service. Specifically, I want to talk about how we, in the Judicial Branch, are working to improve and enhance how we serve the public, and what you can do as our […]

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The Great War Recalled: Minnesota Law & World War I

This month’s centenary of the outbreak of the “War to end all Wars” evokes memories of issues and events that then shaped and in many cases continue to shape Minnesota jurisprudence.  Precedents involving free speech, selective service, insurance, wrongful death, contracts, and securities law continue to sound. This month, August, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary […]

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The Appearance of Professionalism

Women lawyers are perpetually under the sartorial microscope. Aren’t they competent to make their own judgments about their professional obligations—including what they wear to work? Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. —Mark Twain “There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ‘Do trousers matter?’” “The mood will pass, […]

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MSBA President 2014-15: Richard Kyle

Going the Distance with Richard Kyle With respect to all past MSBA presidents: The Minnesota State Bar Association may be welcoming the most physically fit leader ever to take the post when the gavel passes to Richard Kyle this summer. And, as luck would have it, he’s an endurance athlete rather than a sprinter—a distinction […]

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Corporate Liability Under the FCPA: Identifying Defense Opportunities

Aggressive federal enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act poses significant risks to Minnesota corporations doing business abroad. Effective compliance programs are critical to reduce liability exposure, but having good defense strategies in the back pocket may be equally important. Imagine that corrupt foreign tax officials refuse to process your company’s tax refunds unless you […]

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Rental Repairs in Minnesota: The Case for Repair and Deduct

When landlords do not respond in a timely fashion to habitability problems, many states allow tenants to deduct the reasonable costs of necessary repairs from their rent. Minnesota merely offers a choice between various inefficient options and going to court.  A tenant decided to take a tour of the James J. Hill House in St. Paul. During the tour, a […]

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