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

King v. Burwell: Last Piece of Obamacare Puzzle?

With the resolution of King v. Burwell, the major constitutional questions regarding the Affordable Care Act appear to be settled. But the law remains in need of numerous fixes—most of which face dim political prospects. Okay. We’re done—maybe—with serious judicial challenges to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.1 The Supreme Court issued […]

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A Debt to Modernity

The personal exemptions granted to debtors under Minnesota law have grown antiquated in many respects, failing to take into account changes in values, technology and our collective sense of what constitutes “injury.” It’s time to refashion those laws for the realities of the 21st Century. “Here’s a fish hangs in the net, like a poor man’s right […]

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Vaccines and the Law

Where mandatory childhood immunizations are concerned, questions of public health, personal belief, and the dictates of law now collide on an alarmingly regular basis. Here’s a primer on the essentials of state and federal law on the subject. Generations of American school children have been taught about the heroic achievement of Dr. Jonas Salk, who […]

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LSC honors top MN pro bono lawyers

The Legal Services Corporation honored five Minnesota pro bono attorneys for their outstanding volunteer service at an awards reception at Dorsey & Whitney on July 17. The winners were Steve Kirsch (Briggs & Morgan), Larry McDowell (Wurst & McDowell), Tom Kramer (Kramer Law Office), Frank Bibeau, and Nora Sandstad (St. Louis County Attorney). Former Vice […]

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MSBA President 2015-16: Mike Unger

Getting It Done With Mike Unger Mike Unger, the incoming president of the Minnesota State Bar Association, is entering office with a to-do list, and he’s already started checking things off. Noting that he’s always been impressed by people who get things done, Unger explains his philosophy of service this way: “I’m practically oriented. I just […]

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My Trip to the State Bar Convention (1927)

Introduction by Justice David Lillehaug Years ago I practiced at the Minneapolis law firm that is now Stinson Leonard Street, where a colleague shared with me a short essay by founding partner George B. Leonard. In the essay, which I have edited for length and clarity, Leonard describes his driving trip to the 1927 state […]

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A New Day in Minnesota Trust Law

The first major revision of Minnesota trust law in a generation will take effect next year. The new Chapter 501C, which incorporates many features of the Uniform Trust Code, seeks to fill in the blanks in the state’s 1989 statute and to make Minnesota more competitive in an ever-changing trust landscape. [Editor’s note: An abridged […]

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2015 Legislative Session Recap 

In a year marked by the return of divided government in Minnesota—and the passage of a record-low number of bills—the interests of the bar were nonetheless well served. Session highlights included increased funding for the justice system and a package of major family law reforms. Groucho Marx is credited with saying, “Politics is the art […]

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When “Public Space” Isn’t Public

Shopping malls may be the new town squares in many respects, but in Minnesota and many other states, citizens leave their free speech rights at the door. The Black Lives Matter protesters who rallied inside the Mall of America last December drew attention not only to police practices and race relations, but also the rights […]

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Glass Half Full: The Decline and Rebirth of the Legal Profession

Changes in technology, economics and client expectations are producing wholesale disruptions in the traditional practice of law. But for those who understand and embrace the challenges, argues a new book from Oxford University Press, there’s a brighter future ahead. Charles Dickens wrote Bleak House as a serial in the 1850s and published it as a […]

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