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

There’s Sand in Them Thar Hills: Minnesota Races to Regulate Frac Sand Mining

“Not all that tempts your wand’ring eyes And heedless hearts, is lawful prize; Nor all that glisters, gold.”1   The silica or “frac” sand boom in Minnesota appeared to have all the makings of a modern gold rush: extensive sand supplies, rabid demand, national media coverage, speculators offering to pay multiple times market value for […]

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Injuries While at Work: Work-Related or No?

Courts are frequently called upon to decide when an employee’s injury is or is not work-related for purposes of compensation and both the statutes and case law offer guidance.  A recent decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court nullified a test developed by the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, but seems not to have changed the […]

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What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Computer Security for Lawyers

The burgeoning growth of electronic communications has offered lawyers convenience and efficiency previously unimagined. But the benefits have not come without costs, including heightened risks that data may be lost or confidentiality breached.  Knowing these risks and how to meet them is increasingly critical. Over the past ten years, the landscape of consumer technologies has changed […]

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The Dough Boy’s Devise: Severance Takes a Poke

New developments—both in the economy and the law—have brought about changes in severance packages given by employers to employees. Severance arrangements in which employers provide compensation to departing employees, along with other terms and conditions, have deep Minnesota roots. But rulings of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals1 have dealt setbacks to employees who have entered […]

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Disability & Accessibility: Applying ADA Title III to the Internet

As business transactions increasingly have moved onto the internet, questions about equal access to websites for persons with disabilities have arisen in parallel.  While equal access is without question the goal, when and how this will be accomplished remains to be seen. The District of Minnesota has recently seen an increase in lawsuits claiming that commercial […]

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What Jurors Think About Attorneys

Regardless of the verdict given, what attorney—having argued a case—doesn’t come away wishing for more insight into the minds and perceptions of the jurors?  Given ten years of data from systematic surveys of jurors, some patterns in their responses emerge. Early in my legal career I tried a civil jury case in Hennepin County District […]

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A Question of Identity: Direct v. Derivative Claims in Shareholder/Member Litigation

The idea of derivative claims is founded in corporate law and has significant, practical implications for LLCs, corporations, and sometimes partnerships. Special pleading requirements apply and such claims carry special risks and potential benefits. Many lawyers view the concept of the “derivative claim” as a foreign, technical nuance that they do not anticipate encountering. In reality, the distinction between […]

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Pride’s Progeny: Legal Ramifications Of Same-Sex Marriage

Legislation and litigation regarding same-sex marriage has altered the legal landscape for attorneys and clients in areas of family law, labor & employment law, immigration, and constitutional law with wide-ranging implications that are still being realized. The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor,1 the federal Defense of Marriage Act,2 and Minnesota’s adoption […]

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Strategic Planning for Small Law Firms

Pressed for time and averse to business jargon, solos and small law firms may be overlooking benefits of strategic planning that include more and better business over the long term. If a small law firm is perfectly happy with its current status and future outlook, then it does not need a strategic plan. But really, […]

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Deconstructing the Dome: Legacy of Litigation Lingers

Conceived in the 1970s to replace the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minneapolis’s iconic Metrodome has graced the skyline since 1982 and left its mark on Minnesota’s legal landscape as well. Before the month is done, so will be the Metrodome. The venerable facility has been the scene of a Super Bowl (won by Washington), a […]

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