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

MSBA President 2016-17: Robin Wolpert

A Long Road  to the Law As Robin Wolpert steps up to lead the Minnesota State Bar Association this summer, she won’t be the first woman to have done so. Nor will she be the first bar president who has worked in government or as corporate counsel. Certainly she won’t be the first president from […]

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Succession Planning: Rewarding the Senior Lawyer

Succession planning works best when retiring senior lawyers receive the proper monetary incentives to transition their clients to other lawyers in the firm. Succession planning is a hot topic at many law firms today. That should come as no surprise, with successful baby boomer rainmakers starting to retire in significant numbers. A critical component of any […]

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2016 Legislative Session Recap

At the Capitol, a short session and partisan divisions stymied a lot of legislation.  But most of the MSBA agenda—including family law reforms and a series of technical changes to other laws—was enacted. The end of the 2016 Minnesota legislative session brought to mind William Shakespeare’s line about how it’s better to be three hours […]

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DATWA’s Reach Grows

8th Circuit rules Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act has multi-state reach The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit recently expanded the reach of the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act1 (DATWA) by ruling that the Act can apply to the employees of Minnesota-based employers working in […]

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A Change of Venue for Trade Secret Disputes: How the Defend Trade Secrets Act will impact Minnesota law

In May President Obama signed the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act. And though it shares much in common with existing state law, Minnesota attorneys must reckon with the changes it brings—chief among them a shift to original jurisdiction in the federal courts and a new set of complications involving trade secrets and whistleblowing claims. The […]

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A Profession on Edge: Introduction

In 1999, the MSBA published For The Record: 150 Years of Law and Lawyers in Minnesota, a compendium of historical essays, yarns and figures charting the Minnesota legal profession’s growth from the appointment of its first judges in 1849 to the state’s surpassing of the 20,000-lawyer threshold in 1999. The publication of this comprehensive volume […]

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Jobs in the Law: A Profession hits “Pause”

The past 15 years have witnessed the onset of a technological and commercial revolution in the delivery of legal services that is inflaming cost-containment pressures from clients, transforming the reach of legal technology into everyday practice, and refiguring in basic ways the number and nature of lawyering jobs available. The last point is perhaps the […]

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Law School: Caveat Emptor

In 2014, Minnesota licensed a total of 752 new lawyers,1 most or all of them presumably eager to join the 25,272 lawyers already licensed in the state. Unhappily, Minnesota’s legal profession did not (because it could not) greet them with open arms. Instead, according to ABA data, Minnesota’s net total lawyer population decreased by 750 […]

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Getting Paid: Is Time Running Out on the Hourly Rate?

Years ago, I was visiting a friend and fellow lawyer who practiced in Wisconsin at the time. “Isn’t law great?” he asked. “What other business can you think of where you get to decide how much money you want to make, and then convert that to an hourly rate which everybody then agrees to pay?” […]

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BigLaw: The World of the Megafirm

When my father joined St. Paul’s venerable Oppenheimer firm in 1937, it was already a “big” firm of seven lawyers. Like many others, he practiced his whole career at the same firm. When I came out of law school in 1968, Oppenheimer was one of the large firms in the Twin Cities, and has been […]

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