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

Minnesota State Law Library Service to Prisoners Marks 30th Anniversary

2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the Law Library Service to Prisoners (LLSP), a collaborative program between the Minnesota State Law Library (MSLL) and the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC).  Operating without cost to the taxpayers of the State of Minnesota, LLSP provides law library service to DOC inmates incarcerated in Minnesota state facilities, as […]

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Cyber Insurance: What Minnesota Lawyers Need to Know

Cyber liability insurance is a relatively new and still-evolving product. Some researchers currently argue that small to medium businesses (SMBs) or “late adopters” are the most in need of the protections it can afford. Here’s a primer to help you sort out whether cyber insurance is right for your business clients—or your own firm. This article […]

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The Close Corporation Privilege Trap

The troubled legacy of Evans v. Blesi and the Minnesota courts Beware the shareholder dispute in closely held corporations: Owing to a problematic 31-year-old bit of case law, questions  could be raised about who exactly  is your client—and who is not. Thirty-one years ago the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued its decision in Evans v. Blesi.1 […]

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FASD and the Courts: A Reference for Legal Professionals

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an invisible affliction thought to affect 2 to 5 percent of the general population—and a much higher proportion of criminal defendants. Learning to recognize and deal appropriately with it in the legal system points the way to better administration of justice and more efficient courts. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder […]

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The Nations Within: An Indian Law FAQ

Indian law is a complex, difficult, and sometimes contradictory patchwork that varies enormously in substance and application from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It can seem an impenetrable maze to the outside practitioner; this primer on its history and key principles is designed to serve as an aid to navigation. So you know that Minnesota is the […]

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A Blind Spot in the Law

In May the Minnesota Court of Appeals held the state’s criminal defamation statute unconstitutional—leaving victims and prosecutors with less recourse against “revenge porn” and similar problems. Now a legislative working group is looking to plug that hole in the law while staying on the right side of the 1st Amendment.   By invalidating Minnesota’s criminal-defamation statute as unconstitutional, the […]

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Coming soon to a computer near you: Minnesota Court Records

After months of deliberation, Minnesota courts have opted to make more of their records electronically accessible through the internet. Though some restrictions remain in place—especially regarding juveniles or pending criminal matters—the result is a much more publicly open system. When the Minnesota Supreme Court convened an advisory committee in 2003 to study whether and to […]

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How well do you know the Magna Carta? Take this short quiz to see how much you know.

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How to Leave Your Law Firm and Live to Tell the Tale

Lawyer mobility is a commonplace in the modern legal economy. And while some partings are bound to be emotionally fraught, careful adherence to best practices can minimize any legal or ethical jeopardy. Here’s how. In today’s legal market, the idea of an associate or a partner leaving their firm to join another has become almost […]

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Lawyers Specialize. Courts Should Too.

Over time, lawyering has only grown more specialized; our courts remain committed to a generalist, jack-of-all-trades approach. Should it remain so? No, argues one longtime central Minnesota attorney: Progress ought to mean more specialization on the bench, too. “The history of learning amounts to a history of specialization.” – Beryl Smalley, Historians In The Middle […]

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