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

Judicial Disqualification in Minnesota

“Mere bias,” “joining the team,” and other criteria The right to an unbiased judge is so fundamental to American jurisprudence that criminal convictions have been reversed over its violation. In Minnesota, the majority of determinations regarding disqualifying ‘partiality,’ ‘interest,’ or ‘bias’ have been made in criminal appellate cases. This article assesses contemporary standards for judicial […]

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Smart Phones, Dumb Driving, and the Law

The criminal and civil consequences of distracted driving Crashes that involve distracted driving have risen consistently in recent years. This article examines the criminal and civil exposure arising from texting and driving—and some ways in which the legal consequences may become more dire if the problem persists. Although distracted driving is illegal in Minnesota, a […]

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Car Minus Driver: Autonomous vehicle regulation, liability, and policy, part II

PART II The advent of autonomous vehicles points to a seemingly inescapable shift in historical standards for auto crashes—from driver/owner liability to a product-liability regime. The emerging technology may change how traffic laws are enforced, and it will also implicate other privacy, criminal, insurance, and ethical quandaries. SUMMARY: SAE-defined Levels of Automation L0 – No automation. Human […]

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The Lawyer as Cobbler

The legal profession stands on the verge of a transformation—from latter-day craft guild to full-blown modern industry. And that change, difficult as it may be, is a good thing for clients and legal practitioners alike. A modern lawyer resembles a medieval craftsman. Like cobblers, we craft custom products in expensive and time-consuming ways. A typical cobbler […]

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Car Minus Driver: Autonomous vehicles driving regulation, liability, and policy

Part I Automated driving is coming. Last month the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released its newly expanded Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, and the race is on to bring driverless cars to our roads on a mass scale. As with many new technologies, the law will have to catch up with the issues raised by […]

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Lawyerly Transitions: On charting a course from student to lawyer to adult

According to several law school statistical studies, the average age of law school graduates in the United States is 27. The average age of newlyweds in the United States currently sits at 27 for women and 29 for men. Further, over the last 43 years, the average age of a first-time mother has increased from […]

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ADR Policy for the Minnesota Courts

Past, Present and Future An update on pending revisions to Rule 114 The Minnesota Supreme Court ADR Ethics Board has been working since late 2012 to draft proposed updates to Rule 114 and is close to submitting its work to the Minnesota Supreme Court for consideration. Rule 114, Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District […]

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‘We are most effective when we maintain an even temperament and an open mind’

An interview with Justice Margaret Chutich of the Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court on March 17, 2016. She previously served for over four years on the Minnesota Court of Appeals following her appointment by Gov. Mark Dayton in December 2011. Justice Chutich had an interesting and varied career […]

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DIY Legal Tech: Do More, Work Less

Using document automation to speed up much of the routine work of lawyering In the average solo or small firm, 40 percent of the hours that lawyers work aren’t billed. You can buy yourself extra time by automating documents used regularly in your practice—on your own or with the help of software packages. But don’t underestimate […]

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Your Money or Your Data

Trends in other industries make it clear that lawyers must prepare  for ransomware attacks. Here’s how to get started. Earlier this year, ransomware cyber attacks at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles, California and MedStar Health, based in Columbia, Maryland, made headlines and alarmed health providers and patients. The ransomware attacks, which involve a virus […]

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