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

Meet the candidates: Minnesota Attorney General

Ellison, Wardlow discuss their records, views, and priorities Following Minnesota’s August 14 primary election, MSBA Access to Justice Director Sherri Knuth sent seven questions to the major party nominees for Attorney General of Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL) and former Minnesota state Rep. Doug Wardlow (R). We present their unabridged responses here. The MSBA […]

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Confidentiality Rules in the Age of Social Media

A historical perspective When, if ever, may a lawyer disclose confidential information, outside a legal proceeding, to defend against a client’s public accusation of serious misconduct? “Never” and “almost never” are the answers proposed, respectively, by the Lawyers Board and the Minnesota State Bar Association. The MSBA answer has taken the form of a petition […]

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Minnesota Revises Its Business Organization Statutes

Here’s what you need to know Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has signed into law revisions to several Minnesota business organization statutes, including the Minnesota Business Corporation Act, the Minnesota Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act, the Uniform Limited Partnership Act of 2001, the Uniform Partnership Act (1994), and the Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation Act. Minnesota Business […]

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Privacy: The Tort That Wasn’t There

Despite a landmark ruling 20 years ago in Lake v. Wal-Mart, Minnesota courts have generally treated privacy issues as none of their business. One score ago, the Minnesota Supreme Court brought forth a new notion, conceived in litigation and dedicated to the proposition that all people in Minnesota are entitled to privacy. The doctrine established 20 […]

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An Unfinished Journey: Miller, Montgomery, and the Changing Face of Juvenile Sentencing Jurisprudence

More than 13 years ago, the United States Supreme Court began a monumental shift in its analysis of juvenile sentencing under the 8th Amendment. Beginning with Roper v. Simmons1 and culminating most recently in Montgomery v. Louisiana,2 the Court through a series of four cases has emphasized that children are constitutionally different from adults with […]

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The Myth of the Invincible Prenup

Unpacking Minnesota’s “new” common law standards for antenuptial agreements Bulletproof. Ironclad. Impenetrable. Popular culture treats prenups as something approaching the armor of Achilles—protecting the bearer from all the vagaries of life and marital misfortune. To borrow a more modern metaphor, prenups are the stalwart insurance policy protecting the powerful and wealthy against even their most […]

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Understanding ‘Risk Assessment’ Tools

What they are and the role they play in the criminal justice system: a primer The concept of “risk assessment” in the justice system has proliferated alongside other terms such as “evidence-based practices,” “risk algorithms,” “big data,” and “machine learning.” While these terms and topics are related, they are not all synonymous. Not all risk assessments […]

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So you are going to trial

How to prepare for the case that doesn’t settle Once upon a time, it could reasonably be argued that trial preparation began when a case was filed, if not before. Today, however, with 90 percent of civil cases settling before trial, case preparation is often focused on achieving a positive settlement. At some point in […]

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Guest or Tenant?

The relationship between temporary lodging establishments and the landlord/tenant statutes, and why it matters. Among property rights, the right to exclude is considered the most significant. Where a landlord/tenant relationship exists, the landlord’s right to exclude is predicated on the landlord’s obtaining a court order granting eviction against the tenant. Irrespective of the basis for […]

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Sex Harassment Settlements: A new scarlet letter for employers?

How the movement to abolish NDAs and confidential settlements could produce unintended consequences. Prelude to a stigma Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ageless novel The Scarlet Letter has surprising relevance to the current #MeToo/TimesUp movement. Hawthorne paints the story of Hester Prynne, a beautiful young woman presumed to be guilty of having a child while engaged in an […]

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