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

Parsing Minnesota: A history of the original U.S. public land survey system in Minnesota

The Public Land Survey System (PLSS), launched in Ohio in 1785, is the source of all real estate titles. Its measurements are sacrosanct in law, but recovering the original section corners presents a challenge. This article describes how the survey was done and reviews some of the most salient Minnesota case law. When you fly west over […]

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Navigating Minnesota’s New Drug Laws

A guide for criminal law practitioners Minnesota substantially changed its criminal drug laws in 2016. The reforms, designed to better distinguish addicts from dealers, include new offenses and revised sentencing guidelines as well as new aggravating factors and mandatory minimums. For the first time in 27 years, the Minnesota Legislature made significant reforms to the criminal […]

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On Closing a Law Practice

A retiring lawyer’s open letter to younger lawyers on lessons learned the hard way Winding down a law practice is hard work. In this open letter to lawyers who are not yet contemplating retirement, a solo practitioner from Austin, Minnesota describes the process and offers advice to make it less arduous. (Hint: Go paperless now.) Hello: […]

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Arguing at the Appellate Level: A Judicial Clerk’s Perspective

What to do—and not to do—in oral argument Through her experience as a clerk, the author learned that the best appellate attorneys accomplished two goals at oral argument—helping judges reach a well-reasoned decision while at the same time firmly advocating for their clients. This article offers tips to help appellate lawyers achieve both goals. My […]

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Take Two: President Trump’s Suspect March 6 Travel Ban Order

The president’s March 6, 2017 Executive Order, which is unlikely to prove temporary, continues to raise legal and constitutional concerns When President Trump signed Executive Order 13769, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” on January 27, 2017 (the “January 27 Order”), he exercised executive power to suspend the entry of […]

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Try to Remember: Estate planning for clients with dementia

Americans are living longer, and nearly 50 percent of them will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease by the time they are 85. Dealing with estate clients who may have dementia is challenging—and fraught with the potential for future litigation. This article offers insight into recognizing signs of dementia and taking steps to ensure that estate plans […]

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A Crisis of Complacency: Minnesota’s untested rape kit backlog

Every two minutes, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.1 According to the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, one in three Minnesota women have been sexually assaulted by mid-life.2 Almost two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone who is known to the victim. If you know three women, it is likely that you know […]

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Is There An Implied Covenant in Employment Agreements?

Understanding an important discrepancy in case law Lawsuits claiming breaches of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment agreements are dismissed every day. Why do plaintiffs keep trying? Because there is a discrepancy in case law. In some matters it has been held that it was bad faith to terminate non-at-will […]

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Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Courts: An Introduction for Legal Professionals in Minnesota

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD) are characterized by pervasive difficulties with communication and social functioning across diverse social settings. Despite these social impairments, it can be difficult to identify the presence of ASD and SCD in higher functioning individuals. Unfortunately, this adversely impacts individuals with ASD and SCD—particularly in legal settings, where they […]

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On President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order Regarding Immigrants, Non-Immigrants, and Refugees

The practical implications, why it’s not likely to be temporary, and the legal and constitutional concerns it raises.   When President Trump signed Executive Order 13,769, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” (the “Order”) on January 27, 2017, he exercised power under 8 U.S.C. §1182(f) in a way that raises […]

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