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

Goodbye to All That: Thoughts on turning 67 and knowing when to quit

The time comes when we should hang it up. Some of us recognize it and go gracefully. Some don’t. I tried two cases with 80-year-old attorneys. In the first, we were local counsel in an employment case between our client, an officer of a student-testing company, and her boss. The issue was whether she quit or was fired. The answer […]

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How Law Firms Can Prepare for Partner Retirement

Facing the realities of an aging partner population It’s no secret that the legal profession is aging. In fact, nearly half of the partners in the nation’s top law firms are baby boomers or members of the older “silent generation,”1 and the same is true in the Twin Cities. Major, Lindsey & Africa’s 2016 Partner […]

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Succession Planning for Small Law Firm Owners: The Associate Buyout

Looking ahead to retirement? Sometimes the answer is already close at hand Small firm owners planning ahead for retirement would do well to consider whether any of the firm’s current associates could fit into their succession planning. This article dispels some common concerns about that approach and suggests a three-stage process for exploring and executing an […]

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Inspired to Serve: In-house pro bono is on the rise

More in-house legal teams are donating their time and skills to benefit Minnesota communities. In this article, the chair of the Minnesota Pro Bono Council discusses that trend, along with recent developments. On a cold December day several years ago, I met a young veteran who not only reshaped my views about what it means to […]

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How “Trial Lawyer” Became an Oxymoron: A lament for the disappearance of civil jury trials

By 2012, most sources suggest, fewer than 2 percent of all federal civil cases went to trial, with less than 1 percent being tried to a jury. Civil jury trials are literally on the brink of extinction. This article traces their decline and explores what’s been lost in the process. Representative government and trial by […]

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President’s travel ban heads to the U.S. Supreme Court

Authors’ Note On September 24, 2017, as this article was about to go to press, President Trump issued a new travel ban, stating that the March 6 Order had expired by its terms. The Supreme Court cancelled oral argument and asked the parties to brief whether the case is now moot. If the Supreme Court […]

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No time? No problem! Two great online pro bono outlets for the busy Minnesota attorney

Research shows the number one factor discouraging lawyers from volunteering is lack of time.1 Luckily, new online tools from legal aid are making pro bono easier than ever before.2 Minnesota Legal Advice Online is a website connecting low-income Minnesotans with remote legal advice from volunteer lawyers across the state.3 MN Legal Advice Online is a […]

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Three Decades of DATWA

Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act continues to confound Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (DATWA) turned 30 on September 1, 2017. Ten years ago, on the law’s 20th anniversary, one of us wrote for this publication, “For 20 years Minnesota has had one of the most complicated and employee-friendly […]

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Legal Tech Now: Q&A

Four questions about the present and future of legal technology with four presenters from this year’s MSBA Tech Month. What is your current role and how did you end up there? Ed Walters (Fastcase): I’m the CEO of Fastcase—my co-founder Phil and I did a coin flip, and I got CEO, and he got president and […]

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Legal Tech: The Future Starts in Law School

Some basic principles of legal technology education in the 21st century Technology is transforming how consumers interact with the legal profession. And the responsibility for training lawyers to meet a more tech-centric future begins with law schools. This article discusses five principles devised to guide legal educators in meeting the challenge.  Warning as to what’s ahead: This is an article […]

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