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

‘An honor and privilege that comes with responsibility’

An interview with Justice Anne McKeig of the Minnesota Supreme Justice Anne McKeig joined the Minnesota Supreme Court as an associate justice on September 1, 2016. A descendant of the White Earth Nation, Justice McKeig is the first American Indian to sit on the state’s highest court. Her appointment also created a women’s majority on […]

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The Cohabitation Conundrum: What’s new in Minnesota’s new cohabitation law?

In August Minnesota enacted a new subdivision to Minn. Stat. §518.552 that permits the modification, reservation, suspension or termination of spousal maintenance obligations owing to a recipient’s cohabitation. This article examines the analytical standards that should be brought to bear in assessing potential legal action on the basis of the new law. Effective August 1, […]

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‘Like’-ly Litigation: Social-media use sends Minnesota students, employers to court

Recent Minnesota cases demonstrate the power of social media but also its legal pitfalls. The legal issues stemming from social-media use cut across practice areas and implicate core principles ranging from personal jurisdiction to the power of courts to regulate and restrain speech.   A few keystrokes on Facebook or Twitter can have immediate, far-reaching effect. […]

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Reanimating Dead Law: Employer sorcery after the Minnesota Whistleblower Act amendments

In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature amended the Minnesota Whistleblower Act to expand the law’s protections for employees. But many courts seem unaware of the amendments’ existence or, when aware, wary of departing from years of precedent. In November 2016, a federal judge certified the question of the continuing validity of the expose-an-illegality rule to the […]

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A Fresh Look at the Problem of Unpublished Opinions

Why it’s time to reconsider Minnesota’s approach Members of the bar have long chafed at the designation of appellate opinions as “unpublished.” But the concept has many judicial defenders, including past and present judges on the Court of Appeals. In this article, a justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and his former law clerk argue for […]

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Why Your Firm Needs an Ethics Partner. Now.

Recent changes in law make it a top priority Recent legal developments dictate that every law firm in Minnesota should designate a firm ethics counsel. First and foremost, the law on in-firm attorney-client privilege has undergone a tectonic shift—but there are many vital reasons to take this step now if you haven’t already. Does your […]

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Digital Assets After Death: RUFADAA and its implications

The Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which became effective in Minnesota earlier this year, has largely resolved the Catch-22 that faces trustees and estate administrators by creating a workable framework for disposing of digital assets after death. Attorneys who do estate planning work should familiarize themselves and their clients with its terms. Cloud computing […]

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When School’s Out Forever

Counseling indebted students after their school closes Recent high-profile school closures, like that of ITT-Tech, have left thousands of students across the country confused about their legal options.1 Closer to home, the Minnesota Attorney General has obtained an order that might lead local schools like the Minnesota School of Business and Globe University to close […]

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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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