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

Jobs in the Law: A Profession hits “Pause”

The past 15 years have witnessed the onset of a technological and commercial revolution in the delivery of legal services that is inflaming cost-containment pressures from clients, transforming the reach of legal technology into everyday practice, and refiguring in basic ways the number and nature of lawyering jobs available. The last point is perhaps the […]

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Law School: Caveat Emptor

In 2014, Minnesota licensed a total of 752 new lawyers,1 most or all of them presumably eager to join the 25,272 lawyers already licensed in the state. Unhappily, Minnesota’s legal profession did not (because it could not) greet them with open arms. Instead, according to ABA data, Minnesota’s net total lawyer population decreased by 750 […]

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Getting Paid: Is Time Running Out on the Hourly Rate?

Years ago, I was visiting a friend and fellow lawyer who practiced in Wisconsin at the time. “Isn’t law great?” he asked. “What other business can you think of where you get to decide how much money you want to make, and then convert that to an hourly rate which everybody then agrees to pay?” […]

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BigLaw: The World of the Megafirm

When my father joined St. Paul’s venerable Oppenheimer firm in 1937, it was already a “big” firm of seven lawyers. Like many others, he practiced his whole career at the same firm. When I came out of law school in 1968, Oppenheimer was one of the large firms in the Twin Cities, and has been […]

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RealLaw: How the Rest of Us Practice

BigLaw attracts a lot of attention these days, but it’s the rest of us that the average American envisions when he or she thinks about lawyers and what lawyers do. Apart from the fact that we have no choice but to adapt to the ever-increasing barrage of changes in technology and communications media that affect […]

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On Edge: The Future of the Profession

As I wrap up this special issue, I offer fair warning that the following is a personal plea from me to each of you who has been interested enough to read this far. It is a plea that you revisit the very concept of “profession” as it applies to what we do—the legal profession—and that […]

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Lake Law 101 – Or: So You Want To Own a Cabin…

Owning a place ‘up north’ is the stuff of Minnesotans’ dreams. But along with the rustic setting and the sun-dappled shoreline, there comes a thicket of laws, regulations and potential boundary disputes that the wise would-be purchaser will get to know. It seems that owning a cabin in northern Minnesota is every Minnesotan’s dream. The […]

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Ending Discrimination Against Women Globally—and Locally

MSBA backs ratification of CEDAW, a long-stalled UN convention on the elimination of discrimination against women. On December 11, 2015, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) unanimously passed a resolution supporting efforts to end discrimination against women here and abroad through the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). A […]

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A Jounce, A Pat, A Plop, A Plunk: Minnesota’s Broad New Assault Crime

A pair of Minnesota court decisions have upended traditional definitions of what constitutes assault First came State v. Fleck, a 2012 Minnesota Supreme Court decision that significantly dissociated two types of assault crimes—assault-fear and assault-harm. Then, this year, an appellate court further hairied matters with its decision in State v. Dorn, churning up more questions for […]

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Non-compete Agreements: The Latest Minnesota/ Wisconsin Border Battle

Wisconsin decision puts the states at odds over non-compete provisions in employment agreements. Thanks to a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision, the law in Minnesota and its neighboring state now differs on the key, threshold issue of whether continuation of existing employment supports a non-compete agreement. Minnesota employers may want to rethink choice of law […]

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