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MSBA – An Extraordinary Organization

On May 6th I had the pleasure of addressing new lawyers being admitted to the practice of law in Minnesota.  This is the second time I have had the honor of performing this function.  It is, perhaps, one of the most fulfilling tasks that any bar association officer can perform. It’s a happy occasion for […]

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A Proud Tradition: Representing the “Unpopular Cause”

Law Day, celebrated on May 1st each year, is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law.  It underscores how law, our legal system, and yes—lawyers, have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans enjoy. In 1957, then-ABA President Charles Rhyne envisioned a special day to celebrate our legal system.  In 1958, […]

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It’s Not Chiseled in Granite! — Or Is It?

How often have we heard or said the above quote?  Its meaning is clear. It connotes that the particular principle of which it is said may not always be controlling or applicable.  Logic therefore suggests that when something is, in fact, “chiseled in granite” it is a universally recognized rule and always and forever applicable. […]

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Civility Among Lawyers and Judges

Finding something that really wasn’t lost! In the days following the recent tragedy in Tucson some speculated that a possible cause might be the loss of civility in the political process and in public discourse generally.  In other words, that folks have lost the capacity to be civil with one another when their ideologies, positions, […]

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Diversity in the Legal Profession: The Challenge Remains!

Following a 2009 study of the state of diversity in the legal profession, the American Bar Association’s Presidential Diversity Initiative issued its report and recommendations in April 2010. The executive summary of the results of that effort begins with the following statement: This nationwide endeavor quickly revealed that we have made some progress, but the […]

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“Wherever Two or More Are Gathered”

If you have been paying attention, you have noticed that Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea is “a person on a mission.” Since her appointment as chief justice last summer, she has made adequate funding of the Minnesota Justice System a constant and central focus of her considerable energy and activity. She has […]

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Sales Tax on Legal Services

A Very Bad Idea Since the sales tax was first introduced in Minnesota in the 1960s, Minnesota has rejected the extension of the sales tax to legal services as bad public policy on no less than three occasions. Minnesota’s historical position on this issue has been the right one, and is in keeping with 46 […]

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Pro Bono: Celebrating & Raising the Bar

Hardly a day goes by without the media giving us more bad news on the state of our economy and our community. The legal system has not been immune to this negative cycle: reduced court funding has stressed the capacity of the system to meet critical needs.  Our neighbors grapple with significant problems, such as […]

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From Classrooms to Dining Rooms

In my August column I made reference to concern expressed by some great Americans who caution that we face a very real threat to our system of democracy and constitutional government. The concern is based on Americans’ lack of knowledge concerning their rights and obligations in our form of constitutional government, as well as the […]

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Cui Bono? (To Whose Good?)

In an address to the opening assembly of the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois in August 2009, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice David H. Souter lamented that (unlike the readers of this column) fully two-thirds of U.S. citizens cannot name all three branches of government. At the state legislature we see the judicial […]

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