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

Lawyers Dealing With Judges

The judicial election season is now officially upon us. It appears that, despite another two years of concern about the potential for contested judicial elections being heavily funded by out-of-state entities with agendas, the campaign scene will be relatively quiet against incumbents. A few open-seat elections will be interesting, but as best I can judge […]

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Changes Ahead for Legal Education?

We don’t need no education  We don’t need no thought control  No dark sarcasm in the classroom  Teachers leave them kids alone  Hey teacher leave them kids alone  —Pink Floyd, “Another Brick in the Wall” (Part II)  When I was reading the recent report of the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education1 […]

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Great Volunteers

In the July issue of Bench & Bar of Minnesota, you will be introduced to the new MSBA president, Richard Kyle.  As with incoming presidents each year, his portrait is expected to grace the cover of the July issue.  In January of this year, Mr. Kyle completed his second term (for a total of six […]

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Summary of Private Discipline

In calendar year 2013, the Director’s Office resolved 144 files with admonitions that were issued to Minnesota attorneys for isolated and nonserious violations of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC).  Another 13 lawyers entered into stipulations for private probation that were approved by the Lawyers Board chair; these stipulations resolved an additional 18 complaint […]

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Summary of Public Discipline

Last year, this column for the first time featured a summary of the previous year’s public discipline decisions,1 in addition to the annual summary of private disciplinary dispositions.  It proved to be a successful endeavor, generating several favorable comments over the year.  Public discipline summaries are regular features in many state’s bar publications, either monthly […]

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When Incivility Crosses the Line

“You can’t legislate morality.”1  However true this may or may not be, it has spawned an understanding among lawyers to the effect that you cannot legislate civility in the practice of law, at least not via the lawyer discipline system.  A recent Florida discipline case shone a spotlight on this concept.  In Florida Bar v. […]

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Beware of Ethics Information Overload

Have we run out of useful things to say or write about professional responsibility?  While this question easily could apply to me and this column, in fact, I refer to various entities that have, over the years, regularly issued opinions on topics related to professional responsibility.  I sense a marked decline of such opinions in […]

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Responsibility to Mentor

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” —Benjamin Franklin As I’ve done in the past, while Marty Cole is away I’ll turn this month’s focus to “responsibility to the profession” rather than “professional responsibility.”  Professional responsibility generally refers to the body of rules that govern our […]

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As incredible as it sometimes seems to me, I joined the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility as a staff attorney (then, as now, entitled an assistant director) in September 1984, after a short time in private practice.  It is now September 2013 as I write this.  How time flies!  Also then as now, the director […]

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Government Lawyer Conflicts

Conflicts of interest can arise for lawyers in all areas of practice.  The subject is of such importance that there are essentially eight rules in the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) that deal principally with conflict issues.1 Most of these rules can be applied over a wide range of legal areas and types of […]

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