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

How’d You Spend Your Summer Vacation?

Every now and then go away and have a little relaxation. To remain constantly at work will diminish your judgment.  Go some distance away, because work will be in perspective and a lack of harmony is more readily seen. —Leonardo Da Vinci  I don’t consider myself to be a workaholic.  Yet, the last vacation of […]

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Managing Expectations

When I was in law school, I had a remedies professor who advocated what he called “a yellow legal pad” approach to new clients. (As a total aside, do you remember yellow legal-sized pads?  Ah, how things have changed.)  The idea was that at an initial consultation with a prospective client, the lawyer would listen […]

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Lawyers Board Panel Actions

In July 2009, the Rules on Lawyers Professional Responsibility (RLPR)were amended, most significantly as to the manner in which probable cause determinations are made by Lawyers Board panels.1 The revised procedures have now been in effect for three years, perhaps a sufficient time to gauge the impact these changes have had on the lawyer discipline […]

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Disclosing Confidential Information

When someone consults Rule 1.6, Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC), concerning the confidentiality of information relating to the representation of a client, at first glance she might think that almost nothing truly is confidential at all.  Rule 1.6(b) lists ten situations in which a lawyer may reveal otherwise confidential information, even if the information […]

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Transparency in Government

The Minneapolis StarTribune recently published a series of articles and an editorial concerning the state’s Board of Medical Practices, and one on possible legislative response.  The crux of their articles concerns the amount of information available to the public about the board’s investigations and decisions.  The editorial called for greater transparency by the board. The […]

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Summary of Admonitions

In calendar year 2011, the Director’s Office resolved 112 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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Look & Learn

As we are deep into the holiday season as I write this column, it’s not too soon to look back at the disciplinary results of 2011 and forward to any changes expected in 2012.  The Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and the Office of the Director of Lawyers Professional Responsibility submit an annual report to the […]

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Opportunity (and Obligation) Knocks

I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty. —John D. Rockefeller As I near the end of the second year of my term as a volunteer in Minnesota’s lawyer discipline system, I appreciate what a great privilege it has been to work alongside so many great volunteers […]

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Scripting Contacts with Represented Persons

Ray Bradbury made the number 451 famous.1 The number 461, however, is not particularly remarkable, just an odd number with little previous significance attached to it. I’m old enough to remember that Eric Clapton recorded an album entitled 461 Ocean Boulevard, but that was just the address of a house he lived in while making […]

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OLPR Investigation Procedures

Anot infrequent underlying cause of lawyer complaints and misconduct is when the lawyer attempts to handle a matter in an area of law with which she is not familiar. The criminal defense lawyer who tries to represent a personal injury plaintiff; the real estate lawyer handling a relative’s contested marital dissolution; the corporate lawyer helping […]

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