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

Judicial Election Rules Upheld

On September 25, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in the case Wersal v. Sexton, et al.1  Why is this newsworthy for Minnesota lawyers, judges and the public?  Because what was at issue were portions of the Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct that affect Minnesota’s judicial election and campaign process.  Although the recently completed […]

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ABA Ethics 20/20: First Results

At its annual convention this past August in Chicago, the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates approved the first set of recommendations submitted by the Ethics 20/20 Commission.1  The approved changes are relatively minor, certainly when compared to much of the hype that surrounded the commission’s creation in 2009. If you don’t recall, the […]

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UPL by Suspended Attorneys

In the past few years, several attorneys have either been disciplined or have allegations pending against them based upon their continuing to practice law after being suspended due to discipline, suspended for nonpayment of the lawyer registration fee, or having their practice restricted for failure to meet Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements.  As a variation […]

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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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