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

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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Client Security Board

“Client Security Board Approves Claims.”  So reads the standard headline to the press release issued by the Minnesota Client Security Board (CSB) following one of its quarterly meetings.  This flat, nondescriptive statement hardly does justice to the workings of the board, the volunteers who serve on it, or the staff hours that this office provides to […]

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Compromise

All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.  —Edmund Burke1 As I write this month’s column, we are in the first weeks of the partial shutdown of state government.  Obviously, our leaders in the Legislative and Executive branches of state government were unable […]

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Three Rules of Professional Conduct

There are Rules of Professional Conduct with which an active attorney crosses paths almost every day. Whether the attorney stops to think about it or not, the rules on competence, diligence, communication, fees, confidentiality and others are an integral part of a lawyer’s daily existence; if not, then they should be. Then there are some […]

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Professional Ethics & Elimination of Bias

As I write this month’s column, we are in the midst of the annual end-of-season blitz of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars, just in time for those attorneys who need credits before their three-year reporting deadline arrives.  Especially prominent and popular are seminars on legal ethics and elimination of bias (EOB).  As I hope all […]

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Ethics Issues in ADR Practice

A new cable television series, “Fairly Legal,” reportedly depicts the world of mediation as remarkably glamorous and profitable.  By way of disclaimer, I’ve never seen an entire episode of this show, only promos and snippets while channel surfing, so my take may be skewed. But I have to wonder whether many (any?) lawyers engaged in […]

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Fee Disputes

In my discussions with lawyers around the state during bar functions or continuing legal education presentations, I’ve learned that there are many myths, or at least misunderstandings, about what types of complaints the Office of the Director of Lawyers Professional Responsibility investigates or doesn’t investigate, and about what types of matter can result in discipline.  […]

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Summary of Admonitions

In calendar year 2010, the Director’s Office resolved 122 files with admonitions that were issued to Minnesota attorneys for isolated and nonserious misconduct.1 Twenty-six lawyers entered into stipulations for private probation that were approved by the Lawyers Board chair;2 these stipulations resolved an additional 34 complaint files.  A summary of the admonitions and private probation […]

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