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

Life Begins at 40

On January 4, 1971, a small state agency began operations.1 It was called the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility and operated in conjunction with the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, which oversaw the office and acted as adjudicators in contested matters.  The substantive disciplinary rules that the office was established to enforce had been in effect […]

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Keeping Up With the Neighbors

Each month, a fairly large volume of mail crosses my desk. Even with the Director’s Office’s excellent staff processing the majority of new complaints, district ethics committee reports, case-related correspondence, complainant appeals, etc., there is still no shortage of documents and information crossing my desk. Thus, sometimes I almost miss reviewing a particularly interesting and useful […]

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Complainant Appeals

A unique and often misunderstood aspect of the lawyer discipline system is the right of a complainant to appeal a private disposition of their complaint.1 If a complaint is dismissed without investigation (usually referred to as summarily dismissed), dismissed after investigation, results in the issuance of an admonition, or results in a stipulation for private probation […]

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Direct Adversity Conflicts

Conflict of interest: The term is used frequently today in public discourse as well as by lawyers and consumers of legal services.  To most people, it no doubt indicates something bad, something to be avoided.  In the context of the practice of law, the term is occasionally used loosely in situations that may not in […]

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To Protect and Deter

“To Serve and Protect” is the well-known motto of police forces everywhere.  While there isn’t an official, comparable motto for lawyer discipline agencies, many courts have supplied one, even if unwittingly.  “To Protect and Deter” could be so proclaimed, since courts have often declared that the purposes of lawyer discipline are protection of the public and […]

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Suspended … Hired?

You’ve gone and got yourself suspended (or worse, disbarred1) for committing some serious misconduct! You’ve been suspended by the Minnesota Supreme Court for a period longer than 90 days, such that you are required to apply for reinstatement, undergo an investigation by the Director’s Office, and appear for a reinstatement hearing before a panel of […]

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Time is Money

he Minnesota Supreme Court recently approved the budget for the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (Director’s Office). The fiscal year (now FY2011) for the Lawyers Board runs from July 1 to June 30. As a part of the end-of-fiscal-year cycle, the Board and Director’s Office also must file an annual report outlining the year’s activities.1 […]

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Update on Law Firm Departures

One of the unique side effects of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (OLPR) having such a highly usable website is that it makes writing this column more challenging. All of the articles ever written by directors and other attorneys in our office for Bench & Bar of Minnesota over the past 39 years are […]

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Succession Planning & Trusteeships

Is it just me, or was it only yesterday that we were worrying about and then celebrating New Year’s Day 2000? I’ve been told that as I get older, time supposedly “speeds up.” Well, that last decade sure went by quickly. And now we have to worry about 2012! I guess the point is how […]

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OLPR Resources on the Web

Readers familiar with the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board/Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility (LPRB/OLPR) website ( will recognize that the site contains a wealth of information helpful to Minnesota lawyers. You may also recognize that the current design of the website is not a model of efficiency, organization or viewing ease. Lawyers and nonlawyers alike can […]

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