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Regulating Judges’ Public Comments

Judges’ free speech, public confidence in the judiciary, and the authority of the state Board on Judicial Standards are among the values in controversy in this exchange of perspectives on the limits that can be placed on judges’ public comments. A Critique Suppose District Court Judge Jay gave a talk at a Law Day conference.  […]

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Book Review: Minnesota Legal Ethics, A Treatise

As an avid collector of legal ethics works, it’s with special pleasure that I now can add to my hard-copy library a reviewer’s copy of Bill Wernz’s “Minnesota Legal Ethics: A Treatise.”1 With its publication, Minnesota lawyers will enjoy perhaps the most important ethics publishing event in the history of the Minnesota bar. That doesn’t […]

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Learning by Example: ‘Materially Limited’ Conflicts

Most lawyers readily understand conflicts wherein they are directly adverse to another party, but they may be uncertain where their own interests or responsibilities to another person “materially limit” their representation of a client.  Because lawyers owe their clients independent professional judgment, they should identify and weigh any limits of their representation.

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Negotiation Ethics

Any attorney will tell you that negotiating sessions are fraught with uncertainties, posturing, and various gambits to persuade the other side to yield.  Who is and who isn’t at the table, who’s representing whom, and how the parties behave are all part of the complex dynamic, but all transpires in the framework of the Rules […]

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Character, Fitness & Redemption: Measuring Fitness to Practice

Over the past 20 years the Minnesota Supreme Court has evolved a remarkable jurisprudence in reinstatement and bar admission cases that is nearly scriptural in its subject and its vocabulary. Although miscreants, generally, are redeemable, few have shown the desire, resolve, and actual transformation needed to obtain certification of redemption Mr. Wernz, don’t you believe […]

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May a Witness Ethically Lie in Court?

Legal education rarely if ever explores the use of general moral values, norms, and reasoning in the practice of law. Yet it’s indubitable that in practice law and morality at times conflict, and with justice as the goal, the two must be reconciled. Attorneys rarely consider moral values, norms, and reasoning as legitimate resources that can […]

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