• Seventh Edition of Legal Ethics Treatise now available

    The 2017 update to the Minnesota Legal Ethics treatise by Bill Wernz is now available.

  • 4 District Court filing fees reduced July 1, 2017

    Effective July 1, 2017, Minn. Stat. § 357.021, subd. 2, is amended to reduce the amount of the following District Court fees:

    • Civil filing fee from $310.00 to $285.00

    • Dissolution filing fee from $340.00 to $315.00

    • Motion fee in civil and family court cases from $100.00 to $75.00

    • Motion fee in child support cases from $100.00 to $50.00

    Minnesota Judicial Branch

  • Dealing with and Defending Ethics Complaints

    New eBook by Bill Wernz released.

    Dealing with and Defending Ethics Complaints is a guide written by well-known ethics attorney William J. Wernz as a companion to his MN Legal Ethics treatise (7th Ed coming June 2017)..

  • Message from the International Refugee Assistance Project

    Subject: Time Sensitive Travel Ban Research Needed

    Dear Lawyers and Law Firms Who have Written to IRAP to Inquire How to Help Fight the Muslim Travel Ban,

    Thank you so much to all of you for writing to inquire how you could assist in the legal fight against the Muslim Ban.

    We will be sending out a more detailed survey in the next month to try to capitalize on all this amazing energy and interest.

    But in the short term, with the new Executive Order dropping and briefing ramping up in the various litigation cases, we have some immediate research needs on some issues that will be central to several of the lawsuits challenging both the old and new versions of the Executive Order.

    Most of these are administrative, civil procedure, or international law questions, and we would ideally have detailed memos (10-20 pages) returned within 7-10 days.

    Please let us know as soon as possible if you or your firm or organization might be able to assist with this research and we can send you one of our research questions. We will also be available to answer any questions you have throughout the researching and drafting process.

    Thank you so much again for your willingness to assist in challenging the Executive Order.

    IRAP team

    Julia Kessler

    International Refugee Assistance Project | New York
    Urban Justice Center
    40 Rector St., 9th Fl
    New York, NY 10006

  • Important message for eFilers: Minnesota District Court Registered User Filing Guide updated

    The Minnesota District Court Registered User Filing Guide was updated January 13, 2017. The Guide explains how to use the eFS System to electronically file and serve documents in Minnesota district courts.

    Everyone who e-files in district courts needs to follow the Guide. The updated version of the Guide:
    Describes the new requirement for filers to type each document’s security classification when filing, which starts January 20, 2017;
    Gives examples to help filers accurately classify public and non-public information; and
    Emphasizes common formatting problems, including unnecessary document scanning.
    The Guide is available at Everyone who e-files should review the updated Guide.

  • Hennepin County Bar Association Recognizes Members For Pro Bono Service

    MINNEAPOLIS— Each year, the Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA) recognizes three attorneys who have made a significant contribution through pro bono service. The Pro Bono Publico awards are presented to lawyers in recognition of the time, knowledge, and devotion given in service to the community. Recipients of the 2017 awards are attorneys Cathy Haukedahl, Lindsay Davis, and Jonathan Bye. They will be honored at the 37th annual Bar Benefit, which will take place on Thursday, March 2, at 5 p.m. at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center.
    Three distinct award categories honor the dedication of pro bono services. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes an individual for career-long pro bono work on behalf of the community, and the two Excellence Awards recognize current or recent excellence in service by individuals—one from the private sector and one from the public sector.
    Cathy Haukedahl is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Service Award. Throughout her legal career, Haukedahl has been a strong advocate for legal services. Currently, she serves as executive director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (MMLA), where her leadership has helped thousands of Minnesotans gain access to justice.
    Haukedahl has helped MMLA remain a leader in addressing the access to justice gap through the development of innovative programming such as medical-legal partnerships, expansion of domestic violence court projects, and community clinics. In addition to giving more clients access to the legal system, these programs have also given lawyers more opportunities to serve the community through pro bono work.
    Haukedahl guided MMLA during the fallout from the Great Recession when the organization faced a significant funding decrease coupled with skyrocketing demand for services. She led a structural reorganization effort that ensured a strong future for the organization. In addition to her leadership with MMLA, she has also served the Minnesota legal community by serving on multiple task forces and committees that address important issues in the legal community.

    /Continued-- --HCBA Pro Bono Awards/ page 2
    Lindsay Davis will receive the Award of Excellence for a Public Attorney. Davis demonstrates a commitment to serving those in need through her work, pro bono service, and leadership in the greater legal community. Currently, Davis is the access to justice director for the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA).
    At the MSBA, Davis has worked behind the scenes to develop programming and advance policy changes that address justice-related issues. Through Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN), she frequently volunteers to help with criminal expungements by screening and representing vulnerable clients. In addition, Davis has also taken on pro bono cases outside of her normal practice area.
    Davis also participates in various task forces and steering committees to help improve legal access to those in need. She has shared her expertise by conducting training, speaking at various conferences, and authoring several articles on topics related to law and poverty.
    Jonathan Bye receives the Award of Excellence for a Private Attorney for his leadership in his firm and the greater community. As a partner at Lindquist & Vennum, he has been an example of service to others in the firm and the legal community. A fellow partner called Bye the “face of pro bono.”
    For over two decades, Bye has either chaired or co-chaired Lindquist’s Public Service Committee, and the firm has met the Pro Bono Challenge metrics every year since then. He has been a member of the VLN board of directors for over a decade and served as board chair in 2009. Under his leadership, the organization implemented a new five-year strategic plan, formalized best practices and policies, increased client services, and significantly improved its financial health. He has also served on the VLN Benefactor’s Board since its inception in 2009.
    Through his work with the Hennepin County Pro Bono Project, Bye was instrumental in creating the District Court Referral Project, where judges can directly refer low-income clients to VLN for services.
    The HCBA proudly recognizes these members, each highly deserving of this honor, as individuals who rise to the call and share their time and knowledge for the benefit of our community. The HCBA also proudly supports legal access for all through a variety of direct service programs, through its support and partnership with Volunteer Lawyers Network, and through significant grants made to legal service providers by the Hennepin County Bar Foundation.
    # # # # #
    Photos of award recipients are available by contacting Nick Hansen (612) 752-6679 or

  • Fastcase Renews Partnership with Minnesota State Bar Association

    Fastcase Renews Partnership with Minnesota State Bar Association
    to Provide Free Access to Legal Research Library
    Free Access to Smarter Legal Research Tools Available Today for Members of MSBA
    Minneapolis, MN and Washington, DC (January 3, 2017) – Today the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) and legal publisher Fastcase renewed a partnership to provide members of the state bar with free access to Fastcase’s nationwide legal research system.

    The MSBA and Fastcase had previously worked together to provide the research tools from 2007 through July of 2016, when the MSBA subscribed to another legal research benefit provider. Based on demand from users, after six months with the other provider the MSBA exercised an option to terminate its alternative contract and resumed service with Fastcase, effective today.

    As MSBA Online Services Director Joe Kaczrowski notes, “there are myriad tools and services available to assist our members in the successful practice of law. The MSBA continually evaluates our products and services to maximize the value of membership and help our members keep abreast of how technology is changing the profession. In this instance, our members expressed a clear preference for the Fastcase legal research platform.”

    The MSBA’s more than 15,000 members will have free access to Fastcase’s comprehensive online legal research system, which ordinarily sells for $995 per member per year. This exclusive bar member benefit provides members of the MSBA with unlimited access to one of the largest law libraries in the world, training webinars and tutorials, and live customer support from members of the Fastcase team.

    The MSBA joins twenty-eight state bar associations, hundreds of law schools, dozens of voluntary bar associations, and scores of corporate legal departments who subscribe to Fastcase, representing more than 800,000 lawyers around the world.

    In addition to its nationwide legal research database, Fastcase’s service also includes transactional access to newspaper articles, federal court filings, and legal forms. Starting today, members may log in by going to, clicking on the Practice Tools tab, and selecting the Fastcase option. From there, users simply log in with their bar ID and password. The member benefit is unlimited – with no restrictions on time or number of transactions, unlimited printing, unlimited reference assistance, and unlimited customer service included for free.

    The member benefit also ties to Fastcase’s industry-leading mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Using Fastcase Mobile Sync, users can fully integrate and securely synchronize their favorite documents, favorite jurisdictions, and search history between their desktop version of Fastcase and mobile apps.

    Fastcase has pioneered the most innovative legal research tools in the market, with integrated citation analysis tools, “Bad Law Bot,” its big data-powered negative citation service, patented data visualization tools, sync with mobile apps, the first legal research apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone.

    The Fastcase service also includes an exclusive integration with Clio, the leading cloud-based practice management solution, and an exclusive integration with HeinOnline, which offers the world’s largest collection of law review and journal articles, integrated for an additional fee in the Fastcase service.

    In addition, as of today, the updated Fastcase 7 will be available to members in beta, with a toggle in the top right-hand corner of the application. Fastcase 7 presents the cleanest, most readable legal research application of its kind.

    “Especially because the MSBA is re-subscribing to Fastcase, our team is working extra hard to ensure that its members get access to the most powerful tools for legal research,” said Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase. “Early testers love the beautiful, clean look of Fastcase 7, and we are confident that Minnesota lawyers will too.”

    Fastcase has gained strong momentum in the legal research market. Fastcase was voted #1 in Law Technology News’s inaugural Customer Satisfaction Survey, finishing first in 7 out of 10 categories over traditional research providers Westlaw and LexisNexis. Fastcase’s free apps for iPhone and iPad have dominated the category, winning the prestigious 2010 American Association of Law Libraries New Product of the Year and being named the 2011 Legal Productivity App of the Year. In 2012, Fastcase was named to the Best of Legal Times list for Online Legal Research, Legal Research (including print), and Legal Research iPad app, as well as being named the Best of Research in the Daily Business Review.

    Fastcase won the 2014 American Association of Law Libraries New Product of the Year award with partner HeinOnline, and in 2015, it was voted Best Small Firm Legal Research Tool by readers of the Legal Times. Fastcase has repeatedly been named the most popular app for lawyers in the ABA Technology Survey, and in 2016 was named by Engadget as One of the Top 5 Research Apps to Survive Law School and Pass the Bar.

    For more information, visit

    About The Minnesota State Bar Association
    Founded in 1883, the Minnesota State Bar Association is the oldest professional association for attorneys in Minnesota. For licensed attorneys in Minnesota, membership is voluntary. Membership is open to any attorney licensed to practice law in any state. Membership is also available to law students, paralegals, and law management associates.

    MSBA members are leaders in their communities, participating in statewide programs such as the High School Mock Trial Program and Wills for Heroes. The MSBA advocates vigorously to ensure adequate support for the state court system, and promotes legislation to advance the cause of justice in Minnesota. Partnering with other statewide agencies, it is an ally in the effort to deliver quality legal services to all Minnesotans.

    About Fastcase
    As the smarter alternative for legal research, Fastcase democratizes the law, making it more accessible to more people. Using patented software that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search, Fastcase helps busy users sift through the clutter, ranking the best cases first and enabling the re-sorting of results to find answers fast. Founded in 1999, Fastcase has more than 800,000 subscribers from around the world. Fastcase is an American company based in Washington, D.C. For more information, follow Fastcase on Twitter at @Fastcase, or visit

  • MSBA Commission Will Examine Juvenile Sentencing for Heinous Crimes

    December 9, 2016
    MSBA President Robin Wolpert (651-247-3330)
    Co-chair Judge Kathleen Gearin (651-222-5449)
    Co-chair John Kingrey (651-366-9352)

    MSBA Commission Will Examine Juvenile Sentencing for Heinous Crimes
    Today the Minnesota State Bar Association announced the formation of the Commission on Juvenile Sentencing for Heinous Crimes.
    The Commission will make recommendations regarding the factors used to sentence juveniles convicted of crimes under the Heinous Crimes Act in order to comply with the mandates of the U.S. Constitution. It is being established in response to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Miller v. Alabama, which invalidated mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of release for juvenile homicide offenders. Based on this decision, and the 2016 decision Montgomery v. Louisiana, key portions of Minnesota’s Heinous Crimes Act are now unconstitutional as applied to juveniles.
    The Commission is co-chaired by Ramsey County District Court Judge Kathleen Gearin (ret.) and John Kingrey, the former executive director of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. The 20-member Commission is advisory and includes key stakeholders in the juvenile justice system: legislators, judges, corrections, prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys.
    Miller v. Alabama held that the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment prohibits mandatory sentences of life without the possibility of release for juveniles. Minnesota’s Heinous Crimes Act requires sentences of life without the possibility of release for juveniles who commit such crimes. Since Miller, the Legislature has not brought the Heinous Crimes Act into conformity with the U.S. Constitution.
    Minnesota has eight juvenile homicide offenders who received mandatory life sentences without the possibility of release. The Supreme Court’s Miller decision has required the courts to review and reconsider these juveniles’ sentences, imposing costs on the system and preventing closure for crime victims and the juvenile offenders. In addition, Minnesota needs sentencing criteria for future cases.
    The Commission is charged with evaluating the current criteria used in presentence investigations and developing additional criteria for sentencing juveniles in light of Miller, Montgomery v. Louisiana, and the latest developments in adolescent brain development and neuroscience. Compared with other states, Minnesota has a very low number of juvenile offenders who have received the mandatory life without the possibility of release sentence. Some other states have hundreds of such offenders. Given the low number of juvenile homicide offenders in Minnesota, we are operating in a different context. According to Robin Wolpert, president of the Minnesota State Bar Association, “The state now has the opportunity to lead the nation in developing new sentencing standards, as we did decades ago when we were the first state in the nation to create the sentencing guidelines.”
    The Commission will meet six times between January and June 2017. The meetings will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on January 9, February 6 and 27, April 3 and 24, and June 5, 2016. Its meetings are open to the public. The location will be announced at a later date.
    The Commission roster is listed below. Additional Commission members may be appointed to ensure that all stakeholders are adequately represented.
    Hon. Kathleen Gearin, Ramsey County District Court (ret.)
    John Kingrey, Minnesota County Attorneys Association (ret.)
    Hon. Paul Anderson, Minnesota Supreme Court (ret.)
    Tom Arneson, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office
    James Backstrom, Minnesota County Attorneys Association
    Jean Burdorf, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office
    Hon. Bradford Delapena, Minnesota Tax Court
    Hon. Christopher Dietzen, Minnesota Supreme Court (ret.) ex officio
    Sen. Dan Hall (R), Minnesota Senate
    Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL), Minnesota Senate
    Rep. John Lesch (DFL), Minnesota House of Representatives
    Shelley McBride, independent consultant and LMFT; DFO Community Corrections (ret.).
    Kelly Mitchell, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, University of Minnesota
    Perry Moriearty, University of Minnesota
    Rep. Marion O’Neill (R), Minnesota House of Representatives
    Dr. Dawn Peuschold, Hennepin County Psychological Services
    Francis Shen, University of Minnesota Law School
    John Turnipseed, Urban Ventures
    William Ward, State of Minnesota Board of Public Defense
    Robin Wolpert, Minnesota State Bar Association
    Brittany Lawonn, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office
    Alexis Watts, Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, University of Minnesota

  • Race and Justice Community Launched

    Today MSBA President Robin Wolpert announced the online Race and Justice Community:

    "The MSBA is launching an online Race and Justice Community as a place for the Minnesota legal community to engage in issues related to race and criminal justice. We invite you to participate and discover for yourself what role you would like to play in achieving change. We thank the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, and Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association for co-sponsoring this community.

    The idea for this community emerged in the wake of the Philando Castile shooting and the tremendous interest of our lawyers to learn more and do something. We formed this online community because we recognize that no one person or organization has the answers to the challenging questions regarding race and criminal justice. We cannot solve them alone. It is only by working together that we can further justice in our communities.

    The Race and Justice Community is open to any member of the Minnesota legal community, whether or not they are an MSBA member. Those who participate will be able to engage with one another through a discussion forum and by sharing resources, events, ideas, and opportunities.

    We welcome your voice and participation."

  • Updates | Blog

    Released as a free ebook by the Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Legal Ethics is a comprehensive guide to legal ethics in Minnesota, written by well-known ethics attorney William J. Wernz.

    The new Sixth Edition is now published.

    Updates that will be incorporated into future editions, as well as commentary on topics of particular interest to ethics in Minnesota are posted here.