On May 1 MSBA launched its new website at mnbar.org, culminating a year-long effort
to make the site more user-friendly for
members and the public.
Built using responsive design
technology, the site is crafted for ease
of viewing on mobile devices such as
tablets and smart phones as well as
desktop and laptop PCs.
Members who log in can use the
n for easy access to practice tools
such as practicelaw and FastCase;
n to pay dues and register for
events such as CLE programs and
“Nine Days in June”;
n to access forms, document
assembly software (mndocs), and
n to sign up for MSBA listservs
and our lawyer referral service,
n to peruse Bench & Bar, Legal
News Digest, MSBA’s eBooks, and
current news including legislative
n to learn about certification
of specialists, committee and
section membership, pro bono
opportunities, and other service
programs such as Mock Trial;
n to review employment opportunities and place advertisements;
n to learn about MSBA policies,
diversity initiatives, governance,
and related organizations.
Resources for the public on the
new site include:
n access to mnfindalawyer,
MSBA’s online lawyer referral
n information on access to civil
n how to file a complaint against
n information on MSBA’s government relations efforts;
n links to the Minnesota Bar
n information on Mock Trial;
n Opportunities to advertise.
Still in development for both
members and the public are new
online directories which are expected
to be available in the next year.
AHuman Rights Committee proposal calling
for MSBA support of
the Conflict-free Initiative, an effort to encourage organizations
to purchase electronics
that do not include
minerals from conflict
zones, led the action
agenda at the MSBA
April 25 in Minneapolis. Two bylaw change
proposals, to alter the
composition of the
association’s board of
directors (the Council)
and extend a previously
approved group public
attorney discount on
dues also contributed to
a lively discussion.
The Conflict-free Initiative is a campaign initiated by The Enough Project,
a policy organization in Washington, D.C., to generate city, state, business, and
private support for efforts to diminish funding for conflict in Congo by “
clear-sourcing” mineral and electronic purchases. Three cities, two states, several
hundred colleges and universities, and many organizations around the world
support this policy. World Without Genocide, an organization at William Mitchell
College of Law, brought the Initiative to the Human Rights Committee.
After establishing that MSBA could easily comply with the terms of the
Initiative and hearing that a number of major electronics companies, including
Apple, have signed on, the Assembly voted to approve the proposal.
MSBA is the first bar association in the country to support the Initiative; the
MSBA will purchase electronics from sources that are moving to ensure that no
conflict-zone minerals are included in their products. For additional information
about conflict minerals and the Initiative, see http://enoughproject.org/blog?page=1
The first of the two bylaw amendments was proposed by the Governance
Committee to afford more effective representation in MSBA governance to
attorneys in suburban districts surrounding Hennepin and Ramsey County. Such
attorneys are now considered “outstate” for purposes of Council representation. As
proposed, the change would have substituted one of the current at-large Assembly
seats on the Council in favor of a designated Council seat for an MSBA member
from Bar districts 1, 8, 18, 19, or 21.
Upon consideration, the Assembly elected to leave the number of at-large
Assembly seats on the Council at three and to add the proposed seat, increasing
the seats on the Council from 15 to 16.
The Governance Committee’s second recommendation for a bylaw change
called for continuation of a group public attorney dues discount rate which had
sunsetted. Although the discount has not been heavily used, proponents argued
that discontinuing it would negatively impact public attorney membership in the
MSBA. The bylaw amendment was passed.
In a continuing effort to promote policy discussion within the Assembly, MSBA
had invited Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and Prof. Len Lichtblau
from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy to address the proposed
legalization of medical marijuana in Minnesota. The speakers offered opinions
both in favor and opposing the proposed legislation, after which Assembly
members had the opportunity to ask questions.
MSBA’s Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee honored
three individuals with this year’s Bernard P. Becker awards at the
MSBA Assembly meeting April 25 in Minneapolis. Honorees are (left
to right): Weida Allen, a social worker at the Children’s Law Center;
Rolanda Mason, a staff attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance in
St. Cloud; and Craig Downs, a law student at Hamline University Law
School, for his work at Deinard Legal Clinic.
Governance Animate Assembly