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The answer to the question of whether an entity needs an attorney in court is simply "yes." Despite the fact that the legislature has attempted to create exceptions to the common law rule and some courts may allow a non-attorney appearance, the longstanding common law rule still applies. Failing to appear with an attorney representative may have a consequence of dismissal or default.

Entities Appearing in District Court Need Attorney Representation

The answer to the question of whether an entity needs an attorney in court is simply "yes." Despite the fact that the legislature has attempted to create exceptions to the common law rule and some courts may allow a non-attorney appearance, the longstanding common law rule still applies. Failing to appear with an attorney representative may have a consequence of dismissal or default.

About Janie Paulson

Janie Paulson is a licensed attorney in California, Minnesota and the District of Columbia. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, CA. Janie has clerked for Judge J. Thomas Mott of the Minnesota Second Judicial District and interned at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Currently, Janie provides compliance research and analysis to Bank of America and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a member of the Junior League. Janie can be reached at jcpaulson@gmail.com.

2 comments

  1. As a note, there is a general practice rule for Conciliation Court that allows non-attorney representation Minn. R. Prac. Dist. Ct. Rule 512(c) http://www.mncourts.gov/Documents/0/Public/Rules/GRP_Tit_VI_01-01-2010.pdf. Many Conciliation Courts (such as Hennepin) follow this rule, but some follow the case law and some do not apply this rule to Housing Court. However, when there is an appeal to a District Court, this rule no longer applies because the case will not be in Conciliation Court anymore. See World Championship Fighting, Inc. v. Janos, 609 N.W.2d 263 (Minn. Ct. App. 2000).

    Thanks to a great JDs Rising reader for wanting more clarification. The applicability of rules and case law (in many areas) including this one are often applied differently in each courtroom you go in.

  2. The 301 Clifton case (Idaho-owned LLC registered in Nevada and not even licensed in MN, appearing w/o attorney in appellate court after losing in District Court) and Nicollet Restoration, Inc. (1990, regarding a corporation before MN 322B regarding LLCs was even written) seem to be invoked in specific situations where representation was dubious at best. In a District court case (Eviction, Dist. 9, non-metro) involving the owner of a single member LLC–me–wouldn’t the court show some flexibility and even leniency regarding representation of one’s own single member LLC? What other precedents might convince a judge one way or the other here?

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