The status of David Herr as a Minnesota legal icon could be exemplified by the fact that he was nominated as an attorney of the year by seven Minnesota Supreme Court justices.
In addition to being one of the most highly regarded appellate lawyers and complex case litigators in Minnesota, Herr, who died on Dec. 22, was dedicated to advancing the profession and improving the judicial system.
That went well beyond his 43-year legal practice, which was imposing enough. Herr served for decades as reporter for the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, the Minnesota General Rules of Practice and the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, helping draft and amend the rules that govern Minnesota lawyers and judges in every facet of civil practice.
He also helped found the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society and served as its treasurer for many years. He was chair of the Maslon firm, where he spent most of his career; president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers; chair of the Innocence Project of Minnesota; and chair of the United Hospital Foundation.
“The accolades he received for his lawyering speak for themselves, but the better measure of his contributions may be the lasting mark he left on those who had the good fortune to work with him,” says Mike McCarthy, chair of Maslon’s governance committee.
Herr wrote more than 15 of the most important treatises on Minnesota and federal law, including: Annotated Manual for Complex Litigation; Multidistrict Litigation Manual; Federal Appeals; and several volumes of Minnesota Practice, a leading treatise on Minnesota law.
He also mentored hundreds of attorneys and taught at William Mitchell School of Law for decades.
“A majority of (litigators) have used one or more of his books over the decades,” Mitchell Hamline professor Roger Haydock told Minnesota Lawyer, “so he’s got this remarkable legacy that way.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2021 here.
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