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Expert Testimony

Mar 3, 2016

Legal Writing Notebook: Scalia, phrasal-adjectival master hyphenator

We have heard many tributes to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Some mourn the loss of his originalist jurisprudence, his influence on the Supreme Court, his memorable opinion-writing style, his stalwart conservatism. Me? Most of all, I’m going to miss his hyphenated phrasal adjectives. So let’s unpack those adjectives. As Steven Wilbers observes in “Mastering the Craft of Writing,” a h[...]

Feb 18, 2016

Briefly: Frivolity – in the eye of the beholder

A lawyer’s job includes zealously advocating for clients. That’s advocating when a claim isn’t strong, trying to make the best of a weak hand, and at times fighting uphill battles. At the same time, lawyers have an ethical duty not to pursue frivolous claims. How and, as it pertains to this column, when, do we draw the line? A case that arguably may be meritorious at trial may lack m[...]

Feb 11, 2016

Perspectives: No love lost in pre-Valentine’s Day appeals

As Minnesotans and the rest of the nation celebrate Valentine’s Day, with the day of hearts on Sunday, Feb. 14, romance is in the air. But relationships that once were amorous, can turn adversarial. This reality was reflected in a half-dozen rulings by the Minnesota Court of Appeals shortly before Valentine’s Day. The sextet of cases dealt with marital and family-like relationships that [...]

Feb 11, 2016

All in the Family: Confusion on parenting time modification

The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently issued two opinions, 28 days apart, concerning the standard applicable to a parent’s request to modify parenting time. A close reading, however, reveals an inconsistent view concerning whether the “endangerment” or “best interest” standard applies.

Feb 4, 2016

Solo Contendere: Taking a ‘day off’ isn’t same when you’re a solo

I’m taking a snow day. I want to take a snow day, anyway. Like everyone else. I want to avoid the blizzard, avoid the roads, and just go out with the dog in the snow. Go search for the Winter Carnival medallion before the snow covers up all traces of it. I want to go sledding with my niece and nephew and then drink cocoa. I won’t today. I can’t, there’s just too much work to do. [...]

Feb 4, 2016

Quandaries and Quagmires: Discipline for prosecutor’s ‘derogatory’ statements

When is an attorney’s public statement subject to discipline because it is likely to prejudice a criminal jury trial? A recent case failed to answer this question, even though an answer should have been required for discipline. Former Cook County Attorney Timothy Scannell is the first Minnesota lawyer to be publicly disciplined for a Rule 3.6(a) violation in the rule’s 30-year history. (One[...]

Jan 28, 2016

Legal Writing Notebook: Has the bell tolled for whom?

Fans of the English language appreciate its nuance, its delicacy, its insistence that a writer make difficult choices—like the topic of today’s column, the choice between who and whom. What’s the difference, you ask, and who cares? It’s a fair question. In colloquial speech, who has all but taken over, and I’m cool with that. But whom is also disappearing from the page and screen, whi[...]

Jan 28, 2016

Perspectives: Fire, rehire clauses under fire

The announcement last month by Cargill that it is changing its policy prohibiting employees from reapplying for work with the agriculturally franchised and industrial giant for 30 days, instead of 180 days, if they are discharged for attendance reasons, highlights the issue of companies refusing to hire former workers. The modification by the Minnesota-based company of its no-rehire rule came i[...]

Jan 21, 2016

Sybil Procedure: Fight to make the legal profession fair

It’s not that women don’t want high-powered jobs, it’s that they get tired of fighting an unfair fight.

Jan 14, 2016

Perspectives: King’s Day recalls litigation lore here

Minnesota and the nation pause this Monday (Jan. 18) to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, on the 30th anniversary of the day set aside to commemorate his life and work. The civil rights leader, born on January 15, 1929, would have turned 87 years old last week. The national holiday to honor his achievements was enacted over some controversy 30 years ago. Several states still refus[...]

Jan 14, 2016

Briefly: The ethical duty of competence on appeal

Of course, all lawyers claim to be competent. And, in fact, most are. However, sometimes lawyers find themselves in uncharted territory, trying to do something with which they are not completely familiar or comfortable. Most of the time, it all works out. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently disciplined a lawyer for failing to provide competent appellate representation when he app[...]

Jan 7, 2016

All in the Family: One size does not fit all fathers under Parentage Act

Fewer couples in Minnesota are getting married than at any other point in modern history. More couples are choosing to live together, outside of wedlock, than ever before. Increased cohabitation has yielded a substantial gain in the number of children born to unwed parents — and a less stigmatized view of those parents. Last year, custody and parenting time standards within Minnesota’s mari[...]

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