Is It an Ethics Violation for a Lawyer to Not Pay Debts?

Is It an Ethics Violation for a Lawyer to Not Pay Debts?

Yes, it is generally an ethics violation for an attorney in Minnesota to not pay a debt lawfully owed. Usually, this means a court must have declared the debt owed. Background Attorneys are subject to more laws than other people. Attorneys are subject to ethics rules, such as the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct. As…

The Federal Arbitration Act: An Overview of United States Arbitration Law

The Federal Arbitration Act: An Overview of United States Arbitration Law

The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) is a cornerstone of dispute resolution in the United States. It provides a legal framework for arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution where disputes are resolved outside of court by a neutral third party, the arbitrator. This article delves into the intricacies of the FAA, its impact on state…

How to Be a Mediator: 7 Expert Tips for Face-to-Face Conflict Resolution

How to Be a Mediator: 7 Expert Tips for Face-to-Face Conflict Resolution

I have been asked to provide tips to people serving as mediators where all the parties are in the same room. This means the mediator is facilitating a meeting attended by parties in conflict. The dispute may include spouses, friends, business partners, neighbors, or parties in litigation who cannot get along. As a mediator, your…

Which Lawyers Have the Highest Rates? How Much Do They Charge?

Which Lawyers Have the Highest Rates? How Much Do They Charge?

Someone recently told me they were quoted $2,500 per hour for a Minnesota attorney in a small firm. I thought that was unusually high in 2023, so I did some research. I found that, in 2023, attorney hourly rates range from about $300 to $2,500. Attorney rates continued to climb during the pandemic, especially as…

Do Minnesota Courts Permit Zoom Depositions?

Do Minnesota Courts Permit Zoom Depositions?

Yes, Minnesota courts permit Zoom depositions. Zoom Depositions in Minnesota State District Court In Minnesota state court, depositions by Zoom or other virtual means are permitted by stipulation between the parties or by court order. “The parties may stipulate in writing or the court may upon motion order that a deposition be taken by telephone or other…

Lawyer Ethics Violations & Consequences: In re Petition for Disciplinary Action

Lawyer Ethics Violations & Consequences: In re Petition for Disciplinary Action

In Minnesota, a licensed attorney can face charges of violating ethics rules. These are not criminal charges. For example, the consequence do not include a prison sentence. Rather, the consequences may affect the lawyer’s license to practice law. This article discusses the consequences of ethics violations, the legal basis for ethics violations, disciplinary proceedings, and…

What Is ‘Reasonable Compensation’ for a Subpoenaed Witness?

What Is ‘Reasonable Compensation’ for a Subpoenaed Witness?

Under Minnesota court rules, a subpoenaed witness is entitled to “reasonable compensation” for time as a witness. But how much compensation is “reasonable?” Does the law set a fixed rate for compensating witnesses? In short, there is no fixed rate for the amount that must be paid to a subpoenaed witness. The amount of “reasonable…

Minnesota Court of Appeals Procedural Decisions: Special Term Opinions

Minnesota Court of Appeals Procedural Decisions: Special Term Opinions

Some procedural issues are not clear under court rules. The court has resolved some of these issues in court decisions. These decisions can provide useful guidance to attorneys in the future. Below is an index of those procedural issues and the decisions addressing those issues. Special Term Opinion Subject Matter Index This Special Term Opinion…

Is Communication with Your Attorney & Spouse Privileged?

Is Communication with Your Attorney & Spouse Privileged?

You may want to have your spouse present when meeting with an attorney. In those meetings, are your communications privileged? In short, it’s not clear. First, the law is not settled in many states. Second, it depends on which state’s law applies. Minnesota For example, in one case in Minnesota, the Minnesota Supreme Court held…

Attorney Malpractice Expert Affidavit: Example Template

Attorney Malpractice Expert Affidavit: Example Template

Like most states, Minnesota law requires an “expert affidavit” as part of bringing a malpractice lawsuit against an attorney. This is simply a written statement under oath that at least one other attorney (“expert”) believes the case has a good faith basis. The purpose behind this law is simple: this requirement is designed to prevent…

Lawyer Conflicts of Interest: A Guide with Tips & Scenarios

Lawyer Conflicts of Interest: A Guide with Tips & Scenarios

Lawyers encounter a wide variety of scenarios with a conflict of interest. Lawyers often struggle with the ethical way to respond. Fortunately, there is an outstanding, free resource available to attorneys seeking guidance on conflict of interests: Freivogel on Conflicts: A Guide to Conflicts of Interest for Lawyers. This is invaluable guidance for lawyers facing ethical…

How to Fight Lawsuit Dismissal of Minnesota Case Not Filed in 1-Year

How to Fight Lawsuit Dismissal of Minnesota Case Not Filed in 1-Year

Under Rule 5.04 of the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, a lawsuit not filed in court within one year is dismissed with prejudice, which means with finality: Any action that is not filed with the court within one year of commencement against any party is deemed dismissed with prejudice against all parties unless the parties…

The Contingency Fee Agreement is Relevant When an Attorney is Fired

The Contingency Fee Agreement is Relevant When an Attorney is Fired

The Minnesota Supreme Court established an eight-factor test to determine a lawyer’s contingency fee after a client fired the lawyer shortly before settling case. The Court held that, under quantum meruit, the “fee arrangement existing between counsel and the client” is one of the factors. Minnesota’s Contingency Fee Factors for Attorneys The eight factors are time…

Reasonable Attorney Fees in Minnesota vs. Lodestar Factors

Reasonable Attorney Fees in Minnesota vs. Lodestar Factors

As the hourly rate for attorneys continues to rise, people may wonder whether excessive rates are illegal. Throughout the United States, many jurisdictions use the Lodestar factors as a standard to determine whether attorney’s fees are “reasonable,” which is usually a legal requirement. The Lodestar standard has been part of the common law, refined by…

Minnesota Litigation: Basic Terms Explained

Minnesota Litigation: Basic Terms Explained

Litigation can be an overwhelming prospect.  It involves a variety of different stages and terms that are unfamiliar to people who do not work in litigation often. Basic Litigation Terms Here is a brief guide to some of the most basic litigation terms used in Minnesota: Parties: The parties to litigation are just the different…

Avoid Litigation With Alternative Dispute Resolution

Avoid Litigation With Alternative Dispute Resolution

Increasingly, businesses are putting language into their contracts requiring disputes to be handled by a third-party arbitration firm. And it makes good business sense. Use Arbitration to Save Money Courts have also gotten into the action. More judges are ordering parties to try to settle their conflicts through alternate dispute resolutions such as arbitration or…

Minnesota Lawsuits are Dead If Not Filed in 1 Year

Minnesota Lawsuits are Dead If Not Filed in 1 Year

Under a new Minnesota state court rule, most cases not filed in court within one year of their commencement (cases start by service of process on the parties) will be dismissed with prejudice unless the parties agree in writing to extend this deadline. “Dismissed with prejudice” means the case cannot be started again, and is…

Procedure Leading Up to Business Litigation

Procedure Leading Up to Business Litigation

Preparation for Business Litigation The first step of the business litigation process actually exists outside of the process—it involves speaking with an experienced business litigation attorney. The business owner certainly knows the facts of the situation, and has an opinion as to whether her actions were “right or wrong”. Yet these facts may or may…