Opening the Door (Slightly) for Grads of Unaccredited Law Schools

The Minnesota Supreme Court appears ready to open the bar admissions door just a little wider – at least enough for some graduates of unaccredited law schools, modifying the recommendations of a year-long study and report (9 MB) by the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners (MBLE).

Under the present rules, there are essentially two ways to get admitted to the bar in Minnesota: by taking and passing the bar exam or by practicing law in another jurisdiction for five of the past seven years (different rules may apply to in-house counsel). But these routes to admission are only open to graduates of ABA-accredited law schools. If you went to one of a handful of unaccredited law schools in the United States (mostly in California) or graduated from a law school in a foreign country, you cannot be admitted to the Minnesota bar unless you go to law school again at an ABA-accredited school. In fact, I know several foreign lawyers who had to do just that. Minnesota is in the minority of jurisdictions that adhere to this strict rule.

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Birth of a Blawg

With the upgrade of my website to WordPress (by my webmaster, Karin Conroy of Conroy Consults), I get to venture into the blawgosphere first hand. I have been blogging on a semi-regular basis for the past two years on Lawyerist and plan to continue to post there. I am also on Twitter, which I have used for posting note-worthy ethics news and the occasional random thought.

Why then, would I need my own blawg? Quite frankly, I do not intend to make a career of writing blog posts or claw my way into the ABA’s top 100 blawgs. But there are some topics, such as commenting on Minnesota ethics cases or providing updates on the activities of the MSBA Rules of Professional Conduct committee and the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board (LPRB) that do not quite fit the theme of Lawyerist (which has a national readership) and would be of interest to Minnesota readers. The heart of my practice is Minnesota lawyers; I intend to use this space to develop resources they may find useful.

I invite you to subscribe to the RSS feed, which is a convenient way of having future posts delivered to an RSS reader in your web browser or to your e-mail program. I pledge to write posts that are high on relevance to lawyers’ practices and low on self-indulgence. I plan to post when I have something to say, rather than chain myself to a schedule I will never keep up with. Of course, I welcome your comments, either publicly on this site or by private e-mail. Wash That Client Right Out of Your Hair

Many of the posts on Lawyerist focus on how to get good clients; we spend very little time talking about how to get rid of bad clients. As a general rule, the goal is to keep the clients around once they hire you. Nevertheless, for some clients, the lawyer’s advice should be limited to “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Read this article over at > Pssst, Buddy—Wanna Buy a Client?

Running a successful law practice is all about getting clients. One way is by building a referral network, a frequent topic on Lawyerist. Another way is by advertising, such as in the yellow pages.

As traditional advertising methods wane, lawyers are getting excited by new methods of attracting clients through the internet. All those potential clients out there, yearning to find the lawyer of their dreams — all they need is a little encouragement. A little channelling. A system of connecting clients with lawyers. And lawyers will be eager to pay to have pre-screened clients sent their way – as long as they do not violate any ethics rules.

Read this article over at > A family and friends plan for your law firm

A family member or close friend calls you one day with a “quick” question. Seems she has a dispute with a neighbor or she just got denied a promotion or she needs to tell the renter of her duplex to stop smoking in his unit. She knows you are really busy but was wondering if you would mind looking into it or just writing a letter or making a phone call for her. She hates to bother you but she does not know any other attorneys and really needs some help with this problem.

Read this article over at > Stop bashing BigLaw

As I surf around the blawgosphere, I have noticed that it seems to be in vogue for solo and small firm attorneys to take potshots at large law firms. If one read only the solo blawgs, it would seem all large law firms are lumbering, inefficient, selfish behemoths, so knocked off balance by this recession that they are about to keel over and smash their marble conference room tables. Then all the solo munchkins would come out of their hiding places in brightly colored garb, sing songs of freedom, and sign up all of the large firms’  former clients.

Read this article over at > Emailing clients at work: privilege trumps employer policy

A few months ago, I posted a warning to lawyers about emailing clients at work. My concern was based in large part on a NJ district court decision that found an employee had waived the attorney-client privilege for emails that she sent to her attorney while using her work computer. Although the emails had been sent using a Yahoo! account, the employer found images of the emails on the employee’s hard drive.

Read this article over at > A CLE presenter is born

Recently, I noted on a listserv that one of the cheapest ways to get CLE credits and market oneself at the same time is to teach CLEs. In Minnesota, presenters can receive credit for the time spent preparing the seminar, plus the organizers usually let the presenters attend the rest of the program for free.

Read this article over at > Facebook ethics: it’s not about Facebook

There is a good deal of postulating in the blogosphere about the types of ethical trouble a lawyer can get into by using social media. The nattering nabobs of negativism warn us to be careful when using social media like Facebook or Twitter, lest we unwittingly disclose client confidences, improperly solicit new clients, or misrepresent facts or law.

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