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by Mark W. Gehan
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One of the themes in any discussion of the practice of law these days is the "remarkable change" that has occurred in the last ten years. The tools we use today are quite different from those of 15 years ago. We have increasing competition, advertising, and jumbo law firms. The way we practice is obviously different.
I wonder whether the actual nature of the profession has also changed significantly. Lawyers still represent clients, and judges still preside over the resolution of disputes. Our fundamental obligations remain the same. The changes in our tools and our methods should in theory have no effect upon these fundamental obligations. In reality, however, it may be how we practice inevitably changes everything. Adaptations we make to become more efficient certainly change our relationship with our clients. (Compare doctors who made house calls in 1955 to the modern medical office.) As we change our methods of practice, we should remember what we are and try to preserve, if we can, that which makes us special.
More than 700 of our members attended the 1998 Convention
in Duluth last month. I want to thank our Convention Committee,
the MSBA staff, Minnesota CLE, and the sponsors and exhibitors
who worked so hard to make this annual meeting work so well.
In case it has slipped below your radar, it is apparently a certainty that our offices located in the Law Center on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis will be moving. This means that the MSBA, Minnesota CLE, and the Hennepin County Bar Association will all be moving. From our point of view, this is an unfortunate development. Our facilities are well-located and well-priced, but it seems that we're smack in the way of progress downtown.
MARK W. GEHAN of St. Paul is president of the MSBA. A partner in the firm of Collins, Buckley, Sauntry & Haugh, he received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School and recently served as special master in the historic Minnesota tobacco litigation.