Minnesota State Bar Association co-sponsors “A Look at the Future of the Federal Criminal Justice System” on February 21, featuring keynote by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

(MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA) – The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) is co-sponsoring a day-long legal education conference, “A Look at the Future of the Federal Criminal Justice System: Enhancing Public Safety and Eliminating Racial Disparities” on Tuesday, February 21, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in downtown Minneapolis.

The conference includes a day of educational sessions focused on improving equity and public safety in the federal criminal justice system, and features a keynote address by former Attorney General of the United States Eric Holder and panel presentations by local and nationally-known lawyers and leaders.  Sessions will cover four key areas: 

    • Analyzing federal sentencing disparities
    • Incorporating lessons learned from state reform efforts
    • Leveraging community-based initiatives 

    • Exploring innovative programs from federal districts across the country.

Co-sponsors include the MSBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council, the Federal Bar Association, the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and the Minnesota Coalition of Bar Associations of Color.


Advance registration is required. This will be an in-person event, and there is no remote participation option currently planned for the conference.  Registration options are available for attorneys in public and private practice, law students, and members of the community. Lunch is included with registration. A reception will follow the program. For attorney attendees: 4.0 Elimination of Bias CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credits have been applied for. 

Registration information, agenda, presenters, and additional program details available online:



Schedule for the Day

A Look at the Future of the Federal Criminal Justice System: 
Enhancing Public Safety and Eliminating Racial Disparities.
Tuesday, February 21.
University of St. Thomas School of Law School Atrium.

•  8:00 - 8:45 am: Registration.

•  8:45 - 9:00 am: Welcoming Remarks.

•  9:00 - 10:20 am: Understanding the Impact: An Analysis of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and Racial Disparities in Federal Sentencing Decisions.

•  10:30 - 11:50 am: Overcoming Systemic Bias:  Lessons from County Prosecutors. Identifying and Implementing Solutions to Eliminate Bias in the Criminal Justice System.

•  12:00 pm - 1:20 pm: Fireside chat with former US Attorney General Eric Holder.

•  1:30 pm - 2:50 pm: Beyond Prosecution: Community-Based Initiatives to Promote both Public Safety and Equity.

•  3:00 pm - 4:20 pm: Judicial Innovations: Creation and Use of Pre-Trial and Post-Conviction. Specialty Courts to Expand the Federal Judge’s Options. 

•  4:30 pm - 4:45 pm: Closing Remarks. Reception will follow the program. 




About the Minnesota State Bar Association:
The MSBA was established in 1883 and serves over 14,000 attorney and law student members. The association promotes the highest standards of excellence and inclusion within the legal profession, provides valued resources to its members, and strives to improve the law and the equal administration of justice for all.