Writers' Guidelines


The official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association

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Writers’ Guidelines

Bench & Bar is an official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA). It is published 10 times a year. Bench & Bar is distributed to over 14,000 subscribers, most of whom are members of the Association resident within Minnesota. Its content is designed to appeal to the Association’s diverse membership, with some emphasis on practical aids to lawyers in private practice.


Manuscripts and queries should be sent to Editor, Bench & Bar of Minnesota, Minnesota State Bar Association, 600 Nicollet Mall, Ste. 380, Minneapolis, MN  55402. Email: Steven Perry


Bench & Bar seeks to publish original articles that advance the education, competence, ethical practice, and public responsibility of Minnesota lawyers and that promote a sense of community among members of the legal profession.  Its focus is on current developments and trends in the law and on ideas that are of professional interest to lawyers.  Articles should emphasize practical issues of broad, current interest rather than theoretical or esoteric material.


Authors wishing to query interest in a subject before preparing a manuscript may submit a 150-word abstract or outline of the proposed article for review and comment by Bench & Bar. A final publishing decision will not be made until after a completed manuscript and licensing agreement are received.


As you write, keep your audience in mind.  The typical reader of Bench & Bar is a lawyer whose age is 48, who is in private practice in a law firm of 5 to 10 lawyers in Minnesota.  Most readers practice in multiple areas of the law; many are in government, business, the nonprofit sector, or other nontraditional settings.


Bench & Bar is a magazine that examines ideas and issues involving lawyers and developments in the law.  Its focus is to analyze and interpret, rather than simply to report or to suggest what should be.  Please avoid the style of law reviews, CLE materials, research memos, or legal briefs.  An informal, journalistic style is preferred.


Open your article with an interesting, “catchy” lead, followed by a “thesis paragraph” that tersely states the gist of the article.  The exposition of the topic should then follow with a summary as the conclusion.  Don’t overwrite.  If it only takes 8 pages to cover your subject, don’t write a 12-page article.


Articles should be no longer than 3,500 words (about 19,000 characters or 12 pages, double-spaced in 12 point type) unless a shorter length is specified.  If an article exceeds the specified length, it will be shortened to conform to available space.


Develop a working title for your article to keep it focused.  The working title may be accepted as is or altered by the editors as they deem appropriate.


All articles are subject to editing by Bench & Bar.  Articles will be edited to conform to the magazine’s editorial style, which generally follows the Associated Press Stylebook.  The editors will insert subheads, captions, and readouts as needed.


Authors submitting an article to Bench & Bar retain copyright but will be asked to execute and submit prior to publication a licensing agreement granting to the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) the exclusive right of first publication of the article worldwide as part of Bench & Bar and the nonexclusive worldwide right to publish the article and to license or syndicate use of the article, in any medium or form of electronic communication now existing or hereafter developed, to others.


Citations to cases and other references should be in the form prescribed by A Uniform System of Citations or a comparable, complete guide to citation of scholarly and legal works.  The form of citations will be conformed to the Bench & Bar “house style” before publication. Endnotes should be few in number and limited to citing specific authorities; “string” citations and discursive notes are discouraged.  The author is responsible for ensuring the completeness and accuracy of all references and citations.


At the end of the article include a 2-3 sentence biographical statement setting forth your name and other affiliations or perspectives that may merit disclosure regarding your authorship of this article.  This statement may be shortened.  Submit with your manuscript a recent portrait photograph of yourself suitable for publication with your article; color photos are preferred, and if submitted in digital format, must have a resolution of 300 pixels/inch or more to ensure quality reproduction.


Manuscripts should be submitted to the Editor electronically via email in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), text (.txt), or rich text (.rtf) format. Allow two spaces between sentences (double-space) and one-inch margins.  Alternatively, a copy produced on a letter-quality printer or a good photocopy of such an original is acceptable for initial review.  A cover letter should accompany the manuscript, indicating your name, address, and contact information.  Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your manuscript returned.  Manuscripts will be reviewed by the Editor.  Outside readers may be asked to review and comment on unattributed copies of an article before acceptance.


Manuscripts generally should be submitted at least two months in advance of the desired publication date. Decisions as to the placement of an accepted article and when to publish will be made by the Editor.


Bench & Bar will obtain appropriate artwork or photographs, if any, to illustrate articles accepted for publication.


Manuscripts and queries should be sent to Editor, Bench & Bar of Minnesota, Minnesota State Bar Association, 600 Nicollet Mall, Ste. 380, Minneapolis, MN  55402. Email: Steven Perry

(612) 278-6333