Irish & highly successful New York criminal defense attorney for over twenty years, JaneAnne Murray, finds herself in Minnesota as she accompanies her academic husband and family for her husband’s position at the University of Minnesota.
Under such circumstances, should the state of Minnesota require Murray to go back to law school, to get a legal degree as a prerequisite to sitting for the Minnesota bar, and then require her to take the bar exam before she can get to work in Minnesota in her chosen profession?
The imposition of such a bureaucratic formality on Murray would have been Kafkaesque, elevating officious application-processing over one simple, if exceptional, win/win accommodation.
As of last week, Murray can pursue her livelihood and the citizens of the state of Minnesota can be the beneficiaries of her deep experience and expertise without setting her back several years and a lot of money for no purpose other than strict adherence to a rule.
But Minnesota Litigator concludes with a warning to any others seeking to bypass the Minnesota bar rules for admission to the state bar based on Ms. Murray’s precedent. It was crystal clear at oral argument in Ms. Murray’s case, in the Supreme Court’s opinion, and in the opinion of the two dissenting Minnesota Supreme Court justices, that Ms. Murray’s circumstances were extraordinary. Other possible petitioners would be foolish to conclude that the single exception to the rule for Murray signals a meaningful change in the normal requirements and obligations for becoming a Minnesota lawyer.
Seth Leventhal is a Minnesota business litigator who understands the need to uphold high standards for Minnesota lawyers and who has no doubt that JaneAnne Murray meets and exceeds those high standards.