Amicus Society

Since its founding in 1883, the Minnesota State Bar Association and its members have been committed to improving the general community’s understanding and support of, and access to, Minnesota’s strong justice system.  

To that end, the MSBA created the Amicus Society, an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization, whose purpose is to promote and support the provision of legal assistance in civil matters to low-income residents, and to conduct public-education campaigns related to the law, the justice system, or both.

As lawyers, we are deeply concerned that many Minnesotans who don’t fully understand the judicial system – which generally has a lower profile than the political branches – can be led to demonize judges, courts, and attorneys.  Such targeting of the third branch of government is harmful to our society and to our democracy.  The Amicus Society seeks to heal or avoid that damage by promoting education about the rule of law, and the role of judges, courts, and attorneys, to general-community audiences of both adults and youth. 

The Amicus Society supports the popular Mock Trial program, which involves over a hundred student teams from schools throughout the state, coached and supervised by hundreds of volunteer lawyers and judges, engaged in a competition that teaches skills such as analysis, reason, persuasion, and public speaking. 

Finally, the Amicus Society supports ongoing efforts to educate adults in the community about the critical importance of fully funding our justice system.  In recent years, we have watched with alarm as courthouses across Minnesota have reduced hours and staff, making it harder for residents to access needed services.  Public defenders and civil legal service providers alike have been hard-pressed to meet the growing needs of people in our community who need representation.  Adequate funding is essential to keeping the courts healthy, effective, and capable of administering equal justice to all.

In 2018, the Amicus Society began oversight of the popular Wills for Heroes program, which assists emergency personnel in preparing wills to protect themselves and their families.  Donating to this program is simple.  Please visit .

If you would like to learn more about the Amicus Society, please contact Nancy Mischel, Senior Director of Policy, at or 612-278-6331.

Mock Trial is an exciting law-related education program that introduces students to the American legal system and provides a challenging opportunity for personal growth and achievement through simulated courtroom trial competitions. Thousands of students across Minnesota have participated in Mock Trial over the years, and the experience inspired many of them to attend law school.  The MSBA recently  added a Courtroom Artist competition for high school aged students.  See the talented students work. 

Please consider a tax deductible donation to Amicus to help sustain this very popular public education program.  We will recognize your donation on our website, the Mock Trial State Competition materials, and included in a thank you advertisement in our April Bench & Bar magazine. Donating to the Mock Trial program is simple. Please visit us on  

If you would like to learn more, please contact Kim Basting, Mock Trial Director, at or 612-278-6306.