Annual Report

MSBA Civil Litigation Section
Annual Report

Section Membership
As of June 22, 2019 the Section has 1,167 members. 

Financial Status
The Section had an account balance of $42,549.43 as of May 31, 2019. 

CLEs & Events
The Section hosted five events in fiscal year 2018-19.  

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Xers Are in Your Jury - How Best to Prepare



1.0 Standard


Civil Litigation Annual Meeting and Dinner: Tools of the Federal Prosecutor



1.0 Standard


Pre-trial Basics, or How to NOT Screw up the Actual Trial and Keep your Partner Happy



1.0 Standard


Trial Ready Checklist



1.0 Standard


May it Please the Court - How to Improve your Federal Practice



1.0 Standard



Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Section’s Annual Meeting was held on April 30, 2019 and 170 people attended. 

The following council members were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2020:

  1. Judge Ned Wahl
  2. Stephanie Balmer
  3. Judge Louise Bjorkman
  4. Mike Carey
  5. Judge Stephen Daly
  6. Martin Fallon
  7. Judge Thomas Gilligan
  8. Galen Robinson
  9. Matthew Schaap
  10. Chad Staul
  11. Jeremy Stevens

    The following council members will return to serve on the Section’s Governing Council:

  12. Judge Susan Burke
  13. Annamarie Daley
  14. Janel Dressen
  15. Michael Fondungallah
  16. Liz Fors
  17. Judge Jennifer Frisch
  18. Lindsay Keller
  19. Judge Mary Mahler
  20. Judge Dan O’Fallon
  21. Kim Ruckdaschel-Haley
  22. Scott Rusert
  23. Molly Ryan
  24. Melissa Stull

The following officers were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2019 to 6/30/2020:

Section Chair:  Judge Ned Wahl
Section Vice Chair:  Scott Rusert
Section Treasurer:  Lindsay Keller
Section Secretary:  Janel Dressen
Past Chair:  Melissa Stull

Diversity and Inclusion

What diversity and inclusion goals did the Section include in the 2018-2019 work plan, how did you approach these goals, and what was the result? 

The Section’s Diversity and Inclusion goals include the following, which the Section has addressed for the past several years:

(1)        Increase diversity in leadership.  The Section worked to recruit and support diverse candidates for appointments to the Section Council, including communicating opportunities to join the Section Council and the value of joining the Section Council to affinity bar organizations.  The Section Council considered diversity in all appointments. 

(2)        Increase diversity in membership.  The Section worked to recruit and support diverse members.  The Section will continue to seek to strengthen its relationships with affinity bar associations by developing partnerships with the leaders of those associations and inviting members of those associations to attend and/or participate in the Section’s programs and activities.  The Section will also increase its recruitment of law students and new lawyers, and current members will seek to act as a “buddy/mentor” to law students and new lawyer members.  The Section will do the same with regard to recipients of the Section’s scholarships. 

(3)        Increase diversity in programs and activities.  The Section worked to recruit and support diverse presenters for the programs that it offers, aiming to have at least one diverse presenter for each panel presentation of 3 or more presenters.

Other Section Accomplishments

Judges’ Courtroom Preferences Survey: The Section continued distribution of the Judges’ Courtroom Preferences Survey to all district court judges throughout Minnesota and worked throughout the year to increase judge’s participation in the survey. The survey results are available for download from the MSBA website and for purchase in hard copy on Amazon. 

Time’s Up Manual: The Section updated and offered free to our members the Time’s Up Manual—a comprehensive Statute of Limitations guide. Time’s Up is available for download from the MSBA website and for purchase in hard copy on Amazon. 

Practice Tips: The Section regularly emailed our members Practice Tips, which are brief updates on new rules, interesting cases, or developments in the law. This year the Section archived and indexed all Practice Tips from 2014 to the present, making all Tips available to members on the MSBA website. 

Service: The Section started a Service committee and organized service projects for our members’ participation, including a collaboration with Feed My Starving Children.

Grants: The Section approved two grants this year. The Section granted $2,000 to MSBA Mock Trial Program. This program educates teachers, parents, and students about the legal profession and provides them with a better understanding of the process and of legal professionals. 

The Section granted the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society $2,000 to help fund its annual statewide essay contest for high school juniors. The essay contest promotes the interests of the legal profession by promoting legal literacy in school-age children, so that they will become adults who understand and appreciate the third branch of government and the role that courts and attorneys play in the judicial system.  

Submitted By:

Melissa Stull, Section Chair
Date: July 8, 2019