Court Opinions By E-Mail

A free benefit for members only

Are you an MSBA member? Then you're entitled to learn about the newest decisions important to your practice, the same day they appear, thanks to the MSBA. Just choose what kinds of decisions you need to know about in your practice, and tell us your name and e-mail address. It's free, but for members only.

How does it work?

The MSBA checks for new court decisions every weekday. It then sends them on to subscribed members by e-mail, in a way designed to make it easy to separate the wheat from the chaff, to get you just the kinds of decisions you need. To help in an initial cut, the MSBA offers four lists:

state appellate decisions in civil matters
state appellate decisions in criminal matters
federal court decisions in civil matters
federal court decisions in criminal matters

"Federal" means published decisions of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and selected decisions of the U.S. District Court (D. Minn.). We do not send U.S. Supreme Court cases. Cornell already does that.

We Make It Easy

What We Do How It Helps You
Send each published decision separately. Easily delete cases you don't need, keep just the ones you want.
Give each message a subject tag (e.g., "FAM" for family law or "K" for contract law) and a "headline," e.g.,
 LIQ - town selling beer 1 day to raise $ isn't "in business " of selling alc.
You needn't even open a message to see which cases are most important to you. You can use filters or rules to automatically route decisions where you want, keeping your inbox clean for client matters.
For each e-mail message, give in the body just the court's syllabus or a similar short indication what it's about. You get to the bottom line fast, without even having to skim the whole decision to see the main issues discussed.
The decision in full comes as an attachment, sometimes with a choice of formats (e.g., Microsoft Word or PDF). You can keep messages and attachments separate to save space, and you can read cases off-line.

Rather than create separate lists for employment, family law, etc., the MSBA attaches "headlines" to each decision sent by e-mail. This gives you a tool to leverage filters or rules to tailor the lists to your practice.  In particular, you can use the information in the headlines to send decisions that are clearly in your areas of practice to one folder, decisions in areas totally irrelevant to your practice straight to trash unseen, and decisions "in the middle" to a folder where you can read them later.  This keeps your inbox clean.  For example, if a headline begins "EMP" you know it's an employment-law decision, or if it says "FAM" it's a family law one, so you can filter them accordingly, creating a tailored virtual list for yourself.  

How to subscribe

Each list has a name: msba-ctops, msba-crim, msba-fedciv, and msba-fedcrim.  The names are given in red in the table above.  To subscribe to any given list, send an email to an address in the form <join-[name of list goes here without the brackets]>.  So for a list named crayon-law, you'd send an email to  There is no such list, but you get the idea: drop the name of the list you want to join after the hyphen after the word "join" so it begins join-name_of_list_here and finish it off with the @ sign and the domain name.  

What if I don't like it?

You will.  But getting off any list is easy, too.  Just send an email from the relevant mailbox to an address in the form <leave-(here again you put the name of the list that you want to leave)> and you'll be unsubscribed. If you change email addresses, you simply unsubscribe the old one (while you can use it) and subscribe your new one (using the new one: the join- and leave- messages have to come from the address to be affected).

- Last Updated 10/03/07 -