Tap your colleagues' expertise
(or make a reputation for yourself as a helpful, knowledgeable colleague) via e-mail

E-mail discussion lists ("listserves")

Welcome to one of the Internet's most practical uses. E-mail discussion groups let you share questions and ideas with colleagues even when you can't get together in person.  They can help you get to know and stay in touch with lawyers whom you otherwise might never meet, or see only once a year.

Several lists are available, each dedicated to a different type of law or practice.  Most of these lists have been created by individual MSBA Sections, or in some cases by district bar associations, and only members of the relevant Section or district association can join (or remain on the list).  The list for members practicing in a smaller law firm or solo, named "solosmall," is not limited to members of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section.  It is open to any MSBA member with an interest in practicing in that setting, even if he or she is currently in a larger firm.

What lists are available?

The following table lists the names of most currently available discussion lists, and who is eligible for each one.

acw-law : for members of the Aitkins & Crow Wing Counties barassociations
adr-talk : for members of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
agtalk : for members of the Agricultural and Rural Law Section
animaltalk: this is for animal law section members
appellatetalk : for members of the Appellate Law Section
bankruptcy-talk : for members of the Bankruptcy Law Section
businesslaw : for members of the Business Law Section
child law : for members of the Children and the Law Section
constructiontalk : for members of the Construction Law Section
conslit : for members of the Consumer Litigation Section
crim-edvol: for attorneys volunteering to show the Criminal Law meth video in local high schools
crimlaw : for members of the Criminal Law Section
enre-talk : for members of the MSBA's Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Section
estate : for members of either the Probate and Trust Law Section or the Elder Law Section
familylaw : for members of the Family Law Section
healthlawtalk : for members of the Health Law Section
immiglaw: for members of the Immigration Law Section
litigation : for members of the Civil Litigation Section
mcs : for members of the Marketing and Client Service Section
msba-lnd : not a discussion list, but a way to receive news relevant to law practice
newlawyers : for members of the New Lawyers Section
outstate-talk:  for members of the Outstate Practice Section
publiclaw : for members of the Public Law Section
rp-specialists : for Certified Real Property Law Specialists
solosmall : for any MSBA member interested in small firm or solo practice
ssdlaw : for members of the Social Security Disability Law Section
taxtalk : for members of the Tax Law Section

How to join a list

To join a list, make note of its name (above, in red) and then send an email to an address in the form <join-[name of list goes here without the brackets]@lists.statebar.gen.mn.us>.  So for a list named crayon-law, you'd send an email to join-crayon-law@lists.statebar.gen.mn.us.  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.  

You will receive in response a message confirming that your request has been received.  Someone at the MSBA will then verify that you are eligible for the list you asked to join, and approve your subscription.  This generally happens within 24 hours.  You will receive a second message, this time confirming that your subscription has been approved and your address added to the list's membership.  At that point, you can write to the list using its name as the first part of the address, and the same domain (lists.statebar.gen.mn.us) after the @ sign, e.g., crayon-law@lists.statebar.gen.mn.us.

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)@lists.statebar.gen.mn.us> 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).

What are the rules?

Many lists have written terms of service that you will receive with your welcome message.  If you do not agree to the terms, you can leave the list as noted above.  Some lists rely on the civility, courtesy, common sense, collegiality, and professionalism of their members more than on specific "rules."  However, it is fair to say that on most lists, advertising or soliciting work is frowned upon or forbidden by group consensus (whereas seeking help or seeking someone to take a referral is welcomed). In general, you should be on good e-mail behavior, because the list membership is diverse and geographically wide-ranging, and one develops a reputation on a list just as one does in real life. Messages should also be relevant to the list; none of the lists is for discussion of politics, religion, sports, or the like. Of course, a sponsoring Section council or its delegate or the MSBA Executive Director may decide, in their sole discretion, that certain behavior has exceed the bounds appropriate for a list, and may put a member on moderation or unsubscribe the member, in their sole discretion.

For specific questions or suggestions about MSBA mailing lists -- existing or new -- contact Mike Trittipo, MSBA technology director, at his address composed of mtrittip as the mailbox followed by the "at" sign and statebar.gen.mn.us as the domain; or (612) 333-1183 or (800) 882-6722.

P.S. Why do we make sending email so difficult? Even with excellent spam filters such as those from Postini or Red Condor, it only takes a few thousand spam attempts a day to create too many spams getting through. Common English descriptions such as username at some_domain or username (at) some_domain are easily recognized and turned into spammable addresses. There are alternatives: putting this page in a members-only walled-off area, for example, so you couldn't read this without first having signed in. Web forms don't work either, if not behind passworded areas (witness all the spam comments generated by web forms elsewhere), and CAPTCHAs are far from perfect security. But lawyers are smart and can put two and two together, so this gives you the convenience of unpassworded access to the addresses to use.

- Last Updated 10/03/07 -

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