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2018 Mid-Winter Conference
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1/19/2018 to 1/21/2018
When: January 19-21, 2018
Where: Chase on the Lake
502 Cleveland Blvd. W
Walker, Minnesota  56484
United States

Online registration is closed.
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Online Registration is open.

MDLA’s Mid-Winter Conference (MWC) promises programs of interest to all defense lawyers.

The presentations will be delivered by an outstanding roster of speakers: 

  • David Cades
  • Steven Clune
  • Judge Michael J. Cuzzo
  • Jeremy Estenson
  • Judge James B. Florey
  • Judge John H. Guthmann
  • Judge Eric Hylden
  • Spiwe Jefferson
  • David Kempston
  • Judge Mary Mahler
  • Justice Anne McKeig
  • Scott Schultz
  • Judge Christina Stevens
  • Judge John R. Tunheim
  • Judge Edward Wahl
  • Judge Korey Wahwassuck

The MWC will be a three-day event, from January 19 to January 21 beginning with a Friday session, organized by the MDLA’s New Lawyers Committee. In addition to the curriculum, you and your family will enjoy all that Chase on the Lake has to offer, including a bowling alley, excellent dining and a full-service pub

MDLA has applied for 11.25 CLE credits from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota.

Register online above or download this form to pay by check.


MDLA Member $295 ( $345 after Jan. 1)
Judges, Law Clerks, Students $75 ($125 after Jan. 1)
Non-Member $345 ($395 after Jan. 1)

Additional Pricing

Saturday Family Dinner (this dinner is not included with registration)
Adults (13+) - $30 ea.
Children (8-12) - $16 ea.
Children (7 & under) - FREE


Chase on the Lake, Walker, MN

Visit the Chase on the Lake Website

  • Call 218.547.7777 ext. 1 (reservations).
  • Mention Group Leader (#73437).
  • A one-night deposit is required for all room reservations.
  • A minimum two-night stay is required for all weekend reservations.
  • Reservations must be made before December 27, 2017. After that date, the room block is released but will be honored based upon lodging availability.

Chase on the Lake General Information:

  • Check in is at 4pm, check out is at 11am.
  • The 502 Restaurant is open daily. Please check with the front desk for hours of operation.
  • The Cooper Door Spa is open daily and appointments must be made ahead of time.  Call 218.547.8517.

Interested in Sponsoring or Exhibiting?

Sponsorship and exhibitor options are now available for the 2018 Mid-Winter Conference.

View sponsorship and exhibitor details

Thank you Sponsors

Diversity Sponsor

David Riley, CPA

Annual Partner Sponsor

Minnesota Lawyers Mutual


Saturday Continental Breakfast Sponsor

Bassford Remele PA

Saturday Dinner Sponsor

Jardine Logan & O'Brien PLLP

Sunday Continental Breakfast Sponsor

Rajkowski Hansmeier Ltd.

Friday Social Sponsor

SEA Ltd.

Friday Welcome Reception Sponsors

Pfefferle Kane LLP

Saturday AM Break Sponsors

Goetz and Eckland P.A.
Larson King LLP
Benchmark Reporting Agency

Sunday AM Break Sponsor

Stich Angell Kreidler Unke & Scattergood

Law Firm Sponsors

Quinlivan & Hughes PA
Lind Jensen Sullivan & Peterson PA


David Riley, CPA / Axtell Haller CPA Firm
Crane Engineering
Marshall Investigative Group
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company


Friday, January 19, 2018


Pay Attention! The Changing Nature of Driving and Walking
David Cades, Exponent

This session will be an interesting look into how these human factors affect the analysis of a loss and how this research can contribute to your cases by putting science behind the facts.




That’s Why They Call it Practicing Law—a Primer on Customer Service
David Kempston

This session will serve as a welcome refresher for attorneys to do the ordinary tasks better and to remember why we do what we do- it’s for the clients!  


Board of Directors Meeting


New Lawyers Dinner


Presidents’ Cocktail Hour and Dinner

Saturday, January 20, 2018


Registration and Continental Breakfast


Welcome and Announcements
Matthew Thibodeau


Summary Judgment: The End of the Road or Just Another Hairpin Curve?
Judge John H. Guthmann

In this session, Judge Guthmann will review the traditional summary judgment standard and the considerations that go into the decision to bring a motion for summary judgment. Judge Guthmann will also deconstruct the rules and break down what the moving party must do to bring a successful summary judgment motion and how an opposing party may best oppose the motion. The session will include a view of summary judgment motion hearings from the bench. Finally, Judge Guthmann will review the proposed amendment to Rule 56 and the impact, if any, the new rule may have on summary judgment motion practice.


I’m Just a Girl from Federal Dam – My Road to the Supreme Court
Justice Anne McKeig

This session will discuss the challenges faced by Justice McKeig on her road to the Supreme Court. Barriers including poverty, racial tension, educational barriers and a requirement to walk in two worlds. 




Assassination of JFK – A Discussion About the Evidence and the Questions That Linger 50 Years Later
Judge John Tunheim

Federal Judge John R. Tunheim, Chairman of the U.S. Assassination Records Review Board from 1994 - 1998, will discuss the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the many evidentiary issues concerning the assassination that continue today to raise questions in the minds of people around the world – from the Warren Commission, to the "magic bullet," to Lee Harvey Oswald, to Jack Ruby, and to the questions concerning organized crime and foreign governments, to mention just a few. 

Judge Tunheim will discuss the many legal, procedural and practical obstacles faced by the Board and its staff in its vigorous efforts to pry documents from our nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies.  He will also focus on the Board’s additional accomplishments of collecting and releasing records previously held by state and local governments and records remaining in private hands – and what more needs to be done to fully expose all of the remaining secret records about one of the 20th century's most infamous murders.




Asbestos Developments and the Exposure Standard
Judge John H. Guthmann

We will review recent case filing statistics, discuss the volume of motions brought in asbestos cases, and provide an update on any recent developments in Minnesota asbestos litigation.


How to Talk So People Will Listen
Judge Edward Wahl

This session will cover how lawyers can make more effective oral presentations. Drawing on Judge Wahl's background as a debater and debate coach and more recent experience as a lawyer and judge for 34 years, He will focus on preparation, drafting and physical presentation. His program has already been approved for CLE credits on the MCLE programs for young lawyers and solo and small firms.


How to Win Your Court of Appeals Argument
Judge Jim Florey

The presentation will include three parts. First, background and statistics of the COA describing the formation and history of the COA and the types of cases that are decided. Second, the process and procedures utilized by the court in considering and deciding cases. Third, some practice pointers addressing mistakes to avoid that are frequently seen at the COA that may detract from counsel’s briefing or presentation that may have an impact on the decision of the court.




How NOT to get Hometowned Civil Practice in Greater Minnesota
Judges Eric Hylden, Michael Cuzzo, Mary Mahler, Christina Stevens

A panel of judges from outside the 7 county metro area will discuss the unique challenges to presenting your civil case in outstate Minnesota. From commencement and scheduling, through discovery and motions, to trial and beyond, Judges Mary Mahler (7th District, St. Cloud), Mike Cuzzo (6th District, Lake and Cook counties), Christina Stevens (3rd District, Rochester) and Eric Hylden (6th District, Duluth) will provide helpful suggestions on how not to get ‘hometowned’ on your next case venued away from home.


Cocktails, Dinner, and Entertainment

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Registration and Continental Breakfast


Welcome and Announcements
Matthew Thibodeau


Investigations in the Age of Location Data
Steven Clune and Scott Schultz, DigiStream Investigations

The current explosion in geosocial data will change the face of risk management and investigations. Learn what geosocial data is, and how this type of information is used to investigate insurance claims of nearly all types. Understand how to gain piercing insight into accidents, site security, workplace harassment, and high-exposure incidents by locating social media photographs, videos and posts at specific locations and times anywhere in the world. The session utilizes real-life case examples to demonstrate the impact of these new technologies in the realm of risk management, law and insurance, and shows how evidence can be uncovered and leveraged in a variety of scenarios. Privacy and legal issues, as well as preserving, authenticating and presenting this of type cyber evidence in court will also be discussed. Attendees will come away with an understanding of the investigative best practices required for a successful geosocial investigation, and exactly how to utilize this new arrow in their quiver.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what geosocial data is and how it works from a technological standpoint
  • Learn how to properly preserve, authenticate and present social media and geosocial evidence in court
  • Identify the specific instances and red flags which determine when and where geosocial data can further an investigation
  • Understand the legal and privacy implications of leveraging geosocial data in claims investigations
  • Experience difference case examples to gain knowledge as to what geosocial data has accomplished in the past

9:15–10:00 a.m.

What in House Counsel Wish You Knew
Spiwe Jefferson, Blackwell Burke

Do you think being an in-house lawyer is the better career path? No more billable hours? Unlimited funds? Complete autonomy to select outside counsel of your choice? No more marketing? Learn the truth: the pros and cons of the in-house vs. firm environment, what in-house lawyers love and hate about that environment, and what they wish firm attorneys knew.

10:00–10:15 a.m.


10:15–11:00 a.m.

Tort Reform in Minnesota – When It Will Happen and How It Will Affect Your Practice and Your Firm
Jeremy Estenson, Leonard Stinson

The 2017 legislative session presented new opportunities for changes that would benefit Minnesota businesses and CPAs working in public accounting. 

Changes to judgement interest rates were included in the first public safety bill that was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton. Unfortunately, the changes were not part of the bill passed during the special session. Tort reform will continue to be a part of future legislative debates.

It is important for CPAs to continue educating legislators on the impact tort laws have on the profession, the businesses you work for and the clients you represent

11:00–11:45 a.m.

Clocks, Rocks, and Mocs: A View from the Bench on Attorney-Client Relationships and How to Improve Them
Judge Korey Wahwassuck

Drawing on over 25 years’ experience as a practicing attorney, Tribal Court Judge, and District Court Judge, Korey Wahwassuck will give her perspective on how clients’ histories of trauma and substance abuse can affect attorney-client relationships, and provide strategies for improved communication and better outcomes with clients suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation must be made by January 8 for a complete refund, less a $75 cancellation fee. Cancellations after January 8 will not be refunded. Substitutions of attendees may be made at any time without incurring a fee. No-shows will not be refunded.


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