Longtime Maslon lawyer prolific author David Herr dies – Minnesota lawyer


Maslon’s longtime associate David F. Herr, considered a Minnesota law giant for his decades of highly respected work as an appellate and litigator in complex cases, legal educator and prolific author on the right, died. He was 71 years old.

Herr’s passion for the law motivated him to seek to improve the profession and the practice, said Roger Haydock, professor of law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Haydock had been a friend of Herr’s since Herr’s days as a student at the former William Mitchell College of Law in the mid-1970s. Herr then served the school as an assistant professor for over 30 years.

“He has an exceptional history of being such an accomplished lawyer,” said Haydock. “I imagine every courtroom in this state and every law firm in this state has books that David wrote that lawyers rely on. There are perhaps over 1.2 million attorneys in the United States and most of them are litigators. The majority of them have used one or more of his books over the decades, so he has that remarkable legacy in that way. “

Diagnosed with ALS

Herr, who had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, died on December 22. A memorial is planned for the spring at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. Herr this month was named the 2021 attorney of the year for outstanding service to the profession by the Minnesota attorney. In recognition of Herr’s contributions from the capital, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter proclaimed December 3 David F. Herr Day. A celebration for all of his achievements was held in his honor on this day.

In over 43 years of practice, Herr has written over 15 important books on state and federal law while mentoring hundreds of lawyers and helping to draft and amend the rules governing civil practice as a long-time journalist. date for several Minnesota Supreme Court advisory committees.

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson called Herr “one of Minnesota’s legal giants” for his “tremendous contributions to the practice of law and to the state of Minnesota.” Herr’s efforts in the advisory committee included serving as rapporteur for the general rules of practice of the district court committee from July 1982 to the present day.

“The common thread through everything he did was a sense of professionalism,” Anderson said in a transcript of his comments at the event celebrating Herr’s accomplishments. “The preamble to the (American Bar Association) Model Rules of Professional Conduct states that in all professional functions a lawyer should be competent, prompt and diligent; I think that’s a pretty good testament to who David Herr is.

“Unprecedented” service to Supreme Court committees

Eric Magnuson, former chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and now a partner at Robins Kaplan, said Herr’s work on the rules of court committees “is, to my knowledge, completely unprecedented.”

“Few lawyers have contributed as much in their careers as David did through his selfless service to the bench and to the bar,” said Magnuson. “He has been the deferral of most of the major advances in civil rules, both in the courts of first instance and in the courts of appeal, over the past three decades. … David really loved the law and he loved helping the law work the way it was meant to work.

Herr’s writing mantra: “Make this useful”

While Magnuson was “really getting into the weeds of things,” when they wrote together, Herr “brought me closer to the surface and said,” It’s really interesting that you know every detail of this rule. But we have to make it practical, we have to make it useful for the practitioner. It was his mantra, we have to make it useful.

Herr served on Maslon’s governance committee for six years and as general counsel for more than 25 years during his four decades of practice with the firm.

“David has made Maslon a better place through the quality of his lawyer, his role in running the firm and his unwavering support for the firm’s young lawyers,” said Mike McCarthy, chair of the firm’s governance committee, in a statement. communicated. “The accolades he has received for his legal work speak for themselves, but the best measure of his contributions may be the lasting mark he has left on those who have been fortunate enough to work with him. “

Herr graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in 1978. A Hennepin County judge impressed with Herr’s work as a student lawyer advised a firm he had applied to “hire David Herr.” Herr joined Maslon three years later, regularly arguing cases before the Minnesota Courts of Appeal and the 8th United States Court of Appeals. He has served as President of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and President of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters, among other leadership roles he has assumed in advancing the legal profession.

Herr has written several editions of the Mannotated Manual for Complex Litigation Fourth and the Multidistrict Litigation Manual: Practice before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, published by Thomson West; co-author of Appellate Rules Annotated, Minnesota Practice Series, Minnesota’s premier treatise on appellate law and practice; co-author of the Minnesota Appellate Procedure Summary Guide and the Minnesota Evidence Rules Summary Guide for Minnesota CLE; was the original author and publisher of 1994 and subsequently continued to edit several editions of the Eighth Circuit Appeal Practice Manual for the Minnesota CLE; and co-author of the Minnesota CLE Eighth Circuit Appeal Summary.

Herr co-founded and served on the board of directors of the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society; chaired the board of directors of the United Hospital Foundation; and served on the board of the Minnesota Innocence Project.

Focus on mentoring

As a mentor, Herr often invited lawyers to collaborate on articles, books, and court cases. Maslon partner Erica Holzer, whom Herr mentored, said Herr often sidesteps to provide opportunities for newer or younger lawyers.

“He really cared about teaching lawyers how to be good lawyers,” Holzer said. “He was just incredibly generous in that regard. I would say probably because that’s what he saw as part of his responsibility as a lawyer, which I hope to pursue. “

Mitchell Hamline President and Dean Emeritus Eric Janus said Herr’s legacy combines writing and advocacy from a lawyer “who enjoys the legal profession and is committed to sharing his knowledge and expertise. expertise in the broad sense. “

Herr’s motivation to do so, Janus said, stemmed “from a dedication to the profession and raising the level of professionalism among layers and also from dedication to the community, understanding that lawyers greatly contribute to the quality of the profession. civic life in our community and the higher the level of professionalism and competence, the better.

Like this article ? Access all of our great content with a monthly subscription. Start your subscription.


Comments are closed.