Every year about this time we get a summary of the new laws that were enacted at the latest legislative session. This year’s summary, which only gives the highlights that would be of interest to a county attorney’s office, runs 50 pages. Some of these are new laws and some are modifications of laws already on the books.
“The laws on the books” take up several feet worth of shelf, by the way. They fill 15 books (each of which has about 1500 pages). Some people assume that all lawyers know all the law. We can’t. There are too many laws, and each one can be modified at any time by the legislature, or overturned by the appellate or supreme court. (You can look up the current laws, as well as the newly enacted laws, called “session laws” at https://www.revisor.mn.gov/pubs/.)
In addition to laws made by the legislature, there are local laws enacted by counties or cities. Also, various agenies have rules. If you apply to be a foster parent, for example, there are rules that govern how that application has to be processed. Then there are rules made by the court system that govern cases that get processed by the courts. Some of those rules are general, and some are specific to the type of case being handled. For example, there are both laws and rules that deal specifically with how probate matters have to be handled, and bankruptcy, and child support. You get the idea. This is why lawyers tend to specialize in one area of law. (I haven’t forgotten that I promised to tell you what we do in this office, and will get to that next time.)