CMLS and Hennepin County Establish Full-time Position at Domestic Abuse Service Center

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For the past year, lawyers from Central Minnesota Regional Legal Services (CMLS) have provided free legal advice and representation to those seeking orders for protection on three days each week at the Hennepin County Family Justice Center. By meeting with domestic violence victims on the day of their court hearing, CMLS attorneys are able to provide vital support that can make a profound difference.

Beginning in March, funding for a full-time attorney position will allow CMLS and the county attorney’s office to provide wrap-around services to victims and their families on an expanded basis from the current project.  With a lawyer based in the Domestic Abuse Service Center, much more time can be spent at the beginning of the legal process, which according to Lilo Schluender, supervising attorney with CMLS, “…can have a huge impact on whether a victim is going to be believed and get the protection they need.”

SMRLS Attorney Named Rock County's “2018 Face of Hope” by the Southwest Crisis Center

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Meghan Maes, supervising attorney with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services - Mankato, has been named Rock County's 2018 Face of Hope by the Southwest Crisis Center (SCC) of Worthington.  

SCC works with people experiencing domestic and sexual violence in Rock, Cottonwood, Jackson, Pipestone and Nobles Counties, and Maes is being honored for her impactful work in helping to support survivors and victims of domestic and/or sexual violence, as well as her dedication to raising awareness of domestic and sexual violence through collaboration, volunteerism, and education.

Maes is a 2011 graduate of Hamline University School of Law, and received her undergraduate degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato. At SMRLS, she practices exclusively in the areas of family law and obtaining civil protective orders on behalf of survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking. 

“I am privileged to work with survivors. I am drawn to represent survivors because I want to provide a safe space for survivors to explore their legal options. I believe access to the justice system and resources can help survivors put themselves in the best position to make decisions about their safety and the safety of their family. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with survivors and am constantly in awe of their courage,” Maes said. 

She will receive her award at SCC’s Faces of Hope Banquet on April 21st in Pipestone. The banquet brings community members together to increase awareness of domestic and sexual violence and trafficking through supporting the work of the Southwest Crisis Center.

Legal Aid's Legacy of Wraparound Services for DV Victims

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In We Arm Them With Lawyers, Attorney at Law magazine generously provides space for a monthly article on Legal Aid’s work. In this issue, We Arm Them With Lawyers reveals Legal Aid’s longstanding commitment to Minnesota’s domestic violence victims.

Using an approach referred to as "wraparound services," Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid's domestic violence work includes everything from family law advice and orders for protection, to basic necessities such as food, security, housing, health care, consumer protection, and emergency benefits. More recently, MMLA has collaborated with shelters, medical clinics, and community organizations to make access to a legal services safer and easier.

In 2008, MMLA - St. Cloud joined in the formation of the now nationally recognized Stearns County Domestic Violence Partnership, which advises the Stearns County Felony Domestic Violence Court (DVC). “Before this project, the violent offender had a right to a public defender but the victims had no lawyer they could talk to about anything,” says Legal Aid Deputy Director Ann Cofell. “The DVC gives them that lawyer. It gives them a voice in the system.”  Read more in Attorney at Law magazine.