Registration Commences for October Statewide Conference!

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State Support is excited to announce that registration opens today for the 2017 Legal Services Statewide Conference: Connecting With Our Community.  The conference will be held at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria, MN from Wednesday, October 25 to Friday, October 27, 2017.  Conference-goers can expect to learn more about innovative service delivery models, how to better serve our diverse client populations, and how effective self-care translates into more sustainable and effective advocacy. Attendees can earn up to 13.75 hours of Minnesota CLE credit, including standard, elimination of bias, and ethics credits.

Zoua Vang, storyteller, strategist, and advocate, will officially kick off the conference with a special keynote presentation, "Our Community, Our Stories," on Wednesday evening, October 25. Vang's personal story inspires and profoundly illustrates why what we do matters. As a professional advocate, she will help us understand how to share and celebrate the work we do on behalf of clients every day.

On Thursday morning, October 26, the community will come together for a conversation between the two newest associate justices on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Justices Margaret Chutich and Anne McKeig will discuss their backgrounds and respective journeys to the bench, and share some reflections about their first years on the Minnesota Supreme Court. The conversation will include their thoughts on access to justice issues and legal aid's role in Minnesota's civil justice system and the delivery of legal services.

A highlight of this year's offerings will certainly be a one-of-a-kind interactive session led by The Theater of Public Policy (T2P2). Described by the Star Tribune as "CSPAN being swarmed by the cast of SNL," The Theater of Public Policy explores big ideas using improv comedy.

To register for the conference, and find out more about breakout sessions, speakers, and social activities, visit our conference page and click on the Register tab. Then, just select your participant type. Please encourage your colleagues to register - in 2015 the conference attracted over 200 attendees!  See you at Arrowwood! 

ProJusticeMN: Brand New Design and Intuitive Features

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State Support is pleased to announce a brand new design and custom features for its dedicated professional community website. Freshly redesigned, ProJusticeMN curates content specific to the site’s two primary audiences: the legal aid community and volunteer attorneys. Here are some of the great new custom features on the mobile-responsive site:

  • A new design for the Case Placement Tool that highlights the estimated time commitment, the skill level needed to assist with the case, which skills are developed, and whether the organization posting the case offers mentorship, free training, and/or malpractice insurance.
  • New Library functionality allows you to quickly and easily navigate the library folders and offers new search and filter capabilities.
  • The Calendar features a new user-friendly design and improved search filters.

If you're not yet a member, join us today! If you have questions or feedback about the site, contact Jennifer Singleton at jsingleton@mnlegalservices.org. We'd love to hear from you!

Equal Access to Communication

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Legal Aid's Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) is a vital resource for those whose rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act are in peril. Upholding equal access to communication is one of the hallmarks of MDLC's work. In a recent case, an MDLC client was denied access to routine bank transactions because his credit union changed its policies about accepting IP relay calls for deaf customers, making his access far more difficult than that of hearing customers.

"It's a pleasure to represent a client who is willing to speak out for their rights," said staff attorney Rick MacPherson, counsel on the case. "One person's willingness to enforce the law can bring about equal access for others who are deaf to the services and benefits everyone else enjoys." Read the full article in Attorney at Law magazine.

Sneak Peek: Conference Schedule 2017 Online Now!

With the official launch of registration only one month away (Sept. 6), State Support is excited to unveil a sneak peek at the wide array of sessions planned for the Legal Services Statewide Conference in October. This year's conference, "Connecting With Our Community," provides conference-goers with up to 13.75 hours of practical and meaningful CLE credit, along with the annual awards banquet, and opportunities to network and relax with statewide colleagues. On Thursday evening, October 26, the conference itinerary will feature a special screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary 13th. Named for the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the film was directed by Ava DuVernay and is a Netflix original documentary. It takes an in-depth look at the racial inequality in the United States prison system, focusing on the criminalization of African Americans and the prison boom.

If books are more your style, join your colleagues on Wednesday evening, October 25, in a thought-provoking conversation about Bryan Stevenson’s bestselling memoir, Just Mercy.  A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice, Just Mercy will engage our minds and inspire us to continue pursuing justice for all.

Start planning your personal itinerary now, and join us at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center October 25 - 27, 2017.  Look for the official registration invitation in your inbox, or check SCHED for registration links starting on September 6. See you at the conference!