State Support is excited to announce the launch of Minnesota Legal Advice Online (MLAO)! MLAO is a new website that provides advice to people with civil legal questions. Entirely online, clients enter questions into the website, and volunteer attorneys review and answer questions at their convenience.
The benefits of this new system are two-fold. First, clients who might not otherwise get help can get brief advice from an attorney. Second, attorneys can take advantage of a pro bono opportunity at their own pace and at a time that is convenient for them.
There are many reasons to get involved in pro bono. According to the Legal Services Advisory Committee and Lawyer Registration (MARS) data, for every 1 private attorney in Minnesota, there are 365 potential paying clients, while for every 1 legal aid attorney in Minnesota, there are 4,022 potential low-income clients. Volunteering with MLAO is an easy way to help address this gap and get help to your fellow Minnesotans who are struggling.
If that isn't enough to convince you to give it a try, here is what one of our pro bono attorneys, Genevieve Gaboriault (a current legal aid attorney), had to say about the program:
“I enjoy taking questions from MLAO online. I get to help people who could not afford to pay for their own lawyer, just like I do in my regular role at Legal Aid. But I get to do it at my own pace and have time to look up statutes or laws if I’m not quite sure of the answer. The tool is easy to use too which is a plus.”