Call for Justice Sees Spike in Usage

Call for Justice, LLC, an innovative Minneapolis nonprofit that helps low-income people connect with Twin Cities legal resources, has seen a 2100% increase in the number of persons accessing its YouTube videos about Twin Cities legal resources. A Call for Justice program creates videos on various legal topics (landlord-tenant law, family law, bankruptcy, even civil commitments) and resources. Call for Justice then posts those videos to its website. ( In little more than a year, views of the 15 videos posted to date have jumped dramatically from 1150 views to more than 27,000 views. “We believe the increase in views of our legal resource videos reflects that people are in real need of information about legal resources” said Call for Justice executive director, Ellen Krug. “Our goal is to help people navigate a system that all too often is confusing and frustrating, in part because there aren’t enough lawyers to help low-income people.”

A product of the Twin Cities legal community, including 30 plus law firms, the foundation arms of the Hennepin and Ramsey County Bar Associations, and with seed money from the Saint Paul and Bigelow Foundations, Call for Justice (C4J) originated in late 2011 because many people with civil legal needs, particularly those with lower incomes or from marginalized communities, have great trouble finding lawyers. “The inability to speak with a lawyer can be devastating for those with a legal emergency,” said Krug. “It can mean the difference between keeping your family safe in an apartment or being out on the street.” C4J uses imagination and persistence to help people in search of attorneys navigate the system.

One such program involves training United Way 2-1-1 information and referral specialists on Twin Cities legal resources, the only program of its kind in the nation. As Krug explained, “We imaginatively created a program that helps 2-1-1 better target legal referrals to get callers to the right legal resource the first time.” A recent review of 2-1-1 data shows that C4J’s training is having a profound effect on 2-1-1 legal referrals. “We’ve found that 2-1-1 referrals to some legal programs have increased by 500%, 750%, even 1500%,” Krug reported. Overall, 2-1-1 referrals to 17 key legal resources are up more than 400%. Yet another C4J program helps social service agencies connect with lawyers. As a result, C4J helped two Minneapolis law firms “adopt” the Jeremiah Program. According to Krug, “This means that the nearly 80 women and 100 children being served by Jeremiah no longer have to fend for themselves in search of attorneys; instead, attorneys actually come to them.” One more C4J initiative involves identifying gaps in the system and filling them.

One such gap involves people who earn too much to be eligible for Legal Aid, but who still can’t afford regular market rate attorneys. To help fill that gap, C4J envisioned and is facilitating creation of a community law firm that will train new attorneys to serve people earning between $23,000 and $35,000. That law firm is slated to open in Saint Paul late next year. “We imagined what it would take to help lawyers connect with people caught in the Justice Gap,” Krug explained. “With the assistance of many community partners and stakeholders, C4J will help make a community law firm a reality.” A public announcement about key sponsors of the community law firm is expected in the coming weeks. In closing, Krug said, “For a small nonprofit, I think we’ve accomplished much. There’s no one else who fills the role of legal system navigator like C4J. We’ll continue working to help low-income people with legal needs connect with lawyers.” For more information contact: Ellen (Ellie) Krug Executive Director Call for Justice, LLC,, 612-333-4000