Minnesota Pro Bono Lawyers Are National Leaders

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A recent Star Tribune article lauds the dedicated and exemplary work of Minnesota’s pro bono attorneys and explains the activism that led to its strength. Minnesota is leading the country with pro bono stewardship from firms like Faegre Baker Daniels — honored in May by the American Bar Association — Fredrikson & Byron and Dorsey & Whitney, to name a few.

”In 2017, 928 Minnesota lawyers contributed 50 or more hours of pro bono work — more than 106,000 hours,” said Steve Marchese, public service director of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

That spirit of volunteerism and commitment to justice for all is also at the core of the pro bono work being done by Volunteer Lawyers Network, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and the Advocates for Human Rights.

“Our mission is to protect and promote the basic human needs of people in poverty through the power of legal volunteers,” said VLN’s executive director Thomas Walsh.

Read the full article: Minnesota lawyers' dedication to pro bono work has made the state a national leader.

Access to Justice in Minnesota: An MSBA Report

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The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) and its Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged (LAD) Committee published the 2017-18 Access to Justice Report for Minnesota. The report highlights initiatives undertaken by the MSBA and LAD Committee in partnership with the Minnesota Judicial Branch, legal aid providers, volunteer attorney programs, and other stakeholders.

Among the highlights:

  • Minnesota partners are creating an interactive online portal to direct people to resources to meet their civil legal needs.
  • An amended Minnesota rule promotes legal aid's receipt of unclaimed funds in state class actions.
  • An MSBA delegation opposes elimination of the federal Legal Services Corporation which funds legal aid programs. 
  • A new statewide Low Fee Family Law Project matches clients of modest means with attorneys.
  • A coordinated response to legal needs in the event of a natural or human-made crises in Minnesota is being developed. 

Read more about these initiatives and other activities that help improve equal justice for all in our state.

Bench & Bar: MMLA's Executive Director on Addressing Racial Disparities

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In this month's edition of Bench & Bar of Minnesota, Cathy Haukedahl, executive director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, explores the hard and necessary work of addressing racial disparities in an essay focused on how law organizations, including legal aid programs, might do a better job. Read more.