Hennepin Lawyer Spotlights LawHelpMN.org

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The July/August edition of Hennepin Lawyer magazine features an article on the newly redesigned LawHelpMN.org, by Tom Walsh, executive director of Volunteer Lawyers Network. Appropriately placed in a section titled Community Connections, LawHelpMN 2.0: The Supercharged Legal Resource and Referral Tool for Lawyers and the Public, makes a case for the usefulness of the site for the entire community: pro bono attorneys, legal navigators, the public and any advocate looking for a meaningful range of legal resources and referrals.

Notably, Walsh’s piece introduces the reader to the site’s pivotal tool, the LawHelpMN Guide, and with it, a user’s ability to generate personalized results (legal education materials, links, legal services) based on their unique situation. Read the full article.

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.

Did You Know? ProJusticeMN is the Place for CLE and Event Listings

Spring is upon us, and with it a proliferation of CLE, training events, organization fundraisers and social gatherings. ProJusticeMN.org — State Support’s website for attorneys and advocates looking for resources, or interested in volunteering — has a robust calendar geared to the interests and needs of the legal aid and pro bono community.

The calendar is easy to filter by date, topic, city, organization, or whether CLE credit is offered. You can also view the calendar by month or by event listing. No matter how you approach it, the ProJusticeMN calendar provides the information and links you need to keep abreast of training opportunities and important events.

Best of all, you can submit your own CLE listings and upcoming events for inclusion on the calendar. It takes minutes to complete the submission form, and your listing will be reviewed and posted as quickly as possible. Plus, each month, State Support’s Justice News e-newsletter features links to a selection of calendar listings from ProJusticeMN. So don’t wait, submit your event, and get the word out today!

Housing Court Project Study Shows How Legal Help Can Prevent Homelessness

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The cover story in this month’s Bench and Bar of Minnesota is proof positive that the Housing Court Project in Hennepin County is preventing homelessness and family instability on a regular basis. The article, authored by Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Luke Grundman, along with project colleagues Muria Kruger of Volunteer Lawyers Network and Tom Tinkham former Dorsey and Whitney trial partner, describes the project and a recent study examining its effectiveness.

For the past 18 years, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (MMLA) and Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) have maintained a legal clinic at the Hennepin County Courthouse offering eviction advice and full representation, as well as help negotiating settlements and preparing expungement petitions. Recently, the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the Pohlad Family Foundation have provided significant financial support to bolster this vital court project. The clinic is staffed by 11 attorneys from MMLA, and in 2017 alone, nearly 150 volunteer attorneys from VLN provided 1,400 hours of legal service.

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The study on the project’s impact compared results for tenants who were unrepresented to those who received limited advice or help and then to those who received full representation. Eleven random court calendar days were selected for review. Results demonstrated that those represented in eviction proceedings have better outcomes and those fully represented have even more positive outcomes. Read more in Bench and Bar of Minnesota.