Registration Now Open for 2019 Legal Services Statewide Conference

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State Support is excited to announce that registration opens today for the 2019 Legal Services Statewide Conference—Addressing Disparity: A Way Forward. The conference will be held Wednesday, October 23 to Friday, October 25, 2019 at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria, MN. Conference participants can expect to learn about the effects of racial, economic, and other disparities on our clients and ourselves and how to address them in our professional and personal lives. Attendees can earn up to 10.5 hours of Minnesota CLE credit, including up to 5 hours of elimination of bias and 1 hour of ethics credit.

The conference officially kicks-off on Wednesday evening, October 23, with special guest Emily Baxter, founder and executive director of We Are All Criminals (WAAC), a non-profit organization and storytelling project that challenges perceptions of what it means to be “criminal.” Emily’s session will be a conversation about crime, privilege, punishment, and second chances. One in four people in the US has a criminal record; four in four have a criminal history. Through stories, statutes, and statistics, we’ll examine the disparate impact of the criminal and juvenile justice systems on people of color and poor people across the country.

Resmaa Menakem, noted author, international speaker, and justice coach will deliver Thursday morning’s keynote address, in which he’ll discuss and define the theory of racialized trauma. He will share theory and insights on how historical, inter-generational, persistent institutional and personal inequities have impacted each of us and led to a decontextualized and internalized white body supremacy trauma we all carry in our bodies and unknowingly perpetuate in our culture. A break-out session on somatic-body practices and tools for confronting common historical and racial myths will follow the opening session.

Another highlight of this year's conference will be Friday morning’s closing plenary by the Honorable Susan Miles. In her session, Mindful Ways to Relax at Work and Keep Your Wits About You, Judge Miles will discuss bringing mindfulness to work, along with tips on how to increase concentration and calm, and rise above the temptation to react to the pervasive distractions in our professional and personal worlds.

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. We expect this to be the most attended conference in our history, so register early as space is limited! See you at Arrowwood!

LawHelpMN: Commitment to Improvement and Advancement for Our Clients

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By J. Singleton, Program Manager

On February 1, 2019, State Support launched a redesigned LawHelpMN.org featuring the new LawHelpMN Guide. Our work didn’t stop there though. Since launch, we’ve continued to improve the website with a dedicated development budget that turns user feedback and website analytics into tangible advancements. For example, we’ve added functionality that allows users to filter their Guide service results based on their preferences, share their Guide results via text or email, and use the Providers and Clinics Directory to print off custom referral sheets. 

A key component of our continuous improvement goals is a 6-month review of the Guide’s questions. We use analytics to determine when it seems like users are confused or are not finding the information they need. In one instance, we discovered that most people who chose the “Kids, Teens, and School” legal topic had questions about custody, which is included under the “Family” legal topic. While the Guide was still able to direct users to the appropriate custody resources, it wasn’t the most direct route to those resources. To help users get to the right section of the Guide earlier in the process, we will be changing “Kids, Teens, and School” to “Youth Rights and Education” to make the kinds of issues included in that topic clearer. 

During our 6-month review, we also identify and add new resources and adjust the Guide to make sure users can find those new resources readily. In our first six-month Guide revision we wanted to make sure low-income inventors and owners of small businesses and nonprofits knew they might be able to get legal assistance through LegalCORPS. To accomplish this, we are adding a new series of questions to identify people who have a legal issue related to their invention, non-profit or small business. We also crafted questions to identify additional situations in which Community Mediation Minnesota would be a good referral. 

If you have suggestions about how to make LawHelpMN a better resource, please let us know!  

Judge Susan Miles to Close Statewide Conference With Session on Mindfulness at Work

Senior Judge Susan Miles

Senior Judge Susan Miles

In just four weeks registration will officially open for the 2019 Legal Services Statewide Conference: Addressing Disparity: A Way Forward. Running from Wednesday evening, October 23, through noon Friday, October 25, conference sessions will explore the effects of racial, economic and other disparities on our clients and ourselves.

The Honorable Susan Miles will deliver Friday’s closing plenary session, Mindful Ways to Relax at Work and Keep Your Wits About You. Judge Miles is a Senior Judge, retired in 2018 from the Tenth Judicial District Court.

Her address to the legal services community will focus on bringing mindfulness to work. This session will be a thoughtful closing to a conference full of deep thinking about racial justice and other challenges facing legal services staff and clients. Judge Miles will provide tips on how to increase concentration and calm, and rise above the temptation to react to pervasive distractions in our personal and professional lives, through demonstration of effective use of breathing techniques and intentional pauses. Based on her own professional experience, she will discuss how mindfulness practices can enhance emotional and physical resilience, improve cognitive functioning, and connect us more positively to other people.

Judge Miles was elected to the Tenth Judicial District Court in 1996 and was chambered in Washington County until she retired in 2018.  Judge Miles served as president of Minnesota Women Lawyers, the Minnesota District Judges Association and the Minnesota District Judges Foundation, and as Assistant Chief Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Minnesota, chair of the Washington County Bench.  An active meditation practitioner for over 13 years, she has been qualified by the University of Massachusetts Medical School to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which she teaches at the University of Minnesota.  Her current business efforts are aimed at helping legal professionals connect with a sense of inner calm and clarity and she has presented to dozens of legal groups on the topic of bringing mindfulness to work.

Judge Miles joins two other featured presenters for this year’s conference: Resmaa Menakem, keynote speaker and trainer on Thursday, and Emily Baxter, kick-off presenter on Wednesday. Registration for the 2019 Legal Services Statewide Conference officially opens on Wednesday, September 4th!

Resmaa Menakem to Deliver Keynote Address at Statewide Conference

Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP

Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP

Legal Services State Support is pleased to announce that Resmaa Menakem, author, international speaker, justice coach, and expert on conflict mediation and self-care, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s Statewide Conference. Menakem is the author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, an examination of white body supremacy in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology.

In his keynote address for the legal services community, Menakem will discuss and define the theory of racialized trauma. He will share his insights on how historical, inter-generational, persistent institutional and personal inequities have impacted each of us and led to a decontextualized and internalized white body supremacy trauma we all carry in our bodies and unknowingly perpetuate in our culture. He will also present a break-out session on somatic-body practices and tools for confronting common historical and perpetual racial myths, including how our cultural experiences play out in our daily lives.

Menakem has appeared on both the Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil as an expert on conflict and violence. He has served as director of counseling services for the Tubman Family Alliance; as behavioral health director for African American Family Services in Minneapolis; as a domestic violence counselor for the Wilder Foundation; as a certified Military and Family Life Consultant for the U.S. Armed Forces; as a trauma consultant for the Minneapolis Public Schools; and as a Cultural Somatics consultant for the Minneapolis Police Department. As a community care counselor, he managed the wellness and counseling services for civilians on fifty-three U.S. military bases in Afghanistan. He currently teaches workshops on cultural somatics for a variety of audiences and is the founder of Justice Leadership Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people improve their abilities to tap into their individual and communal resilience.

Stay-tuned for more information about this year’s conference, Addressing Disparity: A Way Forward, at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, Wednesday, October 23 to Friday, October 25, 2019. Registration will commence in early September.