CMLS Attorney to be Honored at MJF’s Annual Awards Celebration November 7

Elizabeth F. Sauer

Elizabeth F. Sauer

This Wednesday, November 7, marks Minnesota Justice Foundation’s Annual Awards Celebration. Every year since 1991, MJF has honored the work of public interest attorneys, private pro bono attorneys, advocates, and law students whose commitment to service shines as a beacon of hope and embodies the very best of our profession.

This year, MJF’s award for Outstanding Service by a Direct Legal Services provider will go to Elizabeth F. Sauer, supervising attorney at Central Minnesota Regional Legal Services (CMLS).

Sauer has been the housing supervising attorney at CMLS since May 2017, with over seven years of prior service as a staff attorney. While she focuses on housing law, her caseload also includes family law cases, predominantly Orders for Protection. Her advocacy skills and legal knowledge exceed expectations for her seniority at CMLS, and she handles hundreds of housing cases on an annual basis. Countless tenants in Hennepin and Anoka counties have avoided homelessness because of Sauer’s outstanding advocacy.

Sauer has become an expert in subsidized housing law, and CMLS attorneys who have cases involving vouchers, as well as attorneys from other legal aid programs, regularly consult with her on their own cases. She mentors CMLS attorneys in all the program’s offices, and provides counsel to other attorneys in Minnesota, thereby improving advocacy for clients statewide.

Sauer has represented over a thousand clients during her career, and through her mentoring of others, has impacted hundreds more cases. She is always on the look-out for new ways to apply the law to ensure that clients remain housed, and that their housing is in good repair.  Her work recognizes the essential role that housing plays in a client’s success in all areas of life. 

MJF’s 2018 award winners also include Timothy McLarnan of McLarnan & Skatvold – Moorhead, recipient of the Private Practice Award; Imani Jaafar of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, recipient of the Advocate Award; and law students Royzetta Evans of Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Dr. Susan Craig, M. D. of the University of Minnesota Law School, and Jonathan Snyder of the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

There’s still time to get a ticket to the Annual Awards Celebration. Click here for more information and to reserve your ticket.

SMRLS Staff Attorney Receives Outstanding Service Award from Minnesota Justice Foundation

Kathy Eveslage, Staff Attorney, SMRLS

Kathy Eveslage, Staff Attorney, SMRLS

November marked the Minnesota Justice Foundation's (MJF) Annual Awards Celebration at International Market Square in Minneapolis. Every year since 1991, MJF has honored the work of public interest attorneys, private pro bono attorneys, advocates, and law students whose commitment to service shines as a beacon of hope and embodies the very best of our profession.

The 2017 award winner for Outstanding Service by a Direct Legal Service Attorney is Kathy Eveslage, staff attorney with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), St. Paul. 

Kathy joined St. Cloud Area Legal Services in 1982 as a paralegal working on family and elder law issues. She moved to the Twin Cities and went to law school, all the while continuing to work at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services in St. Paul.

For the past 33 years at SMRLS, Kathy has specialized in handling cases for low-income and needy elderly people. She developed expertise handling appeals for elders who were denied personal care assistance, which allows them to stay in their homes. Kathy also has developed expertise in dealing with abusive debt collection practices. She has served her profession through her activities at the Minnesota State Bar Association, as a member of the Governing Council for 14 years.

Kathy loves to travel, and enjoys photography, reading and karaoke. She thanks all of her fellow legal aid colleagues from whom she has learned so much. She extends special thanks to Steve Wolf, Greg Marita, and Laura Orr.

This year's Advocate Award went to Bridget Gernander, Legal Services Grant program manager with the Minnesota Judicial Branch. Bridget began her career after law school as an Equal Justice Fellow working to expand MJF’s network of volunteer opportunities including its first ever volunteer spring break trips and pre-orientation projects.

In the words of her nominator “no single individual in the state of Minnesota has done more to encourage and expand services to the disadvantaged than Bridget. Because of her role on the legal services advisory committee, and her highly collaborative and humble nature, she is often out of the spotlight however, and does not seek the sort of recognition she deserves." Thanks to Bridget, Minnesota has a reputation as a cutting-edge state with a well-run, innovative, client-focused civil legal aid funding system.

MJF's other awards for outstanding service went to the following deserving individuals:

  • Private Practice Lawyer Award:  Rebecca Schiller, The Academy Law Group, P.A.
  • Law Student Award Winners: Lora Fike, Mitchell Hamline School of Law; Nicole Faas, University of Minnesota Law School; Melissa Bumanglag, University of St. Thomas School of Law.

State Support and LSNM Staff to Receive Minnesota Justice Foundation Outstanding Service Awards

Ann Conroy, Legal Services State Support

Ann Conroy, Legal Services State Support

Among the legal professionals to be honored at the Minnesota Justice Foundation’s (MJF) Annual Awards Celebration are Ann Conroy, office manager/training coordinator with Legal Services State Support, and Robert Enger, supervising attorney with Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota.

Both Conroy and Enger bring countless hours of exemplary service to low-income clients in their work with legal aid. Along with fellow award recipients, they will receive commendation from MJF on Wednesday, November 16, at International Market Square in Minneapolis beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Ann Conroy will receive the Advocate Award for her demonstrated commitment to expanding services to low-income and disadvantaged clients through her unique and multi-faceted role at State Support over the past 18 years. As office manager and training coordinator, Ann supports both the statewide legal aid community, and the public who turn to State Support for civil legal referrals and information.

Robert Enger will receive the Direct Legal Service Award for his demonstrated leadership, and zealous and skilled provision of legal representation to low-income and disadvantaged clients. In his 21 years of work at Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, Bob has broken down barriers for those struggling to attain economic equality, justice in law and life, and to meet basic daily needs. To accomplish this beyond the scope of his legal services work, he has worked with his neighbors in community organizations, with local, state, and national bar associations, and in international efforts – to help individuals and groups fighting the constraints and effects of poverty.

Robert Enger, Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota

Robert Enger, Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota

The event’s keynote speaker will be Marianne Short, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of UnitedHealth Group. Ms. Short’s address, “Building Pro Bono as a Core Competency,” will be introduced by Vice President Walter Mondale.

Reservations for MJF's Annual Awards Celebration may be made by calling 612.625.1584 or by sending an e-mail to

Legal Services Staff Among MJF's 2015 Outstanding Service Award Winners

The Minnesota Justice Foundation (MJF) has announced the winners of its annual Outstanding Service Awards. Among the honorees are Minnesota Legal Services Coalition staff who will be recognized on November 11, 2015, at MJF's Annual Awards Celebration, along with outstanding law student and pro bono winners from the Minnesota legal community.

MJF's Advocate Award will go to paralegal Mary Shequen Smith of Anishinabe Legal Services in Cass Lake, and its Direct Legal Service Award will go to staff attorney Barbara (BJ) Kuhn of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid - Minneapolis. Read more about MJF's annual event.