The Legal Connector

Vol. 2, No. 4                                                                                                   April 2015
The Education of Ellie Krug

Dear Reader, 

  

Before beginning my stint as executive director of Call for Justice, LLC in late 2011, I didn't understand much about access to justice.  For example, I didn't know that in Minnesota, the ratio of attorneys to private paying clients is 1:369 while the ratio of Legal Aid lawyers (as that phrase is broadly defined to include all nonprofit legal providers) to low income clients is 1:3,682.

 

And the federal poverty guidelines (FPG)? They too, were something I had no idea about.

  

Thus, no way did I know that you have to be really, really poor to qualify for various forms of government aid. Nor did I understand how the FPG dictated who would get or not get assistance through Legal Aid, as that phrase is broadly defined to include all nonprofit legal providers. (By the way, in 2015 the cutoff for full representation [e.g. where an attorney handles a legal matter from start to finish] for a single person in many instances is 125% FPG, or $14,713. Who in the world can actually live on that kind of yearly earnings?)

 

However, for me, most glaring was my ignorance about diversity/inclusion (or more precisely, the lack thereof in our legal community) and how being a person of color, or someone from a marginalized community,  could impact one's ability to connect with a lawyer.  I discovered there's a very sharp intersection between race/socioeconomic status and attorney access. Many people don't make it across that intersection and lose life's basic necessities like shelter, personal safety, access to safety net benefits, and key family relationships.  

 

I've learned a great deal in three and a half years; as C4J's executive director, I'm trying my best to educate others about some of what I've learned.  Contact me if you'd like to hear more--I'd be happy to present to your organization!

  

ellie

Goings On:
Here are some happenings within the Twin Cities legal and social services landscapes.
In This Issue:

1. MSBA's North Star Lawyers Rack Up Pro Bono Hours
Members Recognized for 50+ Pro Bono Hours

2014 marked the third year of the Minnesota State Bar Association's North Star Lawyers program which recognizes MSBA members who provide 50 or more hours of pro bono service. The numbers are now in and they're quite impressive:

  • 967 Minnnesota lawyers provided 50 or more hours of pro bono service
  • Total hours amounted to 108,300 hours of pro bono service
  • $21.6 million value of attorney time provided to those in legal need
In coming weeks, the MSBA will formally recognize the North Star Lawyers with a two page spread in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  We'd like to offer our thanks to those North Star Lawyers and to all other Minnesota attorneys who engage in pro bono service!

2. "We Are Legal Aid" Refines Website
Website Improvements -- Wow!
We previously reported on the new website, We Are Legal Aid, which assembles success stories and other news relevant to Minnesota's Legal Aid community (which is defined very broadly to encompass all of the state's nonprofit legal organizations). 

Recently, the We Are Legal Aid website underwent some improvements (courtesy of assistance from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid!), which made it an even better resource. Our reaction: Wow! The website really looks great! It's a wonderful website to visit if you want to know the kind of work that's happening in the state relative to helping low income persons in legal need. We urge you to visit
 www.wearelegalaid.org.

3. Hennepin County Mid-Size Firm Pro Bono Recruitment Wraps Up
Thanks to Attorneys and Firms Involved!
Beginning last summer a number of attorneys (including Ellie Krug) and approximately 25 Fourth Judicial District judges teamed up to recruit new pro bono attorneys from more than two dozen mid-size Hennepin County law firms. This was a very proactive effort, with judges and their attorney counterparts visiting the firms and actively soliciting attorneys to engage in pro bono to assist the Volunteer Lawyers Network with its various pro bono programs. After months of meetings and follow-up meetings, the final numbers are now in--a total of 53 new attorneys  were recruited from these efforts. 

A huge thanks to the firms that contributed pro bono attorneys to this endeavor:
Arthur Chapman, Bassford Remele, Best & Flanagan, Bowman & Brooke, Fabyanske, Westra, Hart & Thomson, PA, Felhaber Larson Fenlon & Vogt, P.A., Fish & Richardson, Foley & Mansfield,  Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Larkin, Hoffman, Daly & Lindgren, Ltd., Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., Lommen Abdo Law Firm, Maslon LLP, Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P., Merchant & Gould, Moss & Barnett, P.A., Nilan Johnson Lewis, Winthrop & Weinstine, Zelle Hofmann.
4. VLN's Legal Check-Up Questionnaire
Increase Preparedness and Refine Skills
The Volunteer Lawyers Network has developed a great "Legal Check-Up" questionnaire that covers potential legal issue areas such as housing, debt, employment, immigration, and family law. This 3 page document is a great tool for initial intakes/interviews or just plain being prepared! Contact Emily Lindholm (emily.lindholm@callforjustice.org) for a copy or reach out to Tom Walsh at VLN (tom@vlnmn.org).
5. Central Minnesota Legal Services-FATHER Project Collaboration
Teaming Up to Increase Benefits to Families

Central Minnesota Legal Services has now teamed up with Goodwill-Easter Seals and its FATHER Project to provide legal representation to fathers in legal need. Founded in 1999, the FATHER Project was originally administered by the City of Minneapolis and became a program of Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota in 2004. Since then, the FATHER Project has served hundreds of fathers in the community through many collaborative partners. The FATHER Project has received national recognition as an effective and innovative program and in 2012 it received federal grant funding to expand to other Minnesota communities.

  

The FATHER Project's mission is to assist fathers in overcoming the barriers that prevent them from supporting their children economically and emotionally. A Return on Investment study by the Wilder Foundation showed a long-term financial return of $3.41 for each dollar invested in the FATHER Project. Evaluation results have shown increased parenting skills, educational achievement, job placement, and benefits to the children of participating families.

  

For more information about the FATHER Project, visit their website:  www.goodwilleasterseals.org/fatherproject  

People, Places & Things
News about personnel shifts, events, and other items of interest.

Martha White Price Honored

Call for Justice Mentee Awarded Prestigious Honor
We're thrilled to report that one of Ellie's mentees, Martha White Price, a 3L at the University of St. Thomas Law School, has been awarded UST's  "Living the Mission" award.  The award is given to one student from each law school class who best exemplifies the law school's mission based on her activities in and outside the classroom. The award in part was based on the following:

 

"Martha is nothing short of a force of nature. Whether as a student attorney helping indigent clients, a volunteer with Tubman Alliance (a domestic abuse services agency), an intake clerk for Central Minnesota Legal Services where she instructs juvenile inmates on their legal rights, participating in a ProSe clinic, or being active in her church where she teaches Sunday school classes, mentors confirmation students, transports elderly members to church and sings in the church choir, Martha excels in all that she does..." 

 

Congratulations Martha! We look forward to you becoming a member of the Minnesota bar and continuing as a leader!
In Closing
If you have an announcement or legal update that you'd like to submit for possible inclusion in our May issue, please contact Program Manager Emily Lindholm at emily.lindholm@callforjustice.org by May 10.

Sincerely,

Ellen (Ellie) Krug
Executive Director
ellen.krug@callforjustice.org
- Made Possible by C4J Donors -

Foundation Support:
The Dorsey & Whitney Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Hennepin County Bar Foundation, Leonard, Street and Deinard Foundation, Ramsey County Bar Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation.

 

Law Firm Support:
Aafedt, Forde, Gray, Monson & Hager, P.A., Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak & Pikala, P.A., Barry & Helwig, LLC, Bassford Remele, A Professional Association, Best & Flanagan LLP, Briggs and Morgan, Professional Association, Chestnut Cambronne PA, Cooper & Reid, LLC, Cousineau McGuire, Chartered, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Fish & Richardson P.C., Foley & Mansfield, PLLP, Fredrikson & Byron, PA, Gray Plant Mooty, Halleland Habicht PA, Halunen & Associates, Henson & Efron, P.A., Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Jerry A. Burg Law Office, Kennedy & Graven, Chartered, Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd., Larson King, LLP, Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson, P.A., Lindquist & Vennum LLP, Maslon LLP, Mansfield, Tanick & Cohen, P.A., Merchant & Gould, Moss & Barnett, A Professional Association, Nilan Johnson Lewis PA, Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP, Robins Kaplan LLP, Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, P.A., Stinson Leonard Street LLP, Unger Law Office and Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP

 

Business & Community Support:
Bestwestern Normandy Inn & Suites, Boston Scientific, Brending Electrolysis, Carpenter, Evert and Associates, Ltd., Court Videographer Services, Inc., Greater Twin Cities United Way, Michaud, Cooley, Erickson & Associates, Inc. and Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company

 

Friends of Justice (Individual Donors):
Lisa Lamm Bachman, Ginny A. Bell, Les Bendtsen, Elizabeth A. Brenner, Dan Burton, Vicki and Richard Carlson, Regina M. Chu, Emily Cooper, David Couillard, John Daly, Gina DeConcini, Martha Delaney, Paul Dieseth, Liz and Brian Dillon, Phyllis Doman, Jerrad Fenske, Charles Ferrell (In honor of Richard Kyle), Al and Ellen Fisher, Donna and Paul Floyd, Donald and Arvonne Fraser, Tom Fraser, Sara Galligan, Beth Garland, Elise Ginsburg, Sara Granberg-Rademacker, Fouthma Haji-Taki, Rebecca Hallette, Joy Hamilton, Frank and Jayne Harris, Bradley Hart, Catharine Haukedahl, Amy Walsh Kern, Anita Kozan (In memory of Ruth Evelyn Iverson Kozan), Ellen Krug, Mark Krug, Richard Kyle, Jr. and Elizabeth Wittenberg, Brian and Erin Lindholm, Jim Long, John Medeiros, Pete Michaud and Tom Wilson, Caitlin Miles, Alan Miller, Kathy Moran, Ari Murphy, Jean Nead, Crystal Ng, Kathy Nielsen, Kelly Olmstead, Melissa Otto, Gary Pederson, Kelly Phillips, David Piper, David Potter, Jill Prohofsky, Paul Quast, Linda Raines, Christine Rehm, Thea Reilkoff, Liz Reppe, Brent Routman, Joseph Satter, Laura Strong and Pam Michaud, Vanessa Tennyson, Dennis Tharp, Jamila Tharp, Tom Tinkham and Jacquelyn "Jacq" Hauser, Mike Unger, Mary Vasaly, Ella Washington, Paul Wehrwein, Jodi Williams, and  

Jay Wolkenbrod

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