The Legal Connector

Vol. 1, No. 3                                                                                      December 15, 2014
Three Years and Counting!

Here we are just past the third year anniversary of Call for Justice, LLC opening its doors. As they say, what a difference three years makes!

 

Actually, we think we have made a difference. We've now conducted more than 20 trainings for United Way 211 on how to make targeted legal referrals; the videos of those trainings (posted on the C4J website) have been viewed on YouTube more than 35,000 times! We've created a Legal Liaison Program to help legal providers and social service agencies communicate about legal resources and needs. And too, we've gone out and facilitated collaborations--the Jeremiah Program, the Catholic Charities Opportunity Center, LGBT lawyers for LGBT youth--to help low-income people connect with lawyers.

 

2015 will bring rewards as well as some challenges. We're looking forward to the day that the Community Law Initiative (a collaboration between Hamline and William Mitchell law schools) will open on or near the Green Line in Saint Paul. We'll have our second annual fundraiser on June 4 (mark your calendars--Davina and The Vagabonds at the Illusion Theater!) and we'll be raising money through a variety of efforts.

 

While we've accomplished much, we couldn't have done it without your support and that of the nonprofit legal and social services communities. Thanks to all of you for helping to make C4J's first three years impactful!

 

Have a wonderful holiday season! See you in '15!

 

ellie

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

1. MMLA's Stearns County Domestic Violence Project
Garnering Awards and Serving as a Template

In a word, this is a WOW project!  

 

In partnership with the Stearns County (St. Cloud) Domestic Violence Court and many legal system collaborators, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid has created a phenomenal project that aids survivors of criminal domestic violence on ancillary legal issues such as divorce, custody, child support, housing, and termination of parental rights. The project has served more than 70 persons who have survived felony abuse since 2009. In many ways, the project is a template for replication throughout the state and nation.  

 

For example, here's an eye-opening metric from the program: before the Domestic Violence Project began, 54% of Orders for Protection were dropped by survivors; after the program began, the percentage of dropped OFP applications went to 17%! To learn more about this great project, click here.

2. Results from C4J's "I Didn't Know That!" Seminar
IDKT! Survey Data Show Information Gap Being Filled

 For those who attended our 2nd Annual "I Didn't Know That!" seminar, you'll recall that we asked you to complete a survey asking your knowledge of various legal resources. Out of nearly 90 attendees, a total of 68 people completed the survey. We were pleased to find that this year's survey results show an increased awareness of many legal resources. After all, isn't that the idea? You can see the survey results and a short summary of the same here. Please let us know what you think!

3. Here's the Word on the Whittier Clinic:

A Medical-Legal Partnership in Minneapolis

The Whittier Clinic in South Minneapolis is the site of an intriguing new project between Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and the Hennepin County Medical Center. Located at West 28th Street and Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis, the project involves doctors, nurses and social workers referring patients to MMLA on any number of legal issues (housing, public benefits, tax, or immigration). An attorney is stationed at the clinic, thus removing additional hurdles for patients (e.g. multiple phone calls or bus fare to get downtown) so that they can connect with legal resources more efficiently.  

 

To learn more, view the Medical-Legal Partnership Fact Sheet or send an email to MMLA Attorney Carrie Graf at cgraf@mylegalaid.org. You can also read Ms. Graf's article in The Hennepin Lawyer, which details her experiences with the Medical-Legal Partnership as an Equal Justice Works fellowship recipient.  

4. Quick Survey Results re: Awareness of Legal Resources in Greater MN 

Here's One More Bit of Data in Case You Haven't Read Enough Statistics

On December 4, C4J launched its "Greater Minnesota Legal Liaison Program" with a meeting in Owatonna that was attended by 22 persons representing social service agencies, schools, churches and nonprofit legal providers. Many thanks to our presenters: Emma Riese of the Volunteer Lawyers Network, Selena Britizius-Negash from the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, and Sam Manning and Mary Vrieze from Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services. 

 

Pre-presentation surveys taken of the attendees showed that many had no idea of the number or type of legal resources that are available to help low-income people outside the Twin Cities. For example, more than 60% of the attendees didn't know about Minnesota Legal Advice Online or LawHelpMN.org; nearly 80% didn't know that the State Courts Self-Help Center can review court forms completed by pro se litigants. We continue to believe that C4J and its collaborators play a valuable role in empowering people through knowledge about legal resources. To access the survey results, click here

5. Criminal Expungement Changes in Effect Jan 1, 2015
Get Ready for a Second Chance
As many people know, come January 1, the new Second Chance Expungement Law will go into effect in Minnesota. This will allow many more people to obtain expungements of a greater variety of criminal records. Many organizations will be offering opportunities for the public to learn more about the scope of these changes. The Council on Crime and Justice has an informational webpage on the subject, and will offer free seminars and workshops for those who wish to better understand the law changes.

Chris Hanrahan of the Volunteer Lawyers Network has also put together a great easy-to-read summary of how the new law will work. You can find the link to that summary here.
People, Places & Things
News about personnel shifts, events, and other items of interest.
Staff Attorney Changeover at Tubman
Michelle Thompson Takes Position with Anoka County Attorney's Office
Tubman staff attorney Michelle Thompson has recently announced that she will be taking a position in the juvenile division of the Anoka County Attorney's Office. We wish her well in her new position!

For those who may not be familiar with the legal services offered at Tubman, this organization has staff attorneys (and volunteer attorneys) who are able to address a variety of family law and domestic abuse issues that take place in Hennepin, Washington and Ramsey counties. Services include legal clinics, assisting in the OFP ("Order for Protection") application process, criminal court advocacy, family law pro bono representation (Note: certain requirements must be met), and more. To learn more about Tubman, visit their website: www.tubman.org

Corrections, Fixes, Apologies, and Other Things that Show We're Human

Last month's TLC included a blurb on the Consumer Debt Clinic in Hennepin County Conciliation Court. We inadvertently failed to report that the clinic is a joint project of both the Volunteer Lawyers Network and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. We regret the oversight in failing to give credit to VLN for its work in creating/supporting this very important clinic. 

In Closing
If you have an announcement or legal update that you'd like to submit for possible inclusion in our January issue, please contact Program Manager Emily Lindholm at emily.lindholm@callforjustice.org.

Sincerely,

Ellen (Ellie) Krug
Executive Director
ellen.krug@callforjustice.org
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Thanks to C4J Donors!!

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

Law Firms:

Aafedt, Forde, Gray, Monson & Hager, P.A., Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak & Pikala, P.A., Barry, Slade & Wheaton, LLC, Bassford Remele, A Professional Association, Best & Flanagan LLP, 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, Halunen & Associates, Henson & Efron, P.A., Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Kennedy & Graven, Chartered, Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd., Larson King, LLP, Lind, Jensen, Sullivan & Peterson, P.A., Lindquist & Vennum LLP, Maslon Edelman Borman and Brand, LLP, Mansfield, Tanick & Cohen, P.A., Merchant & Gould, Moss & Barnett, A Professional Association, Nilan Johnson Lewis PA, Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly LLP, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, P.A., Stinson, Leonard Street LLP, Unger Law Office, Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP.

Businesses & Organizations:
Bestwestern Normandy Inn & Suites, Boston Scientific, Brending Electrolysis, Court Videographer Services, Inc., Greater Twin Cities United Way, Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company.

Friends of Justice:

Ginny A. Bell, Les Bendtsen, Dan Burton, Vicki and Richard Carlson, Emily Cooper, David Couillard, John Daly, Gina DeConcini, Martha Delaney, Paul Dieseth, Liz and Brian Dillon, Phyllis Doman, Jerrad Fenske, Charles Ferrell, Al and Ellen Fisher, Donna and Paul Floyd, Donald and Arvonne Fraser (in honor of Hon. 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, Ellen Krug, Mark Krug, Richard Kyle, Jr. and Elizabeth Wittenberg, Brian and Erin Lindholm, John Medeiros, Pete Michaud and Tom Wilson, Caitlin Miles, Alan Miller, Kathy Moran, Ari Murphy, Jean Nead, Crystal Ng, Kathy Nielsen, 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.