The Legal Connector


Vol. 2, No. 11                                                                         December 2015

From Ellie's Desk
Dear Reader:  

The holiday season is upon us once again with reminders about family traditions, holiday music, yearly resolutions and the exchange of gifts. As well, I've also heard that there's an 80 percent chance of snow on the ground by Christmas Day. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
 
It's the "gift" part of the holidays that I've been pondering. In 58 years of living, I've come to understand that one of the best gifts someone can give is of their time. In the nonprofit legal world, we see this thousands upon thousands of times when attorneys engage in pro bono, many of whom meet the aspirational goal of providing 50 pro bono hours annually. What other profession works for more than a week for free every year?
 
Thus, let me express Call for Justice, LLC's appreciation for the gift of pro bono. Thank you so much pro bono volunteers!
 
There's yet one more time-related gift that I'd like to mention--that of mentoring to others.
 
All of us have opportunities to mentor to law students, newer lawyers, and others in the community. It's an honoring endeavor--that someone would want your advice and perspective as they make their life or professional journey. I always find being asked to mentor very humbling.
 
And I always say "yes."
 
Thus, with this holiday season, remember that the gift of time is one that extends far beyond December. It's the kind of gift that enriches others and one's self. Please be generous with that gift.
 
Happy holidays! Onward to 2016!
   
ellie
 
Goings On:
Here are some happenings within the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota legal and social services landscapes.

Some of What's In This Issue:

The wonderful crowd listening to remarks from Ellie at our Birthday Fundraiser in December.
© Call for Justice, LLC. Note: The Legal Connector seeks to better inform the Minnesota nonprofit legal and social services communities of relevant developments that might impact their work in helping low-income Minnesotans connect with legal services. This publication may only be reproduced and used for noncommercial, personal and education use. All other rights reserved. To the extent opinions are expressed in the TLC, they are solely opinions of Call for Justice, LLC. In the event we get something wrong or incorrect, let us know and we'll make the appropriate correction. As much as we hate to admit it, we're not perfect.
1. Two New Committees Push Access to Justice

Statewide Panel & SRL Committee 

The   Minnesota State Bar Association has formed two new committees that are geared toward expanding access to justice.

One committee, dubbed with the exciting title "LAD Committee Statewide Panel," is aimed at creating a state-wide panel of attorneys who'll engage in "low bono" (reduced fee) work for income eligible clients. This committee comes as the result of recommendations made earlier this year by the Challenges to the Practice of Law Task Force, and it's been designated as a specific part of the MSBA's Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee (LAD), which includes all of the state's Legal Aid providers.
 
A second committee, the "Self-Represented Litigant Committee," has been launched to recommend ways of making the court system more user friendly for pro se (the current in-vogue phrase is "self-represented litigant" or "SRL") parties. This group's inaugural meeting is set for December 18.
 
Volunteers to these committees are welcome. Stay tuned for some significant outcomes from these committees!

2. VLN Criminal Expungement Project Needs Volunteers
Recruiting 50 More Lawyers for Criminal Expungement
 
Criminal records (which can be created even with the slightest brush with the law) can last indefinitely until expunged. Employers and landlords can access those records and they become an easy cut; those with criminal records are the first to lose employment or housing options due to the mere existence of a criminal record regardless of whether it was an arrest, dismissal, acquittal or conviction. The dramatic racial disparities in arrest and conviction rates magnify the impact of records on people of color.
 
The Volunteer Lawyers Network helps low-income clients with expungement, which is a process of seeking a court order to seal one's criminal record(s) from public view. The process can be daunting, and thus attorneys are needed to assist; this is particularly so since a 2015 law expanded the type of low-level crimes that are subject to expungement.
 
To assist in this effort, VLN seeks 50 additional attorney volunteers. If you're an attorney or know of an attorney who wants to help a human with this critical work, please contact a VLN volunteer liaison at (612) 752-6655. Call for Justice, LLC and others are assisting in the effort to recruit volunteer attorneys for this work.


3. Focus on Mid-Size Firm Pro-Bono Recruitment
More pushing!
Speaking of pro bono attorney recruitment, there's a renewed effort to recruit from more of the mid-size (30-100 attorneys) Hennepin County law firms. This work is part of the "Hennepin County Pro Bono Project" headed by Tom Tinkham and which involves approximately 25 collaborators from various law firms, nonprofits, and the court system. The goal is to ask these firms to step up to the pro bono plate much more greatly than in the past. This too, is work that C4J is involved in, along with several other highly motivated volunteers.

If your mid-sized firm would like to get involved please contact Kristin Giant at kristin.giant@callforjustice.org


4. New Appeals Self-Help Clinic
Launching January 21!
The Appellate Practice Section of the MSBA and the Minnesota State Law Library have partnered to create a one year pilot project to provide a free appellate clinic for the self-represented. The clinic will be scheduled once per month on the 3rd Thursday from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the State Law Library in St. Paul. There will be limited telephone advice for those without the ability to travel. Attorneys will be available at the clinic to help self-represented litigants (there's that phrase again!) understand appellate rules and procedures covering such things as deadlines, motions, briefs, service of process, and deficiency letters. Wonderful: There's no income-qualification required for assistance!

For more information, contact Liz Reppe at liz.reppe@courts.state.mn.us; see also http://mn.gov/lawlib/selfhelpclinics.html.
 

5. New Administrative Law Panel
New pro bono panel will assist with administrative law preparation
The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) is teaming up with the MSBA and VLN to train attorneys to provide pro bono representation in maltreatment, disqualification, and human services licensing actions through the OAH. A kick-off CLE is scheduled for January 21 from 12:30-3:00pm at Mitchell Hamline. The training qualifies for 2.5 CLE hours. Registration will be available through the MSBA. Stay tuned for more information about the Administrative Law Panel, and if you want to sign up right away contact Glen Drew at VLN (612) 752-6659.
People, Places & Things
News about personnel shifts, events, and other items of interest.
CCLI to Soon Take Off!  
For three and a half years, C4J visioned, facilitated, cajoled, and pushed for the creation of a community law firm that will serve persons who are income ineligible for Legal Aid but who don't make enough to pay market rates, while also training new lawyers on best practices. We're pleased to report that next month--January 2016--the "Collaborate Community Law Initiative" will open in St. Paul. Contact CCLI Interim Executive Director Ginny Bell for more information on when the CCLI will start accepting cases.

Our congrats to Ginny, CCLI Sponsor Mitchell Hamline, and the CCLI Board of Directors!

 

Day One: New Social Justice & Training Specialist  
Day One (a program of Cornerstone, which coordinates various services to combat domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking) has hired Esme' Rodriquez (pronouns they/them) as its Social Justice & Training Specialist. Congratulations and welcome Esme'!
   

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 Kristin Giant at kristin.giant@callforjustice.org by January 4. We look forward to updating you again in the new yearl! 

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, Gray Plant Mooty Foundation, Hennepin County Bar Foundation, Leonard, Street and Deinard Foundation, Otto Bremer 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, Collins, Buckley, Sauntry & Haugh, PLLP, Cooper & Reid, LLC, Cousineau McGuire, Chartered, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Eric Richard Law Office, 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., McShane Bankruptcy LLC, Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P., 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, Wallen-Friedman & Floyd, PA and Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP.

 

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

 

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