LASNEM Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Program
March 2021
In Honor of Tracy Podpeskar

Judge Nancy C. Dreher Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award Recipients
Peter Greenlee and Yvonne Michaud Novak

Honoring Our 2020 Volunteers
1,360 hours and over $275,000 in value donated!

2020 North Star Lawyer Recognition
Deadline March 13, 2021

Upcoming events and opportunities
LASNEM virtual Family Law clinic and CLE opportunities
In Honor of Tracy Podpeskar
1977 - 2020
We remain heartbroken by the sudden and unexpected passing of Tracy Podpeskar. Tracy was a LASNEM Board Member, a dedicated pro bono volunteer, an advocate for civil legal services, and a friend to many at LASNEM.

"For the last decade, Tracy was a dedicated advocate for equal access to justice through her years of pro bono work and service on the board at Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota. Tracy advocated that all individuals should have an attorney with them in court, regardless of their income. Tracy was an exemplary volunteer attorney who provided pro bono service to hundreds of low-income individuals, making her one of the top volunteer attorneys in the northeastern region. In her leadership role on the LASNEM board, she gave voice to the needs of not only the Iron Range communities but of all rural Minnesotans. The impact of Tracy’s work will be her legacy in civil justice."

Dori Streit
LASNEM Executive Director

"Tracy was an energetic, bright, diligent, and fun person, colleague, and attorney who generously used her time and talent to help clients with legal needs, regardless of their ability to pay or their status in life. Her career was exemplary and a credit to the Bar and stands as a model for other lawyers, young or old."

Rick Prebich
Prebich Law Office, P.C.
LASNEM Board Member
Iron Range colleagues remember beloved attorney

Tracy Rae Podpeskar, a mother, attorney and partner of Trenti Law Firm in Virginia, died on Dec. 4. She was 43. In her profession, Podpeskar was perhaps best known for carving her own path at the law firm from her beginnings as a legal secretary...

Read more
Judge Nancy C. Dreher Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award Recipients
Peter Greenlee
Yvonne Michaud Novak
Judge Nancy C. Dreher Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award

Over her career, Judge Nancy C. Dreher's impact, influence, and contributions to the legal profession were substantial. Through her leadership, she showcased a steadfast commitment to professional excellence, legal education, and accessibility to ...

Read more
Honoring 2020 LASNEM PAI Volunteers

Over 50 hours:

  • Tom Witt
  • Rachel Weis
  • Gerald Wallace
  • Jenna Jahn
  • Don Erickson
  • Eduardo Aburto Ortiz
Over 20 hours:

  • Brenda Denton
  • Jason Fitzgerald
  • Hannah Forti
  • Benjamin Kaasa
  • Shari Larson
  • James McGill
  • Bhupesh Pattni
  • Sara Swanson
  • Ellen Tholen
  • Bruce Williams
  • George Wetzel, Jr.
  • Michael Bjerke
  • Jonathan Baker
  • Yvonne Novak
  • Michael Orman
Over 10 hours:

  • Erica Backstrom
  • Henry Brucker
  • John Dimich
  • Leah Fisher
  • Peter Greenlee
  • Daniel Griffith
  • Paul Jacobson
  • Paul Loraas
  • Willliam Paul
  • Cheryl Prince
  • Christopher Stocke
  • Mark Vavreck
  • Paul Voge
2020 North Star Lawyer

If you've contributed 50 hours or more of pro bono in 2020 don't forget to submit your North Star Lawyer verification form by the deadline of March 13, 2020.

Members who report their voluntary service will be recognized as North Star Lawyers and included on the annual roster insert published in the May/June Bench & Bar magazine, as well as in other recognition opportunities. If you would like to know your total hours with LASNEM, contact Eve, Private Attorney Involvement Coordinator.

In 2020, Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota had six PAI volunteers automatically qualify for North Star Lawyer status through our program. They are:

Tom Witt (62 hours)
Rachel Weis (132 hours)
Gerald Wallace (71 hours)
Jenna Jahn (59 hours)
Don Erickson (68 hours)
Eduardo Aburto Ortiz (57 hours)

Thank you for supporting equal access to justice!

 The Minnesota State Bar Association is proud to recognize members who provide 50 hours or more of pro bono legal services per year as North Star Lawyers. Lawyers who serve the poor without charge should be celebrated. By generously donating...

Read more
*NEW* Pro Bono Family Law Clinic

LASNEM has launched a new virtual family law clinic for Northeastern Minnesotans.

The clinic serves low-income residents throughout our 11-county service region in all areas of family law. Interested participants can call (218) 623-8100 to make an appointment.

The clinic is held on the first and the third Wednesday of each month from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Volunteer Attorneys: sign up for a shift, click HERE.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the Pro Bono Family Law Clinic, please contact Lilo Schluender, Director of Private Attorney Involvement.
LASNEM will be offering Judicare funds for attorneys willing to assist qualifying exempt clients with letters to their creditors and providing clients with advice about their protected rights.

  • March - June 2021
  • $400/per case assisted
  • Form letters/templates/information sheets available to all volunteers.

Interested? Contact PAI Coordinator, Eve.
CLE opportunities for Volunteers

Includes a session presented by LASNEM's Director of Private Attorney Involvement, Lilo Schluender!

*If you are a volunteer attorney, please contact Lilo Schluender to receive a code waiving the $45 fee. Limited supply.

Need a refresher on Third-Party Custody? What is the difference between an Interested 3rd Party and a De Facto Custodian?
Click here to view a recently recorded Legal Services State Support presentation on Initiating and Responding to Third-Party Custody cases. To view just enter your name and email. Note that the content portion of the CLE begins at 4:27. 
Serving Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Itasca, Kanabec,
Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis counties.