The Legal Connector

Vol. 2, No. 7                                                                                                   July 2015

Interns--How Could We Live Without Them?

(We May Have to Find Out...) 

Dear Reader, 


We've been blessed this summer to have Courtnie Rowell, a soon-to-be 2L at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, as our part-time legal intern. Courtnie loves data and analytics, and thus she's been given the arduous task of combing through a year's worth of United Way 211 legal referral data. Her work (and positive spirit) reminds me of the huge difference that interns and volunteers make for small nonprofits like C4J.


The nonprofit legal community is also very lucky to have the Minnesota Justice Foundation and its great work in placing law students at various nonprofits. I know that MJF has many supporters; you can certainly count me on that list!


Yet, I'm concerned about the looming shortage--gasp, yes, I just wrote "shortage"--of law students and the impact it will have on Minnesota legal nonprofits. I'm reading that law school applications/admissions are down 30% as of 2014, with another 2% decline predicted for 2015. Eventually (and I'm sure it will be much sooner than later), those numbers will impact the intern front.


It may be that all of us will soon reach out to the undergrad and graduate schools for interns and volunteers. For sure, that's been added to our things-to-do list. In the meantime, thanks for your hard work and dedication, Courtnie and that of all the other C4J interns/volunteers to date; it means a great deal to us!




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

© 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 be reproduced and used for noncommercial, personal and education use only. 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. Have You Heard of Crowddefend?

Raising Money for Legal Fees and Other Costs 

C4J was recently contacted by Crowddefend, which bills itself as a type of Kickstarter for legal cases with a social justice bend. The program highlights cases and campaigns with the goal of raising money for legal fees or other costs. As this edition of TLC goes to press, the Crowddefend website has nine legal matters highlighted for funding; they range from helping an immigrant father and son get released from ICE detention to stopping the solitary confinement of youth with disabilities in California juvenile facilities.  


The program is new within the last several months and its highest "dollars-raised" legal matter totaled $15,000. The program usually takes a 5% fee for its services; however, I'm advised that they have waived their fee to the end of this August.  


For more information, contact Hiraa Khan (, 408-313-9991. You can view the cases they are presently funding at Note: While we had a telephone conversation with this program, we have not fully vetted it.   

2. State Law Library Issues New Legal Research Guides
Available Now!

The State Law Library recently created some new legal research guides/resources on Neighbors, Animals, Seniors/Elder Law, Bankruptcy, Credit/Debt and Disability Law. You can find the guides here. These are great, quick and easy resources; we recommend that you take a look when you have that elusive free moment.

3. Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project
A Program by Pillsbury United Committees and the Brian Coyle Center

We recently learned of the Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project, a program by Pillsbury United Committees and the Brian Coyle Center. With a focus on East African immigrant women, the IWAP has been advocating for and connecting immigrant women to needed services for twelve years; those services include providing culturally affirming and appropriate advocates on domestic abuse, crisis intervention, employment and food support. The program includes one-on-one legal assistance free of charge.  


For more information, contact the Brian Coyle Center at 612-338-5282.

4. C4J Offers Legal Trainings in Red Wing & Bemidji

The Greater MN Legal Liaison Program Continues to Expand 

Over the next two months, C4J will be conducting Legal Liaison Program meetings in Red Wing and Bemidji! The meetings are free of charge and nonprofits from anywhere in Minnesota are welcome to attend.

August 26: Red Wing
The program will last from 9:00AM-12:00PM on Wednesday, August 26 at the Red Wing Public Library with the support of United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties.

September 2: Bemidji
The program will last from 1:00PM-4:00PM on Wednesday, September 2 at Paul Bunyan Communications (1831 Anne St NW, Bemidji, MN 56601). Thanks to United Way of Bemidji Area and Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota for collaborating with us to bring this program to Bemidji.

RSVP's are required to attend either meeting. RSVP's and inquiries can be sent to Emily at

5. Power Points on the Sexual Violence Center and Cancer Legal Line

PDF Copies Available 

The most recent C4J Legal Liaison Program on June 25 included presentations by the Sexual Violence Center and Cancer Legal Line. For those interested, we have the power points from those presentations--contact Emily at to get these. Also, we'd like to give a big THANK YOU to Fredrikson & Byron for their generosity in hosting that LLP (and the view of Minneapolis wasn't too bad either!).

6. FYI: The Clemency Project

Righting Some Wrongs about the Criminal Justice System

Although this is on the criminal side, we thought we'd just mention that President Obama's recent sentence commutations of more than 40 persons convicted of nonviolent drug offenses was part of a new Department of Justice initiative aimed at making the criminal justice system fairer. We are advised that attorneys can volunteer to complete clemency petitions via the Clemency Project 2014, which includes stakeholders such as the ABA, ACLU, and others. You can read about the DOJ's initiative here; information about the Clemency Project 2014 can be found here. This could be an opportunity for pro bono work and a way of making a huge difference in someone's life.

7. Remember to Utilize Minnesota Legal Advice Online

Now One Year Old!

It's been more than a year since Minnesota Legal Advice Online ( launched and we're advised that they've handled more than 1000 civil legal questions from Minnesotans. Remember to refer others to MLAO; it's available to Minnesotans age 14 and up with incomes of up to 200% Federal Poverty Guidelines; the program doesn't provide legal advice about bankruptcy or criminal matters.

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

Children's Law Center Recognized by the Minnesota ACC

On May 30th, the Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel held a Casino Royale Gala to benefit the Children's Law Center and 360 Communities.  The event, held at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, included casino games, fabulous food and raffle prizes including a weekend in Las Vegas at the fabulous Mandarin Oriental Hotel.  Children's Law Center gave a presentation about the organization, the needs of its clients, and the importance of pro bono work.

For more information, click here. A huge shout out to the Minnesota Chapter of the ACC for this wonderful support of two great nonprofits! 

C4J's Upcoming 211 Legal Training: Elder Law 

C4J's 211 training this month will be on Elder Law courtesy of Genevieve Gaboriault of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. Social service and nonprofit legal professionals are welcome to attend the trainings (held at Ceridian Corporation in Bloomington) on either Thursday, July 30 (1:30-3:00PM) or Friday, July 31 (1-2:30PM). (They are duplicate trainings each day.) If you are interested in learning more about how to attend this free training, please contact Emily at

August 10th CLE on New Child Protection Reforms

The Children's Law Center and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education are teaming up to put on an August 10th CLE entitled "Inside Minnesota's Child Protection System: How New Reforms Will Better Protect Children." If you care about children whose home situations are unsafe, threatening or insecure, this seminar will bring you up-to-date on the status of recent changes to Minnesota's child protection system. Non-lawyers are invited to attend.  


Speakers include Lucinda Jesson, Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner, Justice Kathleen Blatz of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Brandon Stahl, the Star Tribune reporter who broke the story about the tragic death of Eric Dean in subsequent fallout. Registration for the CLE can be made here.

Former C4J Founding Board Member Mike Unger Assumes the MSBA Presidency!

We're thrilled to report that Mike Unger, a founding board member of C4J and former member of its executive committee, assumed the reins as president of the Minnesota State Bar Association on July 1. A detailed profile of Mike's extensive legal and social justice careers can be found in the July issue of the MSBA's monthly magazine, Bench & Bar. Congratulations, Mike! We look forward to your leadership!

In Closing
TLC will take August off. If you have an announcement or legal update that you'd like to submit for possible inclusion in our September issue, please contact Program Manager Emily Lindholm at by September 4. Have a great rest of the summer! 


Ellen (Ellie) Krug
Executive Director
- 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. and Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company.  


Friends of Justice (Individual Donors):
Lisa Lamm Bachman, Ginny A. Bell, Les Bendtsen, Mark Bloomquist, Elizabeth A. Brenner, Dan Burton, Vicki & Richard Carlson, Regina M. Chu, Emily Cooper, David Couillard, John Daly, 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, Jim Long, John Medeiros, Pete Michaud & Tom Wilson, Caitlin Miles, Alan Miller, Kathy Moran, 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, Brent Routman, Joseph Satter, Laura Strong & Pam Michaud, John L. Sullivan, Vanessa Tennyson, Dennis Tharp, Jamila Tharp, Tom Tinkham & Jacquelyn "Jacq" Hauser, Mike Unger, Mary Vasaly, Ella Washington, Paul Wehrwein, Jodi Williams and Jay Wolkenbrod.