Health care and essential workers have played a critical role in getting our state through the first year of the pandemic. Now it’s our turn to be heroes by helping low-income Minnesotans and their families with legal issues that affect their basic human needs.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch, Minnesota State Bar Association, and legal aid programs recently launched the one-year “Lawyers Step Up for Minnesota” campaign to help fellow Minnesotans with acute legal needs in housing, family safety, and consumer protection.
“The bench and bar have long been partners in the effort to encourage all lawyers to volunteer their legal skills. Lawyers Step Up for Minnesota is another example of our great tradition of service to those who might not otherwise have legal representation when they most need it,” said Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lorie S. Gildea. “The need for lawyers to step up during this unprecedented time is essential. The representation that lawyers provide as pro bono attorneys improves outcomes for those they represent and improves our justice system as a whole. When parties understand the legal process and have an advocate by their side, we all benefit.”
By visiting the lawyersstepupmn.org website, a lawyer can fill out a brief questionnaire and be matched with a legal aid program that’s a good fit based on the lawyer’s interests and geographical area. The legal aid programs will work directly with lawyers to provide pro bono opportunities tailored to the volunteer’s interests. Opportunities may include brief advice, helping out at a clinic, or full representation.
The skills that lawyers use in many types of practice are transferrable to the housing, family safety, and consumer protection arenas, such as meeting with a client, strategizing, preparing responses and forms, and negotiating. Legal aid programs provide mentorship and resources to help volunteer attorneys.
At the end of the one-year Lawyers Step Up campaign, volunteers will be recognized by the Judicial Branch for their pro bono service. Visit lawyersstepup.org to learn more and to volunteer.