Political supporters of legal aid advocate for a variety of issues that affect thousands of Minnesotans each year. We bring highly specialized legal, policy and technical expertise to all stages of the legislative process to advocate for policies that improve the lives of Legal Aid clients. There are many ways to give something back to CMLS. There are voluntary opportunities for non-lawyers to support our clients and employees. You can also donate to CMLS to support our work. For more than 100 years, Minnesotans have received free legal aid from legal aid offices. Read more about us » Legal aid policy advocates cover many areas of political decision-making. Most of our strategic work is done through the Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP), a national division supported by all regional civil legal services programs in the state. LSAP advocates on behalf of low-income Minnesotans, including youth, seniors, and people with disabilities, in legislative and administrative forums. LSAP focuses on issues such as housing, economic stability, food equity, families, consumer protection and health. Current LSC funding does not meet the needs of Minnesota communities. Some civil legal aid programs in our state are forced to turn away 55% of eligible appellants due to lack of resources.
Rural areas are the most affected. Access to essential legal aid is particularly difficult in rural areas of our country. Five civil legal aid programs in Minnesota rely on LSC funds for a significant portion of their resources, and many of these programs are located outside the subway zone. Civil legal aid programmes ensure justice for all. Federal Legal Services Corporation helps fund Minnesota`s civil legal aid programs and, with this funding, plays a vital role in leveraging the important work of pro bono attorneys. “What [LSC] has been advocating for years has nothing to do with party lines or partisanship. It has everything to do with our shared goal that everyone in this country has the right to equal and fair representation before the law. – Tom Emmer, Congressman (R – MN 6th District) State Support`s mission is to improve access to justice for all Minnesotans. As part of this assignment, State Support works extensively with legal advisory programs, the Minnesota State Law Library, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Minnesota Judicial Branch, and other partners in the judicial community, among others.
Our attorneys, staff and volunteers handle civil cases free of charge for Minnesota`s most vulnerable people. With expertise and compassion, we work to provide fundamental legal protection so that our clients can achieve safety, autonomy and access to opportunities. In addition to direct legal representation, we work with policy makers and advocate for equal rights and protection of the law. Disclaimer: The resources and information on this page are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Resources for the convenience of Minnesota residents. Readers need to learn more. We cannot provide pro bono legal advice without civil legal assistance programs. LSC-funded civil legal aid programs serve many clients by leveraging the pro bono resources of the Private Bar Association. Private lawyers rely on civil legal aid programs for training, support and volunteer opportunities. Funding for civil legal aid programmes makes economic sense. Everyone benefits when we are able to house, ensure the safety and stability of our most vulnerable residents. In 2015 alone, civil legal aid programs in Minnesota served 47,000 individuals and families.
A 2016 economic impact report by the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition and the Minnesota State Bar Association showed that for every dollar invested in civil legal aid programs in Minnesota, the return on investment is $3.94. LSC helps thousands of Minnesotans access legal aid when faced with critical issues such as domestic violence, illegal eviction from their homes, and unjustified denial of essential services to veterans, the disabled, and the elderly. Legal Services State Support (State Support) is a project of the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition (MLSC), a group of seven legal aid programs that help low-income residents with a variety of legal issues. State Support operates this website, ProJusticeMN.org for lawyers and MNLegalAdvice.org, a national legal advice website. This year, MJF is pleased to present its 2022 Lawyer Award to Raelene Caswell, Housing Advocate at Standpoint. Caswell (she/she) started working as a lawyer in 2009 and, as Standpoint`s housing lawyer, she works with the housing lawyer to help tenants/survivors of domestic and sexual violence deal with housing issues. These issues include breaking a lease for fear of violence, enforcing housing protection under the Violence Against Women Act, and communicating with landlords. It also provides training to lawyers from across the state. With his team of attorneys, Caswell provides legal representation through Standpoint`s Action Line for Housing, Protection Orders and Injunctions, and other safety-related concerns.