Legal Aid Services of Northeastern Minnesota (LASNEM)
To Volunteer, Contact:
424 W Superior St, Suite 302Duluth, MN 55802
- Website: https://airtable.com/shrMlfpv8I1Bl9PCJ
LASNEM's Private Attorney Involvement Program (PAI) offers high quality legal services to eligible low-income clients in civil matters. Case priorities are those areas of law that impact an individual's safety, stability or security. Services include opportunities for both full representation and legal advice. In addition to pro bono opportunities, volunteer attorneys can also sign up for the Judicare panel that consists of private attorneys who are compensated by LASNEM at a reduced hourly rate.
How much time will I need to spend? Is it at a set time?
Every case is different – LASNEM PAI tries to place every client for at least advice and counsel. If further services are needed, we can review the client’s matter at that time. If the attorney or Legal ParaProfessional who advised the client is unable to assist further, PAI will look for a different attorney/Legal ParaProfessional for the client. Typically advice consultations are phone calls and take between a half hour to an hour depending on the complexity of the matter. Clients are informed of the level of placement when the placement materials are sent as a way to level set expectations. PAI is happy to work with volunteers to allow them to engage as much or as little as they choose and in the areas they choose.
What training or support is available? PAI offers mentoring from other volunteer attorneys and Legal ParaProfessional in a variety of legal practice areas. PAI also provides volunteers with ongoing training opportunities from a number of sources, free tuition to MSBA institutes like the Family Law Institute and Elder Law Institute, and free trainings and CLE credits through LASNEM.
What skills will I develop doing this work? Volunteering with PAI provides attorneys and Legal ParaProfessionals a chance to give back to their community at a level they choose. Development of new skills in different areas of civil legal matters of their choice is welcome and encouraged. PAI is happy to work with volunteers to allow them to engage as much or as little as they choose and in the areas they choose.
Who can volunteer? Attorneys (including retired) in good standing licensed in Minnesota and Legal ParaProfessionals registered with the LPP program (see here for more information https://mncourts.gov/Help-Topics/Legal-Paraprofessionals-Pilot-Project.aspx).
How does all this work? PAI typically sends volunteers an ask with a blurb stating fact pattern and level of service requested (the majority of files are placed for advice and counsel initially to provide the volunteer a chance to assess the matter for further services if needed). If the volunteer has capacity to advise the client a conflict check is sent. Once the conflict check is cleared, PAI will provide the volunteer with intake/contact information about the client, any supporting documentation that can be retrieved (PAI will pull relevant court documents from MGA and provide to the attorney at placement. If relevant court documents cannot be pulled from MGA, PAI will request the client provide them prior to placing the file). Clients are then sent the volunteer contact information and instructed to reach out to the client. Once the volunteer has advised the client, the volunteer will provide PAI with the advice given and their time total on the matter. PAI tracks all volunteer time and reports it to them at year.
What happens if the client doesn’t contact me? PAI will follow up with the volunteer a month after placement to see if the client has contacted them. If they have not, PAI will send a get in touch correspondence to the client (mail/email/text) with a deadline. If no contact after that the file will be closed.
- County(s) of Volunteer Opportunity: Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Pine, Saint Louis
- Area of law: Consumer, Debt/Credit/Bankruptcy, Disability, Elder Law, Employment, Family & Juvenile, Foreclosure, Health, Housing, Life Planning, Taxes, OFP/HRO
- Populations Served: Low Income, MN
- Opportunities For: Lawyers, Paralegals, Senior Lawyers, Small and medium law firm attorneys
- Hours for Pro Bono Opportunities: Flexible
- Malpractice insurance is provided for volunteers: Yes
- Training Provided: Yes
- Training Required: No
- CLE credit for trainings: Yes
- CLE credit for pro bono: Yes
- Mentoring or supervision offered: Yes
- Volunteer lawyers need to meet a caseload or hours requirement: No
- Other Case Load Requirements: No requirement, hours vary from 30 min/1 hour for advice calls up to full representation
- Types of projects in need of Pro Bono help: Client counseling (e.g., brief advice), Draft legal documents (e.g., briefs), Litigation: Trial/Direct Representation
- Volunteers may participate long-distance: Yes