More Representation Minneapolis: tenant legal help initiative hits goals early

Last year, VLN partnered with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid to begin the More Representation Minneapolis initiative. Our goal: getting more tenants legal representation in housing court.

Specifically, we wanted to see a 20 percent increase in volunteer hours by the end of 2019.

With the help of 16 partner law firms, we met that goal two-and-a-half months early!

We went from 1,900 pro bono hours to 2,300 before the convening on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, hosted by MRM partner Stinson LLP.

Representation in civil court makes a huge difference in results for tenants experiencing poverty. But unlike criminal defendants, civil defendants have no constitutional right to counsel.

VLN, MMLA and the City of Minneapolis will continue to work hard, together, to provide this essential component of housing justice to tenants in Minneapolis and beyond.

For more information or to join us in this initiative, please call VLN at 612-752-6655.

Click here to read the story in Minnesota Lawyer!

people standing interior in a row smiling in business attire
Panelists left to right: Katherine Kelly, Assistant Attorney General, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office; Kevin Kitchen, MRM volunteer from Stinson LLP; Mayor Jacob Frey; Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder; Luke Grundman, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid; Donell McDowell, MRM client; Muria Kruger, Volunteer Lawyers Network.

Riverfront 2019: Partners in Justice

blue text reading "Partners in Justice" surrounded by orange hand icons adding the letters

Our 2019 Riverfront Celebration was a huge success!

We more than doubled our night-of fundraising total from last year, thanks to an anonymous donation matching the first $10,000 from our Give by Cell campaign.

We heard from keynote speaker Rebecca Lucero, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and from our esteemed award winners, Nysha Cornelius of Paschal Nwokocha & Chukwu Law Offices and Jody DeSmidt of DeSmidt Rabuse PLLC.

Even though the weather was rainy and overcast, hundreds of guests enjoyed socializing, with cocktails, dinner and desserts as we celebrated the partners who make our community and courthouse clinics happen every day.

Click here to see photos from the event, and check out this year’s video to learn about our partners: Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), the Minnesota Judicial Branch and the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Clinic.

VLN partners with Standpoint, The Family Partnership to help survivors

On July 18, 2019, VLN and its partners hosted its first-ever criminal expungement clinic exclusively for survivors of sex trafficking, sexual violence and domestic violence.

In all, 14 attorneys helped 27 clients file 7 petitions for criminal expungement, and three attorneys took on case for extended representation!

We are very proud of these early results and to work with such amazing partners.

Stay tuned for news of another specialized clinic for survivors.

three stacked logos, from top: standpoint, the family partnership, VLN

VLN Eviction Expungement Clinics’ Continued Success

VLN hosted its 9th Eviction Expungement Clinic at the North Regional Library in July 2019.

This clinic, a partnership with the Minnesota Corporate Pro Bono Council, has been a big success since it started in 2018.

At our July clinic, 23 volunteers drafted 25 expungement motions for ten clients!

So far, the clinic has served 84 clients and expunged 63 evictions!