Case Handling Protocols

To fulfill ethical requirements and best practices for avoiding malpractice claims, attorneys need systems for organizing the essential procedural parts of their services. While many different lists may be adequate, below is a list approved by VLN’s ethics advisor, Pat Burns (First Assistant Director, Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility) and VLN’s malpractice carrier. It also incorporates some steps that can be helpful when representing clients from poverty.


pdfdownload2 July Tip of the Month-Case Handling Protocols

The VLN Tip of the Month Turns 10!

This month’s Tip of the Month is on… the Tip of the Month. Launched in March 2006, the VLN Tip of the Month provides succinct and practical information about topics impacting low-income clients, poverty law, and pro bono service. Little did we know at the time that almost 10 years and 118 tips later, the Tip of the Month would still be going strong.

The idea for the Tip of the Month was to provide an easy to use reference for volunteers who are assisting clients outside their normal area of practice. The Tip of the Month is commonly used to notify volunteers about new laws or changes to existing statutes relevant to VLN’s clients. The first Tip of the Month provided information about the Certificate of Rent Paid and Renter’s Rebate. Since that time almost 50 volunteers and VLN staff members have contributed to one or more tips. The most popular topic area for a tip relate to general civil and consumer debtor issues followed closely by housing and family law tips.

VLN maintains an archive of over 95 tips at: on topics ranging from Working with Clients Experiencing Mental Illness to Houseguests Who Overstay Their Welcome. The Tips of the Month are reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they remain accurate and relevant for our volunteers and community partners. Over the years we have retired some tips and updated others.

As the Tip of the Month enters its second decade, we need your help! We would love to hear from you either that you are interested in writing a tip or to let us know of a topic you would like us to address. Topics can range from general, such as building effective client relationships to the very specific such as emergency relief in family court.

Please feel free to contact VLN Staff to share your ideas or to express interest in writing a tip.

Tip Submitted by VLN Staff

Representing Clients who have a Mental Illness

The 25-year old American with Disabilities Act provides protections for the many among us with mental illness.1 Mental illnesses are medical conditions that may disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Because individuals with mental illnesses have higher rates of poverty (their illness can be so debilitating as to prevent them from working), most pro bono attorneys will eventually be helping clients with mental illness.2 The following provide some guidance for providing legal services to clients with a mental illness (hereinafter referred to as just “clients”).

VLN December 2015 Tip of the Month – Working with Clients with Mental Illness

Cold Weather Rule

As we enter into Minnesota’s “cold weather period”, energy customers can avail themselves of the Cold Weather Rule protections to prevent heat shutoffs through the winter. The Cold Weather Rule is not a bright line rule preventing utility disconnections. Instead, it establishes a framework for the customer to establish payment arrangements to avoid a utility disconnection.

Submitted by: Chris Hanrahan

Download the Tip of the Month:

pdfdownload2 November Tip of the Month –Cold Weather Rule