Save the Date: HCBF Bar Benefit is Thursday, March 5!

logo advertising the 2020 Bar Benefit

This annual event, hosted by our distinguished partner, the Hennepin County Bar Foundation, features games, food, drinks and gorgeous views from the Lumber Exchange Event Center.

VLN will once again host a Silent Auction, featuring items like Twins tickets, a tailored Brooks Brothers suit, a bowling party for up to 40 people, high-value gift cards and so much more!

Reach out to our board members to buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift card to the Blue Plate Restaurant Co., an air travel voucher, a Wall of Wine selected by our Board of Directors or a collection of spirits from local distilleries, selected by our board’s External Affairs committee.

The Bar Benefit is a wonderful opportunity to socialize with colleagues and judges, and learn about all the inspiring work the HCBF makes possible.

Click here to sponsor or buy tickets, and we’ll see you on March 5!

New Housing Court Clinic Slated for Anoka County Courthouse

VLN’s Housing Team is thrilled to announce the launch of another Housing Court Clinic—this time in Anoka County. This Housing clinic is a joint effort between the 10th Judicial District of the Minnesota Judicial Branch, VLN, Judicare of Anoka County, Central Minnesota Legal Services, Mediation and Restorative Services, and Anoka County Emergency Assistance. This housing clinic will take place during the initial appearance calendars, but will be open to assist clients on all housing issues. Service will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis with preference to those who have a hearing that day.

VLN’s clinic will kick-off on February 12, 2020, with VLN needing volunteer attorneys every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. thereafter. Monday morning shifts will be opening up later in the year. Prior housing experience is not necessary. All training will be provided. Minimum commitment is one, two-hour shift each month for one year.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Muria at [email protected]/612-752-6647 OR register to attend our upcoming training on Tuesday, March 10, 2:00pm-4:15pm at the Anoka County Government Center. 2 standard CLE credits have been requested.

Urban Institute: learn from Ramsey County Housing Court Clinic model

The Urban Institute recently featured the Ramsey County Housing Court Clinic on its Urban Wire blog.

The post, titled “Four Lessons from Minnesota Can Inform the Eviction Crisis Debate,” talks about the successes of the on-site legal clinic model for resolving housing crises.

The clinic, opened in 2018, has reduced evictions, increased expungements and increased and improved settlement agreements.

Click here to read the full post at Urban.org.

The Ramsey County Housing Court Clinic is a partnership between VLN, the Family Housing Fund, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), Neighborhood House, Ramsey County, the Dispute Resolution Center and the Minnesota State Courts.

The Advocates Return to Sing Holiday Songs for VLN

As many of you may recall, a number of years ago, a group of lawyers, friends, staff members, and significant others would gather each holiday season and sing for firms and for the Bar each December. We are pleased to announce that the group will return this year with an even more ambitious agenda and will include instrumentalists (flutists, guitar, keyboard, and a sax), a bit of jazz, and vocals.

This year, the group will offer a private concert for your firm or company in exchange for a donation to VLN. This is a very limited engagement. The Advocates will help make the holidays bright and perform on 2 days only, December 9 and 11. But, the slots are extremely limited and the “gigs” will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Here’s a chance to contribute to VLN and bring a bit of holiday cheer to your firm. For more information, or to arrange for a concert, please contact Brent Routman of Merchant & Gould P.C.

Thank you for your continued support!

VLN secures $65,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust

We are excited to announce that the Otto Bremer Trust has awarded VLN a $65,000 general operations grant!

This generous grant will be used to provide civil legal services to people experiencing poverty.

“We are proud to once again partner with the Otto Bremer Trust to make pro bono happen,” said VLN executive director Tom Walsh. “OBT focuses on investing for impact, and free legal services to Minnesotans experiencing poverty make a big impact in our community.”

#GTMD2019: Goal = exceeded!

We had a hugely successful Give to the Max Day 2019. With our board of directors’ generous personal match of $10,000, we raised a total of $20,646!

infographic listing donation amounts and what legal services they can pay for VLN

To our new donors and returning donors; to monthly and one-time givers; to clients, attorneys, judges, community members: thank you.

You all believe in equal access to justice for all, and you have all made a BIG difference in the lives of thousands of Minnesotans experiencing poverty.

You #MakeProBonoHappen!

#GTMD19: What does it mean to #MakeProBonoHappen?

Our hundreds of dedicated volunteer attorneys provide the legal services that bring justice to Minnesotans experiencing poverty.

Their work is the core of what we do. But the support of VLN staff is what brings their skills and hard work to the people who need it most.

Sam* was recently facing eviction from her Twin Cities home. On the day of her court appearance, she had to choose between getting her multiple kids to school and showing up for her hearing on time.  By the time she got to the courthouse, the court had already ruled on the eviction and issued a writ of recovery.

When she arrived at the Housing Court Clinic, she was distraught and in tears. The prospect of losing her family’s home loomed, and she, like many renters, simply could not afford to pay what she owed her landlord.

Our housing clinic assistant, Shawn, was on the case. He got Sam water and found and made copies of necessary documents.
Our housing attorney, Ann, worked to quash the writ and get a new court date.

Now, Sam is confident she will have the emergency assistance she needs in place before her next court date.

Thanks to the extra time and resources Shawn and Ann helped Sam secure, her family is much better positioned to maintain their housing.

Sam’s story is what happens when pro bono happens.

Your gift, matched dollar for dollar by our generous Board of Directors, makes pro bono happen. Give to the Max by November 14 to keep people like Sam and her family safe, stable and secure in their homes.

 

*Client name changed for confidentiality.

VLN is hiring: Program Director

Come work to #MakeProBonoHappen!

VLN is hiring a full-time program director to work in our Minneapolis, MN office.

This position works closely with the Executive Director to manage our wide range of legal services offered throughout the state.

We’re looking for a licensed Minnesota attorney who wants to help lead one of the largest and longest-running pro bono organizations in the country.

Our staff enjoys generous benefits and paid time off in addition to a collegial work environment close to everything in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.

Interested? Click here to read the full posting and apply today!

Give to the Max Day: Thursday, November 14, 2019

We are so excited to celebrate Give to the Max Day again with our generous supporters!

Giving (and prizes!) starts on Friday, Nov. 1. Click here to give any time between Nov. 1 and 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14.

This year, we are sharing the words of our clients to show the world what we do when we work together to #MakeProBonoHappen.

Here is a small sample of what VLN clients had to say in 2019:

“My attorney helped me clear my record from a domestic abuse situation that led to me being homeless for several years. I literally cried because I was so HAPPY!”

“The attorney who worked with us was so professional, kind and compassionate.”

“I got excellent information and from someone who was knowledgeable that I can use now and in the future.”

“My debt was reduced to an amount I could pay and I didn’t have to go to court. No one else would help me.”

“Y’all are very good at what you do.”

Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for more client stories and information about matching gifts!

slide advertising Give to the Max Day at GiveMN.org/VLN

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.