In its commitment to access to justice for all, the HCBA
provides a variety of services for the public, both through the association’s
own programming and through significant support of the Volunteer Lawyers
There are many opportunities for HCBA attorneys to become involved in providing pro bono and low bono services to those in need. Contact HCBA Legal Services Manager Dana Rindahl at 612-752-6600 for additional information on any of these programs.
Volunteer Lawyers Network:
VLN matches low-income clients with volunteer attorneys for free civil legal
services. Services range from advice to full representation. The primary service area is Hennepin County, but select services are provided on a
metro-wide or statewide basis. VLN lawyers provide legal services
for low-income clients areas that impact basic human needs, such as housing,
bankruptcy, family, debt collection, etc. They do not service criminal
matters, personal injury, worker's compensation, legal or medical malpractice,
or any other fee-generating issue.
VLN may be contacted at 612-752-6655 or online for further
HCBA Pro Bono and Low Bono Programming:
The HCBA provides five direct services to the public by way
of legal help.
Lawyer Referral and Information Service:
those with legal issues to one of 200 private attorneys practicing in
over 50 areas of law. Lawyer Referral can also provide callers with general
information about the legal process and community resources. The Lawyer Referral Service is recognized for its high quality by the American Bar Association,
and has been helping individuals find solutions to their legal issues
for over 60 years.
Misdemeanor Defense Project:
Through the Misdemeanor Defense Project, the HCBA provides an attorney at each
of the four Hennepin County Court locations each weekday during misdemeanor
arraignment. The attorney is available to any individual scheduled for
arraignment that day to answer questions about how the courts work, about legal
rights, and about other substantive law matter of concern. Clerks,
prosecutors, judges, or public defender screeners can easily direct the public
to the attorney volunteer for the day.
The clerk of court announces the Misdemeanor Project when the rights are read
in court. This opportunity may allow the individual to proceed pro se (without
legal representation) on the basis of independent legal advice from lawyers
familiar with misdemeanor charges and court processes. The individual may
also choose to have the MDP attorney represent him or her in the legal
matter. The individual and attorney will, in such cases, agree on cost of
The Legal Access
Point, or LAP Clinic, is a drop-in, first-come, opportunity for clients to consult
with an attorney on matters of legal concern. Individuals receive,
without charge, a 15-minute consultation. The Lawyer Referral Service
co-sponsors LAP with the Volunteer Lawyers Network in conjunction with the
Hennepin County District Court’s Self Help Center.
A volunteer attorney
from LRIS is on site in the Self-Help Center each weekday for two hours, from 9
until 11 a.m. and on Mondays from 1 until 3 p.m. During this time-slot there is
no financial screening for service. A volunteer attorney from VLN is then
available from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. daily, and also from 1until 3 p.m. on
Tuesdays and Thursday. During VLN timeslots, clients undergo low-income
screening. During these shifts attorneys will not handle criminal or family
law legal concerns.
At no charge,
attorneys will help the client understand issue around the legal concern,
identify possible options, and describe how to take the next steps in pursuing
the issue. The attorney may refer an individual to other legal or other
service providers if that is the best option.
Low Fee Family Law Project:
A part of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service, this program is designed to allow
affordable representation to the working poor, with income just above the
financial bracket where services are available through other legal services
providers. Service is provided where volunteers and clients can be
matched. A variety of conditions apply. Interested individuals
should contact LRIS.
Commitment Defense Project:
In Hennepin County, any individual who is under petition for
commitment is entitled to legal representation without charge. This
representation is provided through the Commitment Defense Project (CDP) which
is administered for the county by the HCBA. About 35 attorneys experienced in working with individuals in the commitment
process work with CDP. When the court is petitioned for commitment, the
individual is assigned to the Commitment Defense Project and immediately
assigned attorney representation.
Contact HCBA Legal Services Manager Dana Rindahl for information on any of these programs.