Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Civil Gideon CLE part of Dakota County series

On June 18, members of the MSBA Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee presented a CLE entitled “The Right to Civil Counsel: The Importance of Pro Bono in the Law” to 24 attorneys at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings. Presenters included the Honorable Colleen King, First Judicial District judge; Sharon Jones, executive director of Legal Aid of Dakota County (LADC); and Karissa Richardson, a solo attorney and member of the Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee.

Building off of the recommendations of the 2011 MSBA Civil Gideon Task Force, the CLE is the most recent in a series of presentations aimed at educating the private bar about the concept of a civil right to counsel for cases involving basic needs or safety, such as losing one’s children, housing, or access to health care.

Richardson presented information about the concept of a civil right to counsel and the growing national trend toward a civil right to counsel. Judge King discussed her experiences and concerns as a judge working with self-represented litigants in the courtroom. Jones explained the need for more pro bono representation from the private bar in Minnesota.

The Dakota County Law Library hosts two free CLEs per month: at the Judicial Center in Hastings on the second Thursday of the month, and at the Apple Valley Courthouse on the second Tuesday of the month. For more information about the Dakota County Law Library CLE program, contact Shannon Stoneking: 

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