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

New pro bono program launched at Office of Administrative Hearings

On October 21, the MSBA Administrative Law Section kicked off its new pro bono project at a CLE entitled “Increasing Access to Justice at the Office of Administrative Hearings.” The program is a collaboration between the MSBA Administrative Law Section, the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, and the Volunteer Lawyers Network.

The civil justice gap in Minnesota is significant. MSBA Civil Right to Counsel Subcommittee Chair Sally Silk noted that civil legal aid programs must turn away 66 percent of eligible clients due to a lack of resources. Administrative Law Judge LauraSue Schlatter revealed that 60 percent of litigants at the Office of Administrative Hearings are self-represented.

The new pro bono program hopes to close the gap by matching pro bono attorneys with clients in daycare licensing cases. Most daycare licensing cases involve low-income, single women whose business income is the main source of income for their families. The Administrative Law Section hopes to support volunteer attorneys with a mentor program and an upcoming slate of substantive training CLEs this year.

Interested volunteer attorneys may contact Glen Drew at the Volunteer Lawyers Network, (612) 752-6659.

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