Providing Justice in Northwest Minnesota
Seeing the legal needs of people who could not afford an attorney, a group of private attorneys worked out their own system to help people pro bono in the mid-1970’s. They used a set of notecards to track which attorney in the rotation would take the next client in need. They founded Northwest Minnesota Legal Services in 1976 because the demand significantly outpaced the number of attorneys available to assist. In the formative years, private attorneys agreed to accept cases through a civil legal aid model known as “judicare” which provided nominal compensation for the private attorneys. In 1985, LSNM received a Legal Services Corporation grant to hire its first staff attorney. The name officially changed to Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota in 1991. Today, a combination of staff and private attorneys work together to help meet the significant legal needs in northwest Minnesota.