Pro Bono Week is October 26 - 30, 2020


Free Pro Bono Week CLEs
Join us for a series of free CLE programs to learn from our Pro Bono All-Stars, connect with available volunteer opportunities, learn about best practices for providing remote service, and help you to take concrete action towards addressing racial disparities in our legal system. CLE credit will be available for each program. All programs are offered via webinar. 

List of Pro Bono Opportunities

Monday, 10/26 – Noon-1 PM
Pro Bono Week 2020 Kick-off: Introducing the MSBA Pro Bono All-Stars

To register:

Pro Bono Week 2020 kicks off with remarks by MSBA President Dyan Ebert and MN Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen, followed by the “official” announcement of the MSBA Pro Bono All-Stars – 148 MSBA members who have participated in the North Star Lawyers pro bono recognition program for at least seven or more years since inception in 2012.  We will hear from three of our All-Stars as they discuss their pro bono work and provide tips for how you can start, sustain, manage and benefit from providing pro bono service to low income Minnesotans.

Steve Marchese, MSBA Public Service Director
Dyan Ebert, MSBA President 2020-21
Paul Thissen, Justice, MN Supreme Court
Landon Ascheman, Ascheman Law Office, St. Paul
Roshan Rajkumar, Bowman & Brooke LLP, Minneapolis
Geri Sjoquist, Sjoquist Law LLC, Virginia


Tuesday 10/27- Noon-1 PM
Pro Bono Jeopardy: Navigating Pro Bono Opportunities during the COVID Pandemic

To register:

There are many pro bono programs available in Minnesota. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out the best fit for you. This session will present pro bono opportunities in a familiar game show format, to freshen up how you find the right match.  We’ll highlight what’s available based on how much time you want to spend and what skills you want to use or develop. Are you someone who loves litigation but only has a few hours? You’ll find out what programs need lawyers to go to court for regularly scheduled, limited scope representation. Maybe you prefer research and want to contribute to a longer term project; you’ll learn how to put those skills to good use. In addition to hearing from a few programs, you’ll see a list of opportunities from many organizations highlighting time and skills needed. It’s a fresh way to see all the great ways you can use your legal skills to make a difference. 

Theresa Dykoschak, The Advocates for Human Rights
Glen Drew, Volunteer Lawyers Network
Lindsay Flint, Cancer Legal Care
Katy Drahos, Tubman


Wednesday, 10/28 – Noon-1 PM
Addressing Ethical Issues in Remote Pro Bono Representation

To register:

All attorneys are subject to ethical rules and obligations, even during a pandemic.  Join us for this session to hear our experts discuss unique challenges in providing pro bono services in a remote setting.

Professor Caleb Smith, University of MN Law School
Kwame Osafo-Addo , LegalCORPS
Bill Greene, Partner, Stinson LLP
Theresa Hughes, Stinson LLP


Thursday, October 29, 2020 & Thursday, November 5, 2020
Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice and How You Can Help

For National Pro Bono Week, you are invited to attend two complimentary CLE programs. Register for one or both programs.

TIME Noon – 1:30 CT

Session One – Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, Collateral Consequences and Barriers to Second Chances

Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested. Once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted. Once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. Moreover, there are drastic racial disparities in the enforcement of laws, judiciary proceedings and treatment within and beyond the criminal justice system. When an individual is arrested or convicted of a crime, they face a vast web of laws and policies, including court-imposed fees and fines. For many who are low income, these function as permanent punishments – barriers that limit human rights and restrict access to crucial resources needed to rebuild lives.

Presenters in this session will discuss the collateral consequences of criminal justice system involvement, and the disproportionate impact on communities of color. They will also assist as we begin to explore how the legal community can advocate for change, including through policy efforts and by providing direct service to low income individuals seeking expungement of criminal records (see session below on criminal expungement basics). Once registered for this session, you will receive a survey regarding your interest in hearing about future pro bono efforts on this important systemic racial justice initiative.

• Dr. Ebony Ruhland, Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati; Former Research Director, Robina Institute
• Josh Esmay, Community Defense Attorney and Collateral Consequences Lead, The Legal Rights Center
1.5 CLE credits to be applied for (elimination of bias credit).


Session Two – Criminal Expungement: Basic Training

Because the criminal legal system disproportionately impacts people of color, particularly Black Americans, prior criminal records are a significant racial justice issue that we can work to resolve immediately as we seek to remove racism from the justice system in other efforts.
When a person is arrested or charged with a crime or offense, a criminal record is created, even if that person is released without being charged or is found not guilty. Those records create barriers to housing, employment and education. Criminal records expungement is an opportunity for qualifying individuals with old criminal records to remove those barriers, find stability, and become productive members of the community.

This CLE will cover the fundamentals of criminal expungement law, including the impact of a criminal record, relevant law and procedure, and train attorneys to prepare an expungement petition.

Once registered for this session, you will receive a survey regarding your availability and interest in joining this important racial justice initiative. After the training, Volunteer Lawyers Network will match low income clients with volunteer attorney teams based on availability and need.

• John Beutler, Volunteer Lawyers Network
• Glen Drew, Volunteer Lawyers Network

1.5 CLE credits to be applied for.


QUESTIONS? Please contact Cynthia Anderson or call +1 612 371 6231.

Presented collaboratively by: Robins Kaplan LLP, Dorsey, Ballard Spahr LLP, VLN, Stinson, Fredikson & Byron PA, Minnesota Corporate Pro Bono Council, Lathrop GPM, Faegre Drinker, Legal Rights Center, MSBA

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 1:30 pm
HOMELINE presents: MN Evictions during the pandemic


HOME Line's weekly COVID-19 webinar series will continue on Wednesday, October 28th at 1:30 pm. For more information and registration click here. 

Since COVID-19 took hold earlier this year, there have been three different Executive Orders limiting evictions (unlawful detainers) in MN along with two federal prohibitions. The rules are both complicated and shifting quickly.

This 90-minute webinar will offer updates on the current law concerning evictions in Minnesota along with a look back at the number of evictions filed since the pandemic began, focusing on what exceptions landlords have relied upon to file. We’ll discuss what types of evictions have been successful and which have not.

The webinar is hosted by HOME Line, a non-profit focused on tenant’s rights, featuring a free tenant hotline that advises roughly 15,000 MN renters annually.


To learn more about available pro bono opportunities in Minnesota, see the Opportunities Guide