This week’s Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association lunch in Minneapolis today included a panel presentation presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank (D. Minn.) with Jerry Lane, the recently semi-retired head of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, Hennepin County Judge Jay M. Quam, and FBA civil litigation Pro Se Project Coordinator Tiffany Sanders.
Judge Quam highlighted the problem to be discussed – access to courts by the poor, the underprivileged, the infirm, and the disenfranchised – by making the simple point that our society does not relegate those who cannot afford health-care to “self-help.” We do, however, leave a large percentage of our population to fend for themselves with legal issues. Quam specifically emphasized the significant demands on the courts when untrained pro se litigants take up courts’ already stretched resources for many matters that lawyers could likely resolve a lot more quickly.
LAWYERS: Consider donating three (3) hours a month to the Minneapolis Urban League Walk-In Clinic, a program run through Legal Aid (Kat Jimenez) and the Twin Cities Cardozo Society? (I do.) Can’t afford to take three hours a month? C’mon. You can make a bigger difference in a 10-minute consultation in someone’s life than you might make for the rest of your month… (Or consider volunteering through VLN?)