Criminal Law Section

Who We Are | Our Mission

The purpose of the MSBA Criminal Law Section is to promote the exchange of ideas between defense lawyers and prosecutors through educational programs and meetings. 

What We Do | Section Benefits and Activities

MSBA Criminal Law Section members benefit from:
  • The timely dissemination of information regarding case law, legislative issues, district court decisions, and methods of practice via email and on the section's website;
  • Low-cost, high-quality CLE seminars, including past programs which have explored subjects such as: source code, Padilla v. Kentucky, DNA, gambling, and the international criminal law;
  • Advocacy for criminal law attorneys including recommendations regarding legislative and procedural matters;
  • Opportunities to serve the community through initiatives like the Meth Video Project; and
  • Opportunities to network with both prosecutors and defenders as well as members of other MSBA Sections.

Public Service and Pro Bono Opportunities

Mitchell Hamline Pro Se Clinic: Mitchell Hamline School of Law students, alumni, and reference librarians who volunteer to help individuals represent themselves in court. The clinic provides assistance with completing a self-help form for the various legal issues including Criminal Expungement.

MN Teen Challenge Legal Clinic: In the legal community, we advocate on behalf of our clients, working with probation officers and partnering with government, political and law enforcement officials. Many officials participate in forums – raising community awareness. In jails and prisons, we strive to help those struggling with addiction find the best recovery solution whether at MnTC or elsewhere. Contact Landon Ascheman at

Legal Rights Center of Minneapolis: Volunteer attorneys have traditionally used their time with the Legal Rights Center to gain experience in criminal defense and juvenile delinquency cases. Volunteers work on every aspect of our caseload, and are mentored by an experienced staff attorney. Our most successful volunteer attorneys don’t just handle cases, but complement our defense work. For example, they may primarily practice in immigration law, but benefit by handling a small number of criminal matters through our office. Contact Andrew Gordon at

Neighborhood Justice Center: NJC is legal service corporation that has been providing comprehensive criminal defense services to low-income and indigent people in the East Metro area with a focus on communities of color since 1973.

SMRLS: SMRLS is co-sponsoring a Ramsey County Housing Court Clinic, running every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8:00 am during the Housing Court first appearance calendar. Clients receive free legal advice from a volunteer attorney before heading into the courtroom. SMRLS needs volunteer attorneys to help us staff the clinic. We are looking for volunteers to come in once or twice a month, or more. You do not need to have experience with landlord/tenant law. Another great opportunity is their Eviction Expungement Clinics. Email Carol Bros at