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The MSBA has a long history of advocating for access to the justice system for all Minnesotans, regardless of income level. The MSBA provides crucial statewide Pro Bono development and support for attorneys and law firms. The MSBA also facilitates the development of statewide policies to promote Access to Justice.

Pro Bono Development

The MSBA is committed to closing the justice gap for low income Minnesotans by connecting members with opportunities to serve legal services clients. Through presentations, trainings, recognition and articles, the MSBA promotes the value and importance of pro bono work, as expressed in Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. 

Pro Bono Development Director
Steve Marchese, Esq.
(612) 278-6308

Access to Justice Policy

The MSBA is involved with several initiatives to close the justice gap in Minnesota. The MSBA helps develop policies to provide more comprehensive legal assistance for Minnesota's low-income clients and generate resources for programs that serve those individuals. 

Access to Justice Director 
(612) 278-6330

North Star Lawyers

The Minnesota State Bar Association is proud to recognize members who provide 50 hours or more of pro bono legal services per year as North Star Lawyers. Lawyers who serve the poor without charge should be celebrated. By generously donating their time and talent, they change lives. They help people who otherwise could not afford counsel achieve justice. The Minnesota State Bar Association is tremendously proud of our members who render free legal services to low-income persons. This year, over 970 members will be certified as North Star Lawyers, and receive public recognition through the state media. 

IOLTA Prime Partners 

The Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee created the Prime Partner Program to support access to justice by encouraging banks to pay a higher interest rate on IOLTA accounts. Interest paid on these accounts is used to fund civil legal service providers. The MSBA encourages members to bank at Prime Partner banks.

The MSBA supports, a collaboration with the Legal Services State Support Center and Pro Bono Net designed to provide a central online resource for pro bono lawyers.

This resource provides access to an extensive library of forms and practice materials, news items, an events calendar, a directory of pro bono and legal service providers and postings of new pro bono opportunities. Membership to the website is free for pro bono lawyers, legal services staff and law students. 

Civil Right to Counsel

The final report of the MSBA Civil Gideon Task Force is available. Access to Justice - Assessing Implementation of Civil Gideon in Minnesota contains detailed information about low income people's needs for representation in matters involving basic human needs, the impacts when counsel is not available, and recommendations for addressing the justice gap. The report has been accepted by the MSBA Assembly. The Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee has a subcommittee devoted to educating the legal community about this issue and implementing the report’s recommendations.