Meet 2021-22 RCBA President Monica Dooner Lindgren

Monica Dooner Lindgren1. When did you first become interested in practicing law?

After college, I was searching for a career path where I could make a difference in our BIPOC and immigrant communities. I did not know of many lawyers, let alone Latin@ lawyers and wanted to foster my passion in child advocacy while providing bilingual and bicultural support in our Latin@ communities. After college, I worked as a Family Law paralegal at Centro Legal, Inc.—a  community law office that served our Latinx@ communities. I was fortunate to work with a very special group of people who were deeply invested in providing excellent legal services through a diverse lens. This is where I first realized that a career in the law as a community lawyer best fit my interests and personality. 

2. Can you share a bit about your career path and what you most like about your current practice area?

To this day, I consider my time at Centro Legal, Inc. as one of the best jobs I have had. Following law school, I worked with our BIPOC communities as a community organizer for various local political campaigns. After a couple of years, I landed my dream job in the Family Law Unit of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc., also known as “SMRLS”.  For almost 10 years, I primarily represented victims and survivors of domestic violence in their family law matters and assisted them, along with their children to flee from abuse. This work has had a huge impact on me both professionally and personally.  I have realized the great importance and awesome task of providing high quality legal services to low-income persons who would most likely not otherwise receive such legal representation.  It has only deepened my passion to develop access to justice and promote diversity within our profession. I currently practice immigration law where I am able to apply my experience in representing victims of violence and abuse in their immigration matters. Empowering our communities by providing families with the resources to live free from abuse is what motivates me to continue doing this work. 

3. How did you get involved with the RCBA and what made you want to pursue a leadership role?

I first started to get involved with the RCBA while working at SMRLS. By attending RCBA events, I learned very quickly what an impact the RCBA has had in allowing SMRLS to further its mission in providing access to justice. It’s unwavering support has helped to serve so many low-income Ramsey County residents in their civil legal matters. It has been wonderful getting to know our association’s leadership and members. The opportunities available to make a difference in our legal community are vast. My leadership started as an RCBA Board member. Serving on the Board gave me the opportunity to understand the structure of our association and meet even more of our outstanding members. It only became clearer to me how closely my values as a lawyer are in align with the RCBA’s mission. From the start, I felt welcomed into the RCBA. The supportive environment has made it easy in taking on leadership roles.

4. What are you most looking forward to in your year as president?

I am most looking forward to continuing to support our members by providing opportunities that allow for professional growth, and safely welcoming us all together with in-person engagement, while balancing online options. I am also excited about continuing to develop our presence in our diverse communities by providing impactful ways for members to serve.

5. What are some of the RCBA's goals and initiatives for the 2021-2022 bar year?

As the pandemic continues on the downward slide, the RCBA is working to re-connect all of our members—from new legal professionals to members of the Bench—and provide the support needed so our members can succeed. We want to expand our membership so that all legal professionals can benefit from the unique opportunities the RCBA has to offer. The RCBA is conscious of the inequality and lack of access to justice that many face in our communities. We intentionally and purposefully are committed to fulfilling the mission of the RCBA with an equitable, inclusive and diverse lens.

6. What's some of the best professional advice you've received?

To be prepared and to ask questions.

7. How do you manage stress and find balance?

I enjoy spending time with my family, running, and traveling.

8. What's your favorite show to binge?

I do not watch a lot of television, but if I would binge on a show, it would be "This is Us".

9. What's a song that always makes you dance?

Any Colombian Cumbia!

10. Favorite snack or dessert?

Apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream.