November 2021

Check the financial donation box for 2021

Check-the-BoxLast spring the Minnesota Supreme Court added Rule 25 to the Minnesota Rules of the Supreme Court on Lawyer Registration, requiring attorneys to report each year the approximate number of pro bono hours completed in the prior calendar year, and likewise to indicate by means of a check box whether they donated to legal services organizations that provide free services to low-income Minnesotans. Since then, the MSBA has been working to spread the word about the new requirements through its publications, events, and social media. The MSBA Access to Justice committee is also working on a CLE about the new rule.

We’ve also been working behind the scenes to make it easier for you to “check the box” when asked if you’ve donated to an organization that provides legal services to people of limited means in 2021. If you’re already a regular legal services donor, thank you! You likely are aware of the urgent legal needs that face our low-income neighbors. If you haven’t donated this year, here are some reasons why our spotlighted attorneys have chosen to give:

  • Donating allows you to do your part to ensure that all individuals have access to quality legal services.
  • Legal services organizations step up to help those who face barriers to justice, making the entire legal system work better and more efficiently.
  • Legal aid is there all the time, doing the work other lawyers care about but often can’t do themselves.
  • If we as a legal community all do our part by giving what we can, we will bridge the justice gap and bring hope and justice to more people.

Many people with desperate legal needs are turned away from organizations across the state. Even if they are accepted, they often face wait lists that force them to sit in limbo while the backlog is processed. It isn’t because their case lacks merit or they don’t need help badly enough; it is simply that there aren’t enough attorneys to represent everyone who needs the help. This is the reality of current funding. 

If you’re convinced that donating is a worthy idea, where to start? There are many organizations doing great work across the state. We encourage you to choose one in your area or one devoted to dealing with an issue you are passionate about. If you are unsure where to turn, that’s where we come in. We’ve made it easy for you to donate to the Minnesota State Bar Foundation (MSBF) and designate your donation to go only to legal services organizations. The MSBF funds legal services organizations across the state and can give more with your support. Visit www.mnbar.org/donateMSBF to learn more and to give.

It’s a win-win situation. Your donation will provide urgently needed funds to organizations serving those most vulnerable to injustice. You’ll also get the satisfaction of being able to “check the box” when you renew your lawyer registration, telling the Supreme Court that you have contributed to a more just state. 

Steve Perry
(612) 278-6333


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Erica Nelson
(763) 497-1778


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Jackie Duvall-Smith
(612) 333-1183

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Jennifer Wallace
(612) 278-6311