Helping Those in Need

CMLS Staff

CMLS staff closed 1,621 cases in 2021. Of these, 249 were full representation cases and 1,372 were closed as advice or brief services.

In 2020, CMLS entered a partnership with Judicare and VLN to kickstart an Anoka Housing Clinic in which the three organizations will partner to send two attorneys to the Anoka County Courthouse for each eviction calendar. This clinic has continued to expand into 2021 as the Eviction crisis still looms.

Volunteer attorneys

In 2021, CMLS’ volunteer attorneys closed 223 cases. Volunteer attorneys represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, and provided advise to clients at community clinics.

In the most recent 2014 Minnesota Legal Services Coalition Economic Impact report, it was noted that volunteer and Judicare attorneys closed 16,060 cases in Minnesota and nearly $22 million was donated legal time for low-income Minnesotans.

Making a Difference

Legal aid programs in Minnesota create a significant economic benefit for Minnesota. Statewide, 48,444 families and individuals (based on 2014 data) were helped by a coalition of 22 legal aid programs. More Minnesotans are safe, protected, housed, secure, independent, and productive with this help.

In 2014, legal aid programs in Minnesota helped 1,923 client households obtain a successful result in a legal case that involved a victim of abuse.

Domestic Abuse

CMLS prioritizes cases where domestic violence is present to help victims and their families achieve safety. CMLS is a partner with the County Attorney’s Office and Domestic Abuse Service Center (DASC) in Hennepin County. As part of this project, CMLS provides a staff attorney who is available to meet with people experiencing a wide range of legal issues as a result of domestic violence. Our attorneys were available five days per week at DASC prior to the pandemic and have continued to provide daily services remotely since March of 2020.

In 2021, CMLS attorneys provided legal advice and brief services or full representation to 241 people as part of this project.

Economic Impact

According to a report compiled by members of the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition in 2014, legal aid programs in Minnesota generated $133 million in revenue, including the following benefits for our clients:

  • Brought $3.8 million in new federal benefits to the state
  • Enabled Minnesota clients to retain $4.4 million in federal benefits
  • $7.3 million in avoided domestic violence costs
  • $4.1 million in avoided homelessness costs
  • $474,000 in avoided costs for legal document preparation
  • Brought $5.6 million in non-governmental income to clients
  • Protected $13 million in non-governmental income to clients

In addition, legal aid staff attorneys spent approximately 350,000 hours on direct representation valued at $70.8 million in legal services provided to clients. In-kind revenue of pro bono representation represents nearly $21.7 million in donated legal time. 

For every $1.00 spend on Legal Aid the return of investment is $3.94

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