Attorneys can take cases for full representation, volunteer to represent clients in a limited scope capacity in the early case management process for family law cases, or volunteer at clinics at the Olmsted County Law Library. Attorneys may also volunteer to answer our Landlord/Tenant Hotline. To volunteer with LAOC, please contact our volunteer coordinator Karen Fairbairn Nath at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-287-2036.
LAOC facilitates a Volunteer Attorney Program (VAP) where private attorneys agree to take full representation or limited scope cases for clients who have been screened through the LAOC intake process when LAOC cannot handle a legal matter due to: (1) a conflict of interest; (2) case not handled by LAOC; or (3) the current caseload at LAOC doesn’t permit the office to take the case.
Cases with which an attorney may volunteer include:
- Landlord Tenant/Housing
- Property/Real Estate
- Elder Law/Probate/Wills
- Employment Law
LIMITED SCOPE CASES
In limited scope cases, when a private attorney agrees to accept a case from LAOC, the attorney is not agreeing to represent the client throughout their entire case. Rather, the attorney’s representation is limited, in that the attorney will assist the client up until the completion of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process. This means that if the client agrees to participate in mediation, early neutral evaluation, or another form of ADR, the attorney will advise the client on how to prepare for the ADR process, and will attend the ADR process with the client and advocate for them. If an agreement is reached through the ADR process, the limited scope attorney may assist with drafting the appropriate legal documents that detail the agreement reached. Then, the attorney is no longer required to represent the client. If no agreement is reached at the ADR process, the attorney also has the right to end their representation of the client.
LAOC provides free legal clinics at the Olmsted County Law Library, which are staffed by volunteer attorneys. Clinics that are currently offered include:
- Family Law (Weekly)
- Financial (Monthly)
- Expungement (Bi-Monthly)
The free legal clinics are an opportunity for clients to meet one-on-one with a volunteer attorney to ask questions, discuss options, and get legal advice. The volunteer attorney provides free, one-time only, legal advice during the clinic, and does not become the attorney representing the case.
The clinics typically last two-hours, and you will meet with approximately 2-4 clients. Scheduling is flexible.
Landlords and tenants can call to get advice about their rights and responsibilities. Clients call (507) 529-4111 and leave a message describing their question or situation. The attorney will then return the call, with a phone provided by LAOC, to discuss the situation and provide the available information or referrals to other service providers. The attorney logs all calls, providing a brief written description of the issue and a summary of information given. Attorneys strive to return calls within 24 hours, Monday through Friday. Attorneys volunteer for one week at a time, typically consisting of an overall time commitment of approximately two hours.
Hotline advocates answer questions on many topics related to rental housing such as:
- Rental Agreements/Leases
- Repair Problems
- Security Deposits
- Ending a Tenancy