Legal Services Advisory Committee (LSAC)

The Legal Services Advisory Committee (LSAC) makes grants to legal services and alternative dispute resolution programs serving low-income clients.  

LSAC funds programs serving every county in Minnesota, with grantees annually providing service to nearly 50,000 low-income clients statewide. LSAC grant funding comes from several sources including:
  • funds appropriated by the legislature for civil legal services, governed by Minnesota Statutes 480.242;
  • a portion of the attorney registration fee dedicated to civil legal services;
  • IOLTA revenue; and
  • a statewide cy pres endowment dedicated to civil legal services.

The FY24-25 Legal Services Advisory Committee grant cycle is now closed.  The next application will be available in January 2025.

FY24-25 Grant Materials:

Attorneys licensed in Minnesota can receive CLE credit for pro bono work.  The CLE for Pro Bono Rule is primarily administered by the Minnesota State Board of Continuing Legal Education.

Under the rule, only pro bono work done through an "approved legal services provider" is eligible for CLE credit.  The rule defines an "approved legal services provider" as:
  1. an organization funded by the Legal Services Corporation or the Minnesota Legal Services Advisory Committee, OR
  2. an organization designated by the Minnesota Legal Services Advisory Committee.  Eligibility for designation is limited to: (a) programs providing pro bono legal representation within 501(c)(3) organizations that have as their primary purpose the furnishing of legal services to persons with limited means; (b) law firms, law libraries or bar associations that conduct programs that have as their primary purpose the furnishing of legal services to persons with limited means and are under the supervision of a pro bono coordinator or designated lawyer; (c) law firms that provide pro bono legal services on behalf of a Minnesota Judicial Branch program, including but not limited to, the Guardian ad Litem Program.
If an organization is not an "approved legal services provider" under the first part of the rule but meets the criteria under the second part of the rule, an Application for Designation as Approved Legal Services Provider may be submitted to the Legal Services Advisory Committee.  Applications are reviewed at the next regularly scheduled committee meeting and, if approved, are effective from the day of receipt.

The following organizations have submitted applications and been approved under Rule 2.B. as eligible for CLE credit for qualifying pro bono under the rule:

Nonprofit Organizations

  • Innocence Project of Minnesota - Effective 4/1/09
  • Institute for Justice Low-Income Pro Bono Program - Effective 6/30/10
  • Cancer Legal Care - Effective 9/28/10
  • Twin Cities Christian Legal Aid - Effective 8/23/11
  • Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans Pro Bono Program - Effective 11/29/11
  • Disability Rights Oregon - Effective 10/17/14
  • HOME Line - Effective 11/10/14
  • Legal Rights Center - Effective 11/25/14
  • Children's Law Center of Minnesota - Effective 7/1/16
  • Domestic Abuse Legal Advocacy Center - Effective 7/5/16
  • Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network - Effective 8/29/18
  • Casa Corneilia Law Center - Effective 8/29/18
  • Family Preservation Foundation - Effective 12/13/18
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project - Effective 6/22/20
  • St. Croix Legal Services - Effective 10/17/22
  • Isuroon Legal Center - Effective 3/1/23

Other Approved Legal Services Providers

  • Dorsey & Whitney Low-Income Pro Bono Program - Effective 10/13/08
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP Low-Income Pro Bono Program - Effective 8/29/08
  • Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP Judicial Branch Pro Bono Program - Effective 8/29/08
  • Fredrikson & Byron Low-Income Pro Bono Program - Effective 8/25/08
  • Stinson Pro Bono Program (including Deinard Legal Clinic) - Effective 9/23/08
  • Ballard Spahr Low-Income Pro Bono Program - Effective 10/1/08
  • Robins Kaplan Guardian ad Litem Pro Bono Program - Effective 2/18/09
  • Robins Kaplan Low-Income Pro Bono Program - Effective 8/12/09
  • Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter, Pro Se Project - Effective 9/22/10
  • Anoka County Law Library - Effective 7/1/13
  • Carver County Law Library - Effective 7/1/13
  • Ramsey County Law Library - Effective 7/1/13
  • Scott County Law Library - Effective 7/1/13
  • Washington County Law Library - Effective 7/1/13
  • Minnesota State Law Library - Effective 7/1/13
  • Minnesota State Law Library Appeals Clinic - Effective 7/19/16
  • Nichols Kaster Low-Income Pro Bono Program - Effective 3/19/21
  • Dakota County Law Library - Effective 3/15/23
  • ABA Free Legal Answers - Effective 9/15/23

The Minnesota Supreme Court has set a vision of increased coordination across access to justice structures statewide to increase the number of people receiving legal assistance.  This work is supported by the Legal Services Advisory Committee staff and involves partnerships across many organizations, including civil legal aid and the private bar.

Civil Legal Aid Coordinated Infrastructure Project

The Minnesota Supreme Court directed LSAC to work on coordinated the intake and referral infrastructure planning across organizations to make it easier for low-income Minnesotans to access available legal services statewide.  In response, LSAC contracted with a national legal aid expert to review the current intake systems and report back to the committee with recommendations. Local legal aid experts then took those recommendations and created a strategic vision and implementation plan, which was approved by the Minnesota Supreme Court in January 2019.

Minnesota civil legal aid providers are national leaders in collaborating to create a more coordinated and client-friendly system.  In the coming years, we will have centralized phone and online intake, ensuring that there is no wrong door for low-income Minnesotans seeking legal assistance.  There will be coordinated marketing and outreach so that our community partners only have to know one referral point to access an array of staff and pro bono services.  This approach will maximize our ability to have data about client needs and to increase resources to invest in delivering on the promise of equal justice for all.

Implementation Projects:
LOON: The first success we have had is the launch of Legal Organizations Online Network (LOON), the backbone of the coordinated infrastructure system.  LOON is a database of information updated in real-time by more than 20 legal aid organizations.  This tool helps intake staff make better referrals of clients they are unable to serve to a provider who can or be confident saying “no” if services are not available. 

LawHelpMN: The website has been redesigned to be make it easier to find information and is on a new platform that allows for regular improvements based on user feedback.  It has two primary components:

  • LawHelpMN Guide - This guided interview is designed for people with legal problems and trusted intermediaries who often help families in crisis.  By answering a few questions, relevant legal information is presented to the user before asking if they would like to go further and see what additional services may be available. 
  • Provider and Clinic Directory - The website also includes a provider and clinic directory designed for users more familiar with the legal system, including pro bono attorneys making referrals at clinics, to quickly filter and find the best available resources for clients.

LegalServer Case Management System:  The Legal Services Advisory Committee (LSAC) is funding a transition to the LegalServer case management system for many of the civil legal aid programs statewide starting in 2019.  Being on the same case management system is critical to more efficient intake and referral processes across programs, as well as to share training and other infrastructure resources. 

Centralized Phone System:  The most complex portion of the strategic plan is the creation of a single point of entry for phone intake statewide.  The toll free number 1-877-MY-MN-LAW was launched in late 2021.  When a potential client calls this number, they enter their zip code to be routed to one of four geographically based intake hubs.  Callers will be screened for eligibility and transferred to a civil legal aid provider for service based on geography and case priorities.  We will have comprehensive statewide data about the requests for service and who is turned away in order to have a data-driven approach to meeting client needs.

Project Communication Handout (including timeline):
Strategic Vision for Access to Civil Legal Aid in Minnesota:  The Next Generation (pdf)


Legal Services Grant Program Manager
Send an email via our contact form

Minnesota Judicial Center (MJC)
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155