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Continued: Legal Aid fights to close the 'justice gap' for society's most vulnerable

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 18, 2013 - 5:47 PM

 

Q: How do private volunteer lawyers help?

A: Legal Aid and the Volunteer Lawyers Network connect volunteer attorneys with clients and help them navigate the legal system. They also help court clerks at the Housing Court meet the overwhelming demand for assistance.

 

Q: Of what work are you most proud?

A: The overarching reason Legal Aid staff come to work each day is to make a difference in the lives of clients. The concept of civil legal aid to the poor can be abstract to many outside of the legal community, but the difference we make is real. For example, a client contacted Legal Aid after an IRS audit assessed a tax of $130,000 for the sale of a house and withdrawal of funds from a 401(k).

The client’s Social Security was going to be garnished. The Legal Aid attorney helped the client to provide the IRS with proper documentation showing the house sale was not taxable. The IRS decided in the client’s favor. The client owes only about $200 as a result of withdrawal of 401(k) money.

There are more client stories at www .mylegalaid.org.

 

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144

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  • Cathy Haukedahl, executive director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, once was Minnesota’s deputy attorney general.

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