Winter 2017 Newsletter

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Under Attack

From our friends at LRAP comes this information:

The PROSPER Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week in the Committee on Education and the Workforce. This bill would make numerous harmful changes to higher education programs, but perhaps most significant to the ability of advocates to pursue careers in civil legal aid and public defense would be the elimination of the Federal Direct Loan program. This would effectively eliminate Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) because only borrowers with federal direct loans can become eligible for forgiveness. There are two important things you need to know:

First, this bill would deeply harm the equal justice community. This program works to give legal services programs the ability to recruit and retain talented staff who would not otherwise be able to afford a career in public service. This proposal applies only to future borrowers, so while this proposal should not affect current recipients, the impact would be disastrous for legal services programs across the country. The price of this bill will ultimately be paid by low-income clients and communities whose access to justice will be severely reduced.

Second, you can stop this from happening. The proposal is one of many contained within the PROSPER Act, and the complex and comprehensive nature of the legislation makes significant changes to the bill over the coming months likely. It is also not clear that the Senate will generate a similar proposal. During this process, your elected officials need to fully understand the impact of this program and recognize the harm that eliminating it would do to their constituents. Please take two minutes today to call your members of Congress and explain how PSLF has helped close the justice gap. The only Minnesotan on the Committee is Rep. Jason Lewis. It is recommended that constituents reach out to him and that others reach out to their specific Representatives to help inform the House and Senate about the negative impact of this bill.

Other ways to make your voice heard:

Act Now

US House of Representatives Directory

US Senate Directory

Street Law Project Celebrates 20 Years of Providing Community Education to At-risk Youth


The Minnesota Street Law Project is a collaboration between the Minnesota Justice Foundation, the three Minnesota law schools, local legal services providers, and area high schools and alternative learning centers.  Through the Street Law program law students receive training in teaching methods and resources for presenting a variety of substantive areas of law to high school students.  Trained law students are placed in area high schools and alternative learning centers where they help at-risk youth understand their legal rights and obligations as well as the basic rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society.


MJF’s Street Law model was inspired by Georgetown University’s Street Law Program developed during the 1970s. In January of 1998 several people, including Sharon Fischlowitz, Minnesota Justice Foundation; Keith Ellison, Legal Rights Center; Carol Batsell Benner, Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office; Jennifer Bloom, Learning Law and Democracy Foundation; Peter Knapp, William Mitchell College of Law; and Sam Magavern, Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, collaborated to develop the Minnesota Street Law Program.


Law students who participate in the Street Law program receive 2 full days of intensive training. Local attorneys provide lectures and resources concerning substantive areas of law that are relevant to youth. Topics can include Constitutional Law, Consumer Law, Criminal Law, Education, Employment, Family Law, Housing Law, and Juvenile Law.  Law students are also given instruction in how to create and deliver a lesson plan.

Historical Accomplishments

Since the beginning of the program over 1,000 law students have provided more than 30,000 hours of legal rights and responsibility education to at-risk youth.

MJF 2017 Annual Awards Celebration

MJF would like to thank everyone who attended our 35th Anniversary Celebration on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at which we honored outstanding individuals in the Minnesota legal community.

The winners of the 2017 MJF Outstanding Service Awards are:

Bridget Gernander
Minnesota Judicial Branch
Advocate Award

Kathy Eveslage
Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services
Direct Legal Service Award

Rebecca Schiller
The Academy Law Group, P.A.
Private Practice Lawyer Award

Lora Fike
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Nicole Faas
University of Minnesota Law School
Melissa Bumanglag
University of St. Thomas School of Law
Law Student Award Winners

Our keynote speaker was the Honorable David L. Lillehaug, Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, who spoke on the topic of ‘The Minnesota Pro Bono Tradition.”

Thank you to our evening’s sponsors:

Gold Sponsors
Fredrikson & Byron, PA
Robins Kaplan, LLP
Stinson Leonard Street, LLP

Silver Sponsors
Briggs and Morgan, PA
Dorsey & Whitney, LLP
Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP
Felhaber Larson
Tim and Susanne Goodman
Lindquist & Vennum, LLP
Maslon, LLP

Bronze Sponsors
Best & Flanagan, LLP
Fox Rothschild, LLP
Larkin Hoffman
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Monroe Moxness Berg, PA
Nichols Kaster, PLLP
University of Minnesota Law School
University of St. Thomas School of Law
Winthrop & Weinstine, PA

Pro Bono Supporters
Greene Espel, PLLP
Lommen Abdo
Jack Sullivan