Winter 2019 Newsletter

MJF Welcomes New Executive Director Anna Beadle

In November, MJF welcomed Anna Beadle as Executive Director.

Anna has worked at MJF since 2014 in various roles. Prior to joining MJF, she worked at Children’s Law Center of Minnesota. Anna attended Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota Law School. During law school, Anna was a student director in the Child Advocacy Clinic.

Jack Sullivan, MJF’s board president, said, “We are very pleased that Anna accepted this position at a time when equitable access to legal services is more important than ever. MJF has been committed to increasing access to representation and strengthening the pro bono service ethos since its founding. Anna represents the epitome of those values and is a leader who is committed to acting on them. We are excited for MJF to move forward under her leadership.”

As we approach the new year, MJF remains committed to our mission of increasing access to justice and instilling an ethic of pro bono service in the law student community. We are very grateful to the law firms, law schools, individuals, and foundations that support our work.

Honoring Retiring MJF Executive Director Janine Laird

At the MJF Annual Award Celebration in November, we honored MJF Executive Director Janine Laird, who retired this year.

Janine was MJF’s longest-serving Executive Director, joining the organizations in 2004. Under her leadership, MJF has helped to build the capacity of our many partner organizations by providing law student volunteers who have logged hundreds of thousands of hours to help low-income clients.

A lifelong resident of Minnesota, Janine Laird received her undergraduate degree in humanities from the University of Minnesota and went on to graduate from William Mitchell College of Law in 1979. After passing the bar, Janine opened a solo practice that focused on serving modest means clients. Janine then began her career in public policy and nonprofit management. In 1991, she returned to the professional community as a lobbyist and eventually became the executive director of the Minnesota Food Shelf Association (MFSA). For 14 years, she worked statewide in collaboration with other nonprofits to highlight and improve the food and nutrition resources of low-income families, before joining MJF as Executive Director in 2004.

The following quote from Betsy Hodges, former Minneapolis mayor, nicely summarizes Janine’s career legacy:

“I met Janine Laird for the first time when she became my boss at MJF—I was the Development Director when she started, and I immediately sensed her complete devotion to people, people’s lives, and the positive role MJF and access to legal services could make in the lives of people in need. Ms. Laird has a passion for justice, and it takes the shape of removing as many barriers to it as possible for everyone. Her entire career has been a study in creating access and opportunity for people: Her work with food shelves had her helping people get access to a basic necessity of life; the lobbying she did there gave her tools to make change and create more access. In her time at MJF she has helped thousands of students help thousands of clients, and when the need became greater than the supply she thought flexibly and opened up worlds of opportunities for undergraduates. She’s an avid member of boards and committees of legal service organizations, and wherever she finds herself she keeps a focus on how the resources at her disposal–MJF and the students and volunteers it works with–can help expand access and service. Janine Laird has dedicated her career to serving people, to public interest work, and to the clients of legal aid programs. She is a hero to me, and her work is worthy of this recognition.”

Retiring MJF Board Members

MJF would like to thank retiring board member Christine Kain, who served on our board from 2014-2019, and Archana Nath, board member from 2009-2019 and Board President from 2017-2018. Thank you, Christine and Archana, for your many years of service!