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Pro Bono & Pro Se
We provide this listing of resources as a public service. If you publish an official or noncommercial resource of value to pro bono (free) lawyers and self represented litigants (a/k/a pro se parties) that we do not currently list, we hope you'll let us know about it so we can include it.

Sub-Categories:
  • Minnesota Pro Bono Resource Center
  • Community Resources
  • How to Do Legal Research
  • Law Librarian Reference Assistance
  • Minnesota Conciliation Court Information and Forms
  • Unauthorized Practice of Law


  • Resources in this category:
       "I'll See You in Court" (May 1, 2002) (Minnesota State Court Information Office)
    Introduction to the Minnesota state court system. Topics include: Myths and facts about the court system. Finding your way around the court system. How cases travel through America's judicial system. How the Minnesota court system is structured. Trial (district) court. Map of the ten judicial districts of the Minnesota state court system. Types of cases the courts handle. The people in the courtroom. The trial process. The Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court.

    14 pages.

       A Guide to Participating in Contested Case Proceedings at the Office of Administrative Hearings (Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings)
    "This pamphlet explains how the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) conducts its administrative contested case proceedings. It is a general guide to many of the legal requirements that apply to those hearings. But there are many other requirements of the law that apply to individual cases. Employees of OAH may not provide legal advice to agencies, organizations, or people involved in its hearings. This guide should not be considered a substitute for having a lawyer. The decision about whether you want a lawyer to represent you in an administrative contested case proceeding is extremely important and must always be made carefully."

    Prepared by the Office of Administrative Hearings in cooperation with the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General.

       Bankruptcy Advice Clinic established in Minneapolis and St. Paul (U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota)
       Call for Justice, LLC
    "Mission: To improve access to justice by connecting low-income people to existing legal resources, in partnership with United Way 2-1-1 and others."
       Filing a Motion & Preparing for a Hearing in Family Court by Delaney, Martha (November 1, 2001) (Battered Women's Legal Advocacy Project)
    34 pages.
       Frequently Asked Questions to "Ask a Law Librarian" (Minnesota State Law Library)
    Questions and answers organized into these broader topics: working with the courts, finding the law, family matters, and criminal law.
       Hennepin County District Court Family Court Self-Help Center: Help with Family Law Cases (Minnesota Fourth Judicial District)
    Family Justice Center, 110 South Fourth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401.
       Hennepin County Self-Help Service Center
    The Self-Help Service Center connects people with legal resources. Staff can address general questions about Hennepin County District Court cases; refer litigants to on-site programs for family law assistance and brief attorney consultations; provide forms; provide information about full, reduced and no fee attorney services; and direct people to written materials intended to explain the law to non-lawyers.
       How to File a Motion (video) (Minnesota Fourth Judicial District Court, Family Court Self-Help Center)
       How to file for a Harassment Restraining Order (Dakota County District Court)
       How to Start a Divorce (video) (Minnesota Fourth Judicial District Court, Family Court Self-Help Center)
       Information for Pro Se Parties: Presenting Commissioner of Revenue Appeals to the Minnesota Tax Court (Minnesota Tax Court)
    "For taxpayers who choose to proceed without an attorney we are providing information for property tax appeals and appeals to an Order of the Commissioner of Revenue."

    "You have appealed or are considering whether to appeal the Commissioners Order denying a refund or assessing additional tax, penalty and/or interest. This appeal gives you an opportunity to tell a Minnesota Tax Court Judge why you believe the Commissioner incorrectly denied your refund or made this additional assessment."

       Information for Pro Se Parties: Presenting Property Tax Appeals to the Minnesota Tax Court (Minnesota Tax Court)
    "For taxpayers who choose to proceed without an attorney we are providing information for property tax appeals and appeals to an Order of the Commissioner of Revenue."

    "You have appealed your Minnesota property tax assessment. You now have an opportunity to tell a Minnesota Tax Court judge why you believe the county assessor erred in determining the value or classification of your property."

       Minnesota Court of Appeals Practice / Pro Se Appeals (Battered Women's Legal Advocacy Project)
       Minnesota Farm Advocates (Minnesota Department of Agriculture)
    "Farm Advocates provide one-on-one assistance for Minnesota farmers who face crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems. Farm advocates ... They are trained and experienced in agricultural lending practices, mediation, lender negotiation, farm programs, crisis counseling, disaster programs and to recognize the need for legal and/or social services. ... There is no charge or fee for Farm Advocate assistance."
       Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, Title I. Rules Applicable to All Court Proceedings (Minnesota Supreme Court)
    Through January 1, 2010.
       Minnesota Legal Articles about "Pro Se" Representation
    Articles drawn from the Minnesota Legal Periodical Index
       Minnesota Statutes Chapter 481: Attorneys, Practice of Law; Unauthorized Practice of Law; Solicitation (Minnesota Revisor of Statutes)
    Minn. Stat. Section 481.02 pertains to the unauthorized practice of law. Most other sections of the chapter pertain to licensed attorneys.
       Petitioner's Instructions for Expungement (Sealing) of Criminal Records (Ramsey County District Court)
       Pro Se Guidelines: Contested Case Hearing Preparation (Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings)
       Report of the Minnesota Conference of Chief Judges Committee on the Treatment of Litigants and Pro Se Litigation (April 1, 1996) (Unbundledlaw.org)
    By: Judge Gary Meyer, Mary Berg, Michael Calvert, Brian Dorn, Patricia O'Gorman, Judges Dennis Seitz, Beverly Anderson, Bernard Boland, Gerald Ring, Donald Venne, Tama Hall, Michael Dittberner.
       Stearns County District Court Eviction Process (Stearns County District Court Administrator)
       Stearns County District Court Family Law (Stearns County District Court Administrator)
       Stearns County District Court Harassment Restraining Orders (Stearns County District Court Administrator)
       Stearns County District Court St. Cloud Service Center (Stearns County District Court Administrator)
    Court self-help center.
       Stearns County District Court: Domestic Abuse: Filing an Order for Protection (Stearns County District Court Administrator)
       Tel-Law (Hennepin County Bar Association)
    If you are a Minnesota resident looking for an introduction to a legal topic, the Hennepin County Bar Association provides free pre-recorded telephone messages on nearly a hundred personal, consumer and family legal issues. The number to call is 612-752-6699.
       U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota Representing Yourself (Pro Se) Information and Forms (U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota)
    Includes:
    • Questions and Answers
    • Pro Se Civil Guidebook and Information Sheets
    • Forms
    • E-Pro Se (Case Initiation Assistance - described as "a user-friendly, interactive web application available in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Clerk's Office locations that allows an unrepresented party to prepare the documents that are required to start a civil lawsuit electronically")
    • Glossary
    • Federal Rules
    • Local Rules
    • Legal Resources
    • Contact Information
       Unemployment Appeal Brief Advice Clinic for Self-Represented Persons (Minnesota State Law Library)
    From the brochure:
    "This brief advice clinic is for people who have been denied unemployment benefits and have exhausted their appeal options with the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). This means you have already had a hearing with the Unemployment Law Judge and have also requested a reconsideration and it has been denied.

    Before you file an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, you can attend the clinic and get advice about how to proceed."

    A joint initiative of the Minnesota State Law Library and the Minnesota State Bar Association's Labor and Employment Section.

       William Mitchell Self-Help Clinic (William Mitchell College of Law)
    Provided by "William Mitchell College of Law students, alumni, and reference librarians who volunteer to help people represent themselves in court."

    The Clinic says it provides legal assistance with: Criminal Expungment, Child Support Modification, Dissolution/Divorce, Establishing Custody, and Establishing/Modifying Parenting Time.

       Wills for Heroes: Free Wills, Health Care Directives and Financial Powers of Attorney for Minnesota First Responders (Minnesota State Bar Association)
    Some restrictions apply both in eligibility for the program and the nature of the documents that will be produced.

    The program uses volunteer attorney members of the MSBA Probate and Trust Section. It is limited to first responders and spouses who together have a collective net worth of $500,000 or less. "The Wills do not cover many issues for persona with large or complicated estates, beneficiaries with special needs, and beneficiaries that cannot handle finances. The program also is not appropriate for persons who want to set up or require more than a basic trust for minor children." See the questionnaire / worksheet posted on the MSBA website for more specific areas and issues this program does not address.

    Note: The questionnaire is a valuable document for anyone considering estate planning.

       Bibliography of Self-Help Legal Materials (University of Minnesota Law Library)
    This is a quick list of some of the best self-help legal materials available in the University of Minnesota Law Library and on the Web.
       Directory of Court-Based Self Help Programs (National Center for State Courts)
       Free Immigration Removal Proceedings Legal Service Providers and Referrals (U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review)
    A nationwide, state-by-state list.

    The introduction to each page states: "The following organizations and attorneys provide free legal services and/or referrals for such services to indigent individuals in immigration removal proceedings, pursuant to 8 CFR § 1003.61. Some of these organizations may also charge a nominal fee for legal services to certain low income individuals."

    In Minnesota, see this page. In Nebraska, see this page.

    When we visited in February 2010, there was no similar Wisconsin page, no resources for Iowa, and no page for North or South Dakota.

       General Information about Patents (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
    Topics include: Functions of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Purpose of this Booklet, What Are Patents, Trademarks, Servicemarks, and Copyrights?, What Is a Patent?, What Is a Trademark or Servicemark?, What Is a Copyright?, Patent Laws, What Can Be Patented, Novelty and Non-Obviousness, Conditions for Obtaining a Patent, The United States Patent and Trademark Office, General Information and Correspondence, Library, Search Room Searches and Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries, The Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program, Attorneys and Agents, Listings and Search Information on Patent Attorneys and Agents Registered to Practice before the PTO, Disclosure Document Program, Provisional Application for Patent, Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs), Contacts, Who May Apply for a Patent, Application for Patent, Non-Provisional Application for a Patent, Provisional Application for a Patent, Publication of Patent Applications, Oath or Declaration, Signature, Filing Fees, Specification (Description and Claims), Drawing, § 1.84 Standards for drawings, Models, Exhibits And Specimens, Examination of Applications and Proceedings in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Restrictions, Office Action, Applicant's Reply, Final Rejection, Amendments to Application, Time for Reply and Abandonment, Appeal to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences and to the Courts, Interferences, Allowance and Issue of Patent, Patent Term Extension and Adjustment, Nature of Patent and Patent Rights, Maintenance Fees, Correction of Patents, Assignments and Licenses, Recording of Assignments, Joint Ownership, Infringement of Patents, Patent Marking and Patent Pending, Design Patents, Plant Patents, Treaties and Foreign Patents, Foreign Applicants for United States Patents, Fees and payment (Current PTO Fees), and Frequently-Asked Questions about Patents
       Inventor Resources (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
    "Basics for new inventors."
       Inventors Assistance Center (U.S. Patent Office Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy)
    "The Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) ... provides patent information and services to the public. The IAC is staffed by former Supervisory Patent Examiners and experienced Primary Examiners who answer general questions concerning patent examining policy and procedure."
       Pro Se Law Center
    "This website is designed as a resource center on self-representation in civil legal matters. Our purpose is to provide a collection of materials and resources that can be used to create legal service delivery systems that are based on the concept of "pro se" or "self" representation within federally funded legal services programs, courts, pro bono programs, and other community-based programs." Contains a listing of white papers and research, articles, books, cases and opinions, court rules, ethics opinions, and other reports about pro se parties. Also contains a national directory of court pro se sites.

    The site reports that it is supported by a grant from the National Center for Automated Information Research, and that it is co-sponsored by ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, Civil Justice Network, Inc., Clinical Program of the University of Maryland School of Law, Maryland Legal Assistance Network, and Maryland Legal Services Corporation

       Pro Se Links (American Judicature Society)
    Links to tstate court self-help sites, local self-help sites, law school self-help sites, and related organizations around the country.
       Self-Help Practitioners Support
    "Our mission is to support practioners in the courts, community, and legal profession through the dissemination of relevant information on self-help and legal aid programs."
       Self-Represented Litigants Resource Guide (National Center for State Courts)
    Includes both online and print resources.
       Street Law, 6th edition (Glencoe McGraw-Hill)
    Street law is "practical law". General and practical principles and resources abound.
       Understanding the Federal Courts

    See also:
  • Minnesota Legal Aid & Pro Bono Lawyers
  • Minnesota State Court Forms
  • Minnesota State Trial Courts
  • Agricultural Law
  • Child and Juvenile Law
  • Civil Rights Law
  • Consumer Complaint Forms & Documents
  • Consumer Law
  • Court and Litigation Forms & Documents
  • Creditor, Debtor and Bankruptcy Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law Forms & Documents
  • Education and School Law
  • Elder Law
  • Employment and Labor Law
  • Family Law
  • Forms & Documents
  • Government Benefits Law
  • Immigration and Citizenship Law
  • Indian Law
  • Law and Other Libraries
  • Litigation & ADR
  • Poverty Law
  • Similar resources in our Wisconsin Legal Reference Library
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