MLSA Awarded Pro Bono Innovation Grant / Director Alison Paul Speaking on Innovation at LSC 40th Anniversary

Pictured: Alison Paul Receiving Grant Award at LSC 40th Anniversary

MLSA is honored to be among the inaugural recipients of a new national pro bono initiative by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to address the civil legal needs of low-income people.

The $141,087 two-year grant will fund the Montana Pro Bono Connect project to support and enhance the current work of Montana pro bono professionals by expanding capacity to provide legal advice and brief services as well as to create new pro bono opportunities. The project will develop and implement innovative strategies and technological tools that will help pro bono attorneys provide services to clients throughout the state, including remote services.  

MLSA is a nationally recognized innovator among civil legal aid providers, particularly in the development of technological tools to increase access to justice. MLSA Executive Director Alison Paul is currently in Washington, D.C, for a ceremonial award of the grant, as well as to serve as a panelist at LSC’s 40th Anniversary on the topic of innovation to increase access to justice.

Established in 1974, LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation, promoting equal access to justice and providing grants for high-quality civil legal aid.

LSC's 40th Anniversary celebration has been marked by several days of panels. Anniversary speakers include US Vice President Joe Biden, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, US Associate Attorney General Tony West, as well as many others.


     MLSA Board President Andy Patten on Break During 40th                 US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan

 

 

 

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Posted in Access to Justice

MLSA Justice For Montanans Members Serve and Celebrate for AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary

"Montana is a better place to live, to work, to raise a family because of the investment of time, energy and enthusiasm of AmeriCorps members." — Governor Steve Bullock

MLSA Justice for Montanans members join Governor Bullock in a service project during the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary. L-R: Gareth Ford, Andrew Martinez, Meghan Flannery, Gov. Steve Bullock, Eric Parsons, Nolan Harris.

In honor of the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary, MLSA Justice for Montanans members joined fellow AmeriCorps members in completing a service project as well as celebrating the special occasion at the State Capitol.

Members were honored to be joined by Governor Bullock in completing a bridge-building project as well as at anniversary festivities.

MLSA Justice For Montanans members joined AmeriCorps members across the nation in celebrating AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary.

AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. MLSA Justice for Montanans members help to provide access to justice for Montanans at MLSA offices, Self Help Law Centers, the State Bar of Montana, and the Office of Consumer Protection and Victim Services.


Watch MLSA Justice for Montanans member Meghan Flannery talk about her service in AmeriCorps (KXLH)

Read about MLSA Justice for Montanans member Larken Yackulic's experience with AmeriCorps (Helena Independent Record)

 

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Posted in Access to Justice, Justice for Montanans

MLSA Cheers for Charity Fundraiser – Missoula – Sept 9

Draughtworks MissoulaCome join the fun at the MLSA Cheers for Charity Fundraiser in Missoula on Sept 9 at Draught Works and support MLSA!

Draughtworks will donate $0.50 from each pint sold between 5-8pm to support MLSA projects.

This is our second year at Draught Works' "Cheers for Charity" and after much success last fall we are hoping for another great night! Come on out, say hi, and have a pint!

Check out our Facebook event here.

Draughtworks is located at 915 Toole Ave, Missoula, Montana 59802. Phone (406) 541-1592.

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Posted in Announcements

MLSA Trains Law Enforcement at Rocky Boy’s Reservation

MLSA training law enforcement

MLSA staff attorney Jennifer Hill-Hart recently trained law enforcement at Rocky Boy's Reservation on domestic violence issues.

Alongside trainers from the FBI, Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and others, Ms. Hill-Hart provided information and resources on identifying domestic violence and determining predominate aggressors in domestic violence situations.

MLSA legal experts are available for training on many legal subjects. If your agency or organization is interested in training, please contact MLSA with your request.

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Posted in American Indian Issues, Domestic/Sexual/Dating Violence and Stalking

Build Your Own Legal Case

Missoula Independent Cover

 

 

The Missoula Independent explores the challenges of pro se litigants in Montana.

Posted in Access to Justice, Self-Help, The Legal System

MLSA HelpLine Hours Changed

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Due to a staff shortage, the MLSA HelpLine hours have changed temporarily.

The new hours are:

Monday – Friday 9am-noon and 1pm-4pm

 

If you try to call the HelpLine and can't get through, please remember you can apply using our online application or mail/fax in a paper applicationEspanol.

We expect the temporary HelpLine hours to remain in effect until approximately September 12. At that time we hope to resume regular HelpLine hours (7:30am-6:00pm).

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience.

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Posted in Announcements

Have Fun and Support MLSA at PintAid! (August 4)

PintAid

Come have a pint of beer and support MLSA on Monday Aug 4 at PintAid at The Garage (Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company) in Billings.

For every pint purchased, the Garage will donate $1.00 to MLSA!

The fun begins at 6pm and runs through 8pm. We're going to have a rocking band and some lively legal trivia. All that and good beer with $1 per pint donated to civil legal aid—It doesn't get any better than that!

 

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Posted in Access to Justice, Support

MLSA Congratulates Crime Victim Advocates of the Year

Kelly Erickson-HAVEN (Bozeman), Angie Fox-Yellowstone County Attorney's Office (Billings), and Janel Pliley, Adult Protective Services (Powell County), were recently recognized for their exemplary service in 2014 by Montana's Attorney General Tim Fox.

Jan Berry, MLSA Supervising Attorney-Domestic Violence Practice Group, wrote a letter of recommendation for Ms. Erickson and presented at a ceremony in Bozeman.

MLSA attorneys and legal staff work closely with victim advocates across the state on individual cases, policies and procedures, and education for both the public and professionals working with crime victims. MLSA congratulates the crime victim advocates of 2014.

Learn more about MLSA's Domestic Violence Practice Group here.

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Posted in Domestic/Sexual/Dating Violence and Stalking

MLSA Wins Commuter Challenge

MLSA's Missoula office has won Missoula's "Commuter Challenge" in the small non-profit category for the second year in a row.

Missoula in Motion

The challenge, a week-long event encouraging people to adapt sustainable forms of commuting to work, is sponsored by Missoula in Motion.

 

Way to go Missoula MLSA!

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Posted in Announcements, Uncategorized

Montana Supreme Court Case Helps Homeowners

MT Supreme Court Decision, Morrow vs. Bank of America, N.A.

The Montana Supreme Court recently entered a decision in Morrow v. Bank of America, N.A., that may help Montanans who have experienced abuse or misconduct at the hands of their mortgage loan servicers and/or are in the foreclosure process.   

The homeowners in the case, the Morrows, made several claims in District Court against Bank of America about the servicing of their mortgage.  Several claims related to discussions between bank employees and the Morrows, such as instructions to the Morrows to skip a payment intentionally and to ignore notices of acceleration. The Morrows also asserted that bank employees repeatedly told them over the phone that they were approved for a modification, but they received letters denying their applications for modification and ultimately received notice of a scheduled trustee’s sale of their property. 

The District Court granted summary judgment to the bank on all of the Morrows’ claims, in essence ending their suit without any relief for them.


The Morrows appealed to the Montana Supreme Court, asking that the summary judgment on their claims be reversed.  MLSA filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief with the Montana Supreme Court, supporting the Morrows’ appeal. During oral argument, the justices asked the attorneys for the Morrows and the bank questions about MLSA’s brief, including questions about the nature of a mortgage servicer’s duty to a borrower.


On May 7, the Montana Supreme Court reversed the District Court's order with respect to several of the homeowners’ claims, including actual fraud, constructive fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, and violation of the Montana Consumer Protection Act.  This means the Morrows can now take those claims to trial. The decision allows the Morrows a chance to have a jury decide their claims and opens the door to other homeowners with similar claims to try their cases. It also clarifies several aspects of Montana law about the standards mortgage servicers must meet, and will help to promote servicers’ compliance with those standards in the future.

More Information:

Last Best News article

Billings Gazette article

The full version of the Montana Supreme Court’s decision is available here.  A synopsis of the decision is available here.

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Posted in Consumer

MLSA Holds Legal Clinic for Remote Clients Using Computer Tablets

MLSA recently held a clinic using computer tablets that allowed an MLSA attorney located in Missoula to give “face-to-face” legal advice to clients in another community.


MLSA staff attorney Diana Garrett and each clinic participant used specially formatted tablets to discuss the participant’s case. Ms. Garrett and the participants were able to view and speak to one another using the tablets, as well as to review documents.


The participants, domestic violence survivors with family law issues, reported that using the tablets was a positive experience and more helpful than simply using the telephone because of the ability to see the attorney with whom they were speaking. Ms. Garrett also found using the tablets more helpful in providing advice to clients than speaking over the telephone and a valuable experience.

A Legal Services Corporation Technology Initiative Grant funded MLSA’s purchase of the tablets. MLSA will continue to use the tablets to provide more services to remote clients throughout Montana in clinics as well as through other means.

Posted in Uncategorized

MLSA to Provide Services at Veteran Stand Downs Across Montana

US FlagMLSA is pleased to attend Veteran Stand Downs across Montana this spring through fall.

MLSA AmeriCorps "Justice for Montanans" members, MLSA staff, and Justice for Montanans members from the Montana Court Help Program and the Montana Office of Consumer Protection will provide general legal information, self-help resources, and legal referrals to Stand Down attendees.

Veteran Stand Downs provide homeless veterans with life resources such as food, clothing, healthcare, legal help, job counseling, etc. More than that, Stand Downs also help to provide struggling veterans with a sense of community and acceptance.

Vietnam veterans Robert Van Keuren and Dr. Jon Nachinson held the first Veteran Stand Down in 1988 in the city of San Diego. Since then, Stand Downs have grown in popularity, and events are now held in hundreds of locations across the nation every year.


See Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information on these and more Stand Downs we plan to attend.

May 10 – Anaconda: Anaconda Armory / 101 Polk Ave / Saturday 9am-4pm (MLSA will not attend Sunday.)

May 31 – Kalispell

June 7 – Bozeman         

June 28 – Missoula: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Missoula Armed Forces Reserve Center (New Armory) 9883 Running W Road, Missoula (Across from Yogi Bears Jellystone Park on Hwy 93 North)

June 28- Trout Creek: 8am to approx. 1pm

Trout Creek Park (9 Park Street)

August 1 and 2 – Hamilton: MLSA will attend both days from 9am – around 3pm, National Guard Armory

September 12 – Dillon: MLSA will be in attendance from 9am to 3pm, Armory Readiness Center (1070 Highway 41 N. Dillon)

October 4 – Libby


Montana Legal Services Association 

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Posted in Access to Justice, Veterans and Military

Celebrate Law Day: Why Every Vote Matters

 

 

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

 

Abraham Lincoln’s words are those that most of us recognize in some form or fashion. The phrase describes our nation’s democratic ideal, that government should have only the powers that citizens give it.

Voting is the way that we, ordinary people, give the government its powers. Take away our right to vote and you take away our democracy. Over the years however, there have been many struggles and challenges in providing all Americans the means to vote. Even today, not everyone can easily and freely exercise his or her right to vote.

This Law Day we encourage you to learn more about the importance of voting rights, and to reflect on how honoring every American’s right to vote is the only way to preserve our democracy for which so many have fought and given their lives.

Learn More

American Bar Association President Silkenat on why every vote matters:

Voting Rights – Wikipedia

Voting Rights – US Department of Justice

 

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Posted in Access to Justice

April is Fair Housing Month!

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability in the sale or rental of housing.

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If you are a Montanan who has experienced housing discrimination, there is help. You can:

  • Contact Montana Fair Housing at: (406) 782-2573 / 1-800-929-2611   Montana Relay: 711- (406 782-2573 / 800-929-2611
  • View Montana Fair Housing's website by clicking here.
  • Read more about the Fair Housing Act, Fair Housing Month, or learn about filing a housing discrimination complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),  by clicking here.
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Posted in Access to Justice, Housing

New MLSA Pro Bono Program Coordinator

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Angie Wagenhals is MLSA’s Pro Bono Coordinator


MLSA is pleased to announce that Angie Wagenhals is MLSA’s full-time pro bono coordinator.

Angie has worked with MLSA since 2011 as a program assistant with pro bono coordination duties, but now will dedicate all her time to support pro bono and help expand pro bono statewide.

Among Angie's many duties are expanding legal clinics for pro se litigants with pro bono attorney instruction, as well as coordinating quarterly continuing legal education credit trainings for pro bono attorneys.

Angie can be contacted at 406/543-8343 extension 207 or awagenha@mtlsa.org.

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Posted in Access to Justice, The Legal System, Uncategorized

MLSA’s Alison Paul Awarded National Medical-Legal Fellowship

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) Executive Director Alison Paul has been selected for a national medical-legal fellowship in the “Where Health Meets Justice” program. This fellowship was awarded to 24 leaders providing legal aid to the poor and is designed to improve the intersection of health and the law in each of their communities.

The program, a collaboration of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), with funding by the Public Welfare Foundation, will build healthcare expertise in the legal aid community so that organizations such as MLSA can better meet the legal needs of clients that affect their health.

“Legal needs related to housing, domestic violence and public benefits are inextricably linked to the health and well-being of low-income communities,” said Camille Holmes, Director for Leadership and Racial Equality at NLADA. “For decades, civil legal aid offices have worked to improve housing conditions, protect utility access and appeal benefit denials. But what has been missing is a concerted effort to align these services with the delivery of healthcare for the same populations. This fellowship aims to remedy that.”

MLSA is a non-profit law firm that empowers low-income people by providing legal information, advice, and other services free of charge, thereby protecting and enhancing the civil legal rights of, and promoting systemic change for, Montanans living in poverty.
While MLSA has a long-standing partnership with Riverstone Health in Billings to assist with the legal needs of its patients, participation in the fellowship program will allow MLSA to learn new funding strategies and opportunities within the healthcare sector, as well as to strengthen the organization’s tools and processes for providing exemplary services across the state.

Paul joins twenty-three other senior level staff from legal aid agencies in 21 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as inaugural fellows. During the year-long program, a faculty of national experts in healthcare administration, policy, research and economics will guide the fellows.

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Posted in Access to Justice, The Legal System

MLSA Attorneys Honored as Champions of Justice

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MLSA is pleased to announce that MLSA attorneys Bob LaRoche and Amy Hall have been honored with the Montana Justice Foundation's (MJF) Champions of Justice awards.

Also honored are several individuals nominated by MLSA for their work with MLSA’s pro bono efforts, including Deborah Anspach, Gary Connelly, Jane Cowley, Jessica Fehr, Shannon Hathaway, Diane Kaatz, Marijo MacDonald, and Sheila Verlanic.

Part of MJF's 35th Anniversary, the awards honor 35 Montanans who have made significant contributions to the law over the last three-and-a-half decades.

The charitable arm of the Montana legal community, MJF's mission is to achieve equal access to justice for all Montanans through effective funding and leadership.

MLSA congratulates Mr. LaRoche and Ms. Hall, as well as all other honorees.

For more information about the awards and recipients, visit the MJF website.

 

 

 

Posted in Access to Justice, Uncategorized

MLSA Attorneys Admitted to Fort Belknap Bar

MLSA attorneys Jen Hill-Hart and Joe Hardgrave were recently admitted to the Fort Belknap Tribal Bar. Ms. Hill-Hart is also a member of the bar of the Chippewa-Cree at Rocky Boy and Mr. Hardgrave is a member of the bars of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne. Both are also admitted to the State Bar of Montana.

The Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is homeland to the Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) and the Assiniboine (Nakoda) Tribes and has a tribal membership of 7,000 enrolled members.

Find out more at these links:

MLSA Indian Law Practice Group

Fort Belknap Tribal Nation

 

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Posted in Access to Justice, American Indian Issues, Announcements, The Legal System, Uncategorized

MLSA Shares Expertise on Providing Access to Justice through Technology

Alison Paul, MLSA Executive Director, recently participated in a panel discussion in Austin, Texas, on how technological innovations can facilitate access to justice.

MLSA, known nationwide as a leader in legal aid technological innovation, participated in the panel to share information and practices towards the goal of increasing access to justice in Montana and the rest of the nation.

The panel, moderated by Legal Services Corporation (LSC) President James J. Sandman, included executive directors and lawyers from LSC-funded organizations and others in the legal aid community. Organizations that were represented included Texas Legal Services Center, Lone Star Legal Aid, Arkansas Legal Services Partnership, LSC, and Legal Aid Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.

The event was held in conjunction with a judges’ panel on the importance of access to justice to the judiciary.

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Posted in Access to Justice, Technology, Uncategorized

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic At Tax Help Day

MLSA's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) recently attended the Tax Help Day event in Helena, along with other tax-related service providers.

At the event, LITC presented information about LITC and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to both individuals and service providers, as well as made brochures, flyers, and palm cards available to participants.

LITC will be presenting on LITC and the EITC in Billings and Great Falls — look for news about those events in upcoming weeks.

LITC helps low-income taxpayers with federal tax issues with the IRS year-round, including:

  • Negotiations or Settlements of Tax Debt

  • Innocent Spouse Relief Requests

  • Injured Spouse Claims

  • Earned Income Tax Credit Appeals

  • Audits or Examinations

  • Deficiency Notices

  • Tax Court

  • Liens and Levies

  • Referrals to Tax Assistance Organizations

(LITC does NOT help prepare tax returns).

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Want to know more? Read about LITC here.

 

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Posted in Access to Justice, Taxes, Uncategorized

Legal Services for Homeless Montanans

MLSA attorneys and AmeriCorps members recently attended the Billings Community Connect and Missoula Homeless Connect events, providing legal information to approximately 300 people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.

MLSA addressed attendees’ legal needs by providing legal topic brochures, applications, and business cards featuring information for both the MLSA HelpLine and MontanaLawHelp.org. Further, MLSA offered private consultations for attendees who needed help filling out applications and/or specific legal information for their problems.

MLSA attended the events in support of fighting poverty by providing legal services to Montanans who cannot afford attorneys. If you represent an organization that would like to inquire about MLSA’s outreach and education, please contact us here.

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Find Out More

Billings Community Connect Serves Hundreds | Billings Gazette

Missoula's Project Homeless Connect Links Services with People in Need | Missoulian

 

 

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Posted in Access to Justice, Self-Help, Uncategorized

MLSA and the War on Poverty

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President Lyndon B. Johnson during Poverty Tour -LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton


Fifty years ago in January, President Lyndon B. Johnson called for an “unconditional war on poverty.”  A year later MLSA began providing legal services to low-income Montanans and joined that fight.

How does MLSA fight poverty, you may wonder? The answer is that MLSA services result in positive economic benefits not only for clients but also for all Montanans.

According to recent studies*, the positive economic benefits of civil legal aid include:

  • Substantial economic benefits to the public through prevention of expensive events such as domestic violence, eviction, health emergencies, and access to/maintenance of public benefits that prevent financial emergencies,
  • Income for low-income people to pay for daily necessities such as food, housing, utilities and transportation, which reduces the welfare burden on state and local governments,
  • Dollars saved for debt-strapped families that in many cases prevent worse problems like eviction, foreclosure and homelessness that would impose much greater economic costs on society,
  • A permanent economic stimulus resulting from federal dollars achieved through legal aid advocates’ successful representation in matters such as SSD, SSI, Earned-Income Tax Credits (EITC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance; the dollars circulate through local economies, providing income for businesses and jobs for working people,
  • Increased tax revenues for state and local jurisdictions in the form of taxes paid by the occupants of the jobs supported by the economic stimulus,
  • Cost savings for taxpayers from legal aid’s success in addressing community-wide problems such as homelessness and domestic violence,
  • Efficiencies in the courts made possible by legal aid’s representation of clients and assistance to self-represented litigants, and
  • Economic benefits for health care providers, including Medicaid reimbursements for providing emergency care to uninsured low-income people that the providers would otherwise have to write off.

Today MLSA is as committed to “Fighting Poverty, Achieving Justice, Improving Lives” as much as ever, for the benefit of clients and all Montanans. Please join us! Get involved and/or donate.

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*Economic Benefits of Civil Legal Aid, prepared by Laura K. Abel, National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School

*Economic Impacts of Legal Aid: Civil Justice for Low-Income People Creates Ripple Effects (MIE Journal Fall 2011).

Posted in Access to Justice, Uncategorized

Support MLSA with AmazonSmile

Montana Legal Services Association

Just in time for the holiday season, Montana Legal Services Association is part of the AmazonSmile program. For each eligible purchase you make on Amazon.com, 0.5% of the sale is donated to MLSA through AmazonSmile. It’s as simple as that!

AmazonSmile supports over one million 501(c)(3) organizations, and tens of millions of Amazon products are eligible for the program. All eligible products are clearly marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product page.

Shopping through AmazonSmile is no different than regular shopping on Amazon.com. So this year, when you’re making online purchases, why not make a donation to MLSA at the same time? Follow the link below to get started.

AmazonSmile (MLSA)

Posted in Uncategorized

Tribal Nations and MLSA

During Montana's American Indian Heritage Day (Fourth Friday in September) and National Native American Heritage Month (November), we take the opportunity to look back on MLSA's collaborations with Montana's Tribal Nations. For over 30 years, MLSA has been honored to collaborate with Montana Tribal Nations to provide effective services to Tribal members both in and out of court. With MLSA, Tribal members protect their rights against illegal and unfair actions by creditors,  get repairs made so that housing is safe and healthy, build safety nets for families affected by domestic violence, and much more.

Learn More:

MLSA's Indian Law Work

 
 

Learn More about Montana's Tribal Members:

 
 
 
 
 
Posted in Access to Justice, American Indian Issues

Veterans Day

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MLSA gives honor and thanks to veterans and military members today and every day. We appreciate the sacrifices made by all on this special day and commit to providing the best legal services we can in aid of the selfless women and men who defend and support our great nation.

 

 

If you are a veteran or current military member with legal needs, there is online legal information for you at:

You can also apply for MLSA services by calling the HelpLine or submitting an application.

Thank you for your service!

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Posted in Access to Justice, Veterans and Military

Montana Businesses Donate Prizes for Pro Bono Attorneys

Montana pro bono attorneys won prizes donated by several businesses from across the state in raffle drawings this week during the National Pro Bono Celebration.

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) organized the drawings in honor of the attorneys who provide free legal services through MLSA and regional pro bono programs.

Pro bono attorneys won symphony tickets; movie passes; gift certificates to restaurants, a candy shop, brewpubs and bar; and an overnight stay at a bed and breakfast.

MLSA thanks and commends the following businesses for recognizing the efforts of the pro bono attorneys who help obtain justice for all Montanans regardless of their incomes:

Big Sky Brewing Co.

Blackfoot River Brewing Co.

Blacktail Station

Cottonwood Cinema

Higherground Brewing Co.

MacKenzie River Pizza

Sip 'n' Dip

The Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale

The Bozeman Symphony Orchestra

The Helena Symphony

The Ranch Bed and Breakfast, LLC

The Sweet Palace

Posted in Access to Justice, Uncategorized

Emily Lucas Wins Montana Law Student Pro Bono Service Award

Emily Lucas Wins Law Student Pro Bono Award

Honorable Karen Townsend-District Court Judge, Emily Lucas, Dan McLean-Crowley Fleck, PLLP


Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) and the University of Montana School of Law are proud to announce third  year law student Emily Lucas as this year’s recipient of the Montana Law Student Pro Bono Service Award. The award-including a $500 check donated by Crowley Fleck, PLLP- was given to Ms. Lucas on Friday, October 18th at the Missoula County Courthouse.

A deserving candidate, Ms Lucas has donated an estimated 200 hours to volunteer legal work outside classroom over the last three years. Her involvement in pro bono has ranged from implementing a Domestic Violence clinic, working with the Crime Victim’s Advocate Office, DOVES, the YWCA, and Rubin & Ries Law Offices. Emily’s passion when it comes to the law is to work with victims of domestic violence. She says access to legal services is important in all areas, but when domestic violence is present, civil legal representation can create an avenue for victims to leave. “The ability to leave reduces the overall prevalence of violence within a community.”

Although pro bono benefits the community, Ms. Lucas says she feels just as rewarded about the experience as those she has helped. “I think it’s important to remember that providing pro bono services is not only beneficial to those who are served, it is personally rewarding. It can provide an unparalleled opportunity for career development through direct supervision by practicing attorneys and meaningful client interactions.” 

The Montana Law Student Pro Bono Service Award is handed out annually in October to a third year law student who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to public service and pro bono legal work during their law school career.

 

Posted in Access to Justice, Uncategorized

Celebrate Pro Bono!

Celebrate Pro Bono 2011 image badge small Do you know that this week is a National Pro Bono Celebration?

At Montana Legal Services Association, we like to celebrate Pro Bono attorneys and legal professionals all year long. Pro Bono legal professionals make justice happen for many Montanans. MLSA appreciates Pro Bono professionals and we know their clients do, too. Keep watch on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter for more information about Pro Bono Celebration week.

 

Posted in Access to Justice, Uncategorized

Get Help for Relationship Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Stalking

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage you to share this information with your friends, family, and coworkers in an effort to help those who suffer abuse.

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Domestic violence, relationship abuse, stalking, sexual assault . . . All such forms of violence are more common than we like to admit. Sometimes we suspect someone we know is a victim but we don't know what to do. Often it seems easier to look the other way, change the subject, think about something else. Sometimes we try to deny the fact that we, ourselves, are victims. But these forms of violence will not go away on their own. We must identify them, call them what they are, stand up to them, help those who suffer, help ourselves. We can do that most readily–and safely–through education, understanding, and using tools and resources that have been developed for that purpose.

Fortunately there are many resources to help.

Posted in Uncategorized

MLSA Former Executive Director Klaus Sitte Wins Jameson Award

Klaus Sitte, Past MLSA Executive Director, Wins Jameson Award

 

The State Bar of Montana awarded former MLSA Executive Director Klaus Sitte with the prestigious Jameson Award during the Bar's dinner banquet September 19, 2013.

Named after the late Montana federal judge William J. Jameson, the award goes annually to the attorney who has exemplified the highest values of the legal profession throughout his or her career.

Sitte won the award for his many years of work providing civil legal help and access to justice for low-income and underserved Montanans.

Klaus Sitte wins Jameson Award

With MLSA from 1973-2012, Sitte served as a casehandling attorney and Executive Director. He is the Clinic Director and Director of Student Services at the University of Montana Law School in Missoula.

More information about Sitte can be found here.

 

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Access to Justice Partners at the Bar Meeting

MLSA, the Supreme Court of Montana Court Help Program, and the State of Montana Law Library attended the State Bar of Montana annual meeting to provide information about access to justice to Bar members and other attendees.

    

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Posted in Access to Justice

Five Veteran Stand Downs span Montana this autumn

Five Veteran Stand Downs will take place in the months of September and October across Montana in Helena, Poplar, Hamilton, Great Falls and Libby.

The concept of the Veteran Stand Down was created by two Vietnam veterans, Robert Van Keuren and Dr. Jon Nachinson. In 1988, they held the first Veteran Stand Down in the city of San Diego. Since then, Stand Downs have grown in popularity, and events are now held in close to two hundred locations across the nation every year.

The goal of a Veteran Stand Down is to provide homeless veterans with life's necessities: food, clothing, and healthcare, as well as other resources such as job counseling and legal advice. More than just these valuable services, Stand Downs provide struggling veterans with a sense of community and acceptance.

The five Veteran Stand Downs are listed below with their date, time, and location. Stand Downs with an asterisk next to them indicate that Montana Legal Services Association will be present and tabling at the event.

Helena*    MLSA will be there!
Friday, September 6, 2013
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Gateway Center, 1710 National Ave.

 

Hamilton*    MLSA will be there!
Saturday, September 14, 2013
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
National Guard Armory, 910 W Main St.

Poplar

Saturday, September 14, 2013
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Fort Peck Tribal Cultural Center

Great Falls

Thursday and Friday, September 26-27, 2013
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday, Septemeber 28, 2013
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Montana Expo Park, 400 3rd St NW

Libby*    MLSA will be there!

Saturday, October 5, 2013
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday, October 6, 2013
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Armory, 1004 Treasure Ave.

For more information on Veteran Stand Downs, visit the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Posted in Uncategorized

Jobs, Justice, Freedom: the 50th Anniversary of “I Have a Dream”

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. 

Over the weekend civil rights leaders addressed thousands in front of the Lincoln Memorial calling for justice, equal access, jobs, healthcare, education, voters' rights, and an end to immigrant discrimination.

Today at MLSA we'll be following Twitter and retweeting posts on those issues by justice and civil rights organizations and others. Join us in the conversation-follow MLSA on Twitter.

Read the text of "I Have a Dream."

Clip.

Full speech.

 


 

Posted in Uncategorized

Text with Caution: Direct Express Scam

texting scam

A recent press release by the the Social Security Administration has warned consumers of a texting scam involving “Direct Express” cards. The Direct Express card is used by the U.S. Treasury as an alternative to direct deposit for those who do not have a bank account.

The texting scam attempts to dupe people into giving their Direct Express information to a third party. Targeted consumers will receive a text message from a party claiming to be Direct Express, and are directed to call a number provided. When the individual dials the number, a recorded voice states, “You are calling the Direct Express MasterCard verification service and due to an internal error and to avoid suspension of your card, push 1 to get verified.”

The message then continues by saying the card has been suspended. The caller is then told to enter their 16-digit Direct Express card number, expiration and personal identification number (PIN).

The Social Security Administration has released the following guidelines:

  • Do not call the phone number or divulge their card information.
  • Direct Express Customer Service’s phone number is 1-888-741-1115 and the beneficiary should contact them if they have concerns about the security of their Direct Express card.
  • If a beneficiary experiences an unauthorized withdrawal/transaction on their account, they should immediately contact Direct Express Customer Service to dispute the unauthorized transaction.
  • The Social Security Administration cannot assist with breaches of use of the card nor can they replace lost funds. The matter must be resolved with Direct Express Customer Service.

 

Please pass this information on to your family and friends.

Posted in Consumer, Public Benefits

Need Low-Cost Health Insurance? You may be eligible for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage

Under the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called “Obamacare”), many low-income Montanans may be eligible to get help to pay for health insurance.  The help comes in the form of subsidies or tax credits. The amount of the subsidy or tax credit depends on your income and other facts. The subsidy and tax credits would apply to insurance from the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a new program that Montanans can use beginning October 1, 2013, to find and enroll for affordable health insurance. Coverage for eligible Montanans would start as soon as January 1, 2013. The Marketplace also tells you if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage available through Medicaid or childrens' health insurance programs.

In Montana, three companies will be selling health insurance policies on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Those companies are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, PacificSource, and the Montana Health Co-op.

You can learn about your options at www.Healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596.

Learn More

News Links

As Many as 200,000 Montanans Eligible for Health Insurance Subsidies, Helena Independent Record

ObamaCare Insurance Prices Less Expensive, Montana Standard

Broader Health Law Exemptions for Native Americans, Great Falls Tribune

You Ask, We Answer: Demystifying the Affordable Care Act, National Public Radio

Tax Break Can Help With Health Coverage, But There’s a Catch, National Public Radio

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Posted in Access to Justice, Consumer, Uncategorized

MLSA Volunteers for United Way Day of Action

miz-pic

MLSA personnel from Missoula volunteered at the 17th Annual United Way Day of Action.

The Day of Action is a community-wide day of hands-on volunteering coordinated by the United Way of Missoula County to connect volunteers from local businesses with local nonprofit organizations. The Day of Action demonstrates how volunteerism is vital to communities. community.

Day of Action

MLSA participants volunteered with the Flagship Program summer program students. Their activities includeded taking a bus with 10 students enrolled in a Flagship middle school group to an alternative high school garden to weed, mow, plant, learn and have fun.

The Flagship Program is a community-school partnership that enhances the achievement of Missoula's young people by creating opportunities during non-school hours. The program helps them succeed in school and grow to become healthy, productive adults. Three high schools, two middle schools, and three elementary schools in the area all participate in the Flagship Program. In the 2011-2012 school year, 7,023 students participated in 539 different activities.

The Montana Legal Services Association personnel who participated were Diana Garrett, Elizabeth Weaver, Angie Wagenhals, and Michelle Williamson. Thank you for your participation and community involvement!

Posted in Uncategorized

Veteran Stand Down – Bozeman – June 15, 2013

Bozeman is hosting its 3rd Annual Veteran Stand Down this Saturday, June 15, 2013.

Veterans can receive haircuts, healthcare, dental work, job counseling, and can meet with state and federal officials who will work to make sure veterans are enrolled in appropriate programs. The Montana Legal Services Association will provide information about its services, how to apply for MLSA services, and where to find other legal help.

The scope of the event includes all veterans, with a focus on homeless veterans.

The stand down runs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday at the Gallatin County fairgrounds, located at 901 N. Black Ave. in Bozeman. Veterans should bring their DD 214 discharge papers, military, or Veterans Affairs ID card.

Click here for more information about the event from Bozeman Magazine.

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Posted in Uncategorized, Veterans and Military

Beth Hayes featured in The Missoulian

beth hayes

Montana Legal Services Association attorney Beth Hayes was recently featured in The Missoulian’s “20 Under 40″. Hayes has been with MLSA for 3 1/2 years. Thank you for all your hard work in helping low-income Montanans, Beth! (Article from The Missoulian)

Posted in Access to Justice, Announcements, Uncategorized

MLSA en Español

se-habla-español

MLSA has recently constructed a new webpage dedicated to resources in Spanish. This makes connecting with Spanish speakers much easier. The webpage has a simple, obvious name: ‘En Español’. A link to the page is provided on the MLSA homepage, reading ‘Para recursos en español, haga clic aquí’ (For resources in Spanish, click here). This brings the user to the ‘En Español’ page.

The ‘En Español’ page features a short descriptive paragraph, explaining MLSA’s goals and mission. Below are links to three important Spanish resources. These are links to a grievance form, application for services, and brochures, all in Spanish.

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) is committed to delivering high quality legal information and services. We make every effort toward equal access to our services, including interpretation and translation when needed.

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Posted in Access to Justice, Announcements, Self-Help, Uncategorized

Don’t Get Scammed-Many Montana Legal Forms are FREE

Do yoForm Iconu need a legal form for a Montana case? Don't get scammed–many forms are offered for free. Every year at MLSA we hear of unfortunate people who end up paying for forms that can be found for free. If you need a form, please look for a free form before paying.

You can find free legal forms on these websites by clicking on the links:

If you have questions about forms you find online, contact the MLSA HelpLine:

1-800-666-6899  M-F 7:30am – 6:00pm.

 

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Posted in Access to Justice, Self-Help, Uncategorized

Veterans Stand Downs Scheduled Across Montana

Several Veterans Stand Downs have occurred and are scheduled across Montana. The US Department of Veterans Affairs coordinates with local VA and community partners to host Stand Downs to provide services to veterans, focusing on homeless veterans. Stand Downs typically provide food, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment, legal information, and substance abuse treatment. Montana Legal Services Association is honored to serve our veterans and military members, has attended many Stand Downs in the past, and is scheduled to attend several across the state in 2013.

The first Stand Down was held in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego.  Between 1994-2000, stand downs nationwide reached more than 200,000 Veterans and their family members.

Scheduled Stand Downs

See below the Stand Downs that are occuring in your area and for contact information. We will update this list as we learn of new information or changes in dates. For contact information and phone numbers, please click here. We will update information as it becomes available.

 

Missoula – May 23

Bozeman – June 15

Helena – Sept 6

Poplar – Sept 14

Hamilton – Sept 14

Great Falls – Sept 26-28

Libby – October 5-6

Billings – October

 

Pictures from the Missoula Stand Down 

            DSCN6494.JPG       DSCN6490.JPG     

 

News from the Anaconda Stand Down in April

‘Stand Down’ lends hand to local vets

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Posted in Uncategorized

Online application returns, improved for efficiency

online application

After a five month hiatus, the online application for Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) has returned. Since September, 2012, MLSA staff have been working to improve how the online application is received, its ease of use, and other implementations to streamline the application process.

The previous online application consisted of an intimidating page full of entry fields. The new application uses a ‘question and answer’ intake method where applicants are guided through the process. For prospective clients, this is a quicker, easier to use application format.

online application

Applicants are no longer limited to mailing or faxing in an application. They can complete and submit one online at any time, day or night. Not only does this save time for the client, it also saves time for MLSA’s intake staff members. With the previous online application, intake workers needed to re-enter the application’s information into MLSA’s case management system. Now, once the online application is submitted, it is automatically filed in the case management system and a notice is sent to intake staff via email.

The new online application strives to be a more user friendly and efficient tool for those seeking the assistance of MLSA. Instead of waiting on the phone to speak to a HelpLine staff member, applicants can submit an application online and be contacted in a timely manner.

Are you looking to apply for legal services? Fill out our online application right now. A video walk-through of the online application is currently in development.

Your private information is sent to MLSA over a secure Internet connection. Any information you give MLSA is confidential. We do not share your information with anyone without your permission.

Posted in Announcements, Technology, Uncategorized

May 1 is Law Day!

Today we reflect on and honor law.

Law gives us rights. It gives us a process to protect our rights.

Law is important to us as individuals and as a country.

Law is important whether or not we have legal problems.

  Realizing the dream. Liberty. Equal rights. Equality. Due Process. Voting rights. Liberty. Etcetera.

Want to learn more about the importance of law and how it works? Click here for information from the State Bar of Montana.

Posted in Access to Justice, The Legal System, Uncategorized

Fair Housing is Your Right: Use It!

April is Fair Housing Month.

Incited in part by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., one week prior, Congress passed Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act in 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status or disability in the sale or rental of housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) have launched a national media campaign, "Fair Housing Is Your Right. Use It." The campaign informs the public and housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. The campaign features stories of housing discrimination and how individuals have gotten assistance.

Watch how three people have gotten help for housing discrimination.

 


If you are a Montanan who has experienced housing discrimination, there is help.

You can:

  • Contact Montana Fair Housing at: (406) 782-2573 / 1-800-929-2611   Montana Relay: 711- (406 782-2573 / 800-929-2611
  • View Montana Fair Housing's website by clicking here.
  • Read more about the Fair Housing Act, Fair Housing Month, or learn about filing a housing discrimination complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),  by clicking here.
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Posted in Access to Justice, Housing, Uncategorized

MLSA Staff Attends Training

Broad-Based Legal Advocacy

MLSA attorneys and staff recently attended training on broad-based legal advocacy. Hannah E.M. Lieberman, national consultant with extensive litigation and legal practice management experience, provided the training.

Broad-based legal advocacy achieves good outcomes for clients and others. Litigation is one method used to get good outcomes, but other methods are also used to create positive change in the way justice and social systems work.

The focus in broad-based legal advocacy is on legal issues that affect many people. This allows litigators and advocates to perform their best work to improve the lives of many, in addition to their individual clients.

Want more information on how MLSA uses broad-based advocacy strategies? More information will be coming in future blog posts. Or contact Christine Mandiloff, Communications Director, at cmandilo(at)mtlsa(dot)org or 406/442-9830 x 131.

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Posted in Access to Justice, Uncategorized

Tax Information and Help

Do you know how to file your taxes for free? Do you need tax help? Are you in a dispute with the IRS?

    Let MLSA point you in the right direction.

 
► MontanaFreeFile.org is available for Montanans to find information on how and where to file their federal and state taxes.

  • Find free tax-filing options.
  • Find information on where eligible tax-filers can get free tax preparation information and assistance.

Last year 35,042 Montanans visited the MontanaFreeFile.org web site and thousands of dollars were returned to tax payers. MontanaFreeFile.org is a collaborative project of the Montana Credit Unions, Montana Legal Services Association, Montana Department of Revenue, Opportunity Link, Inc., and Rural Dynamics, Inc.

     Find out more about MontanaFreeFile.org by clicking here.

 

MLSA’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides free legal services to low-income people who have federal tax disputes with the IRS, including:

  • Deficiency notices,
  • Negotiations/settlements of tax debt,
  • Audits/Examinations,
  • Levies,
  • Innocent spouse relief,
  • Earned income tax credit appeals,
  • Tax court

     Find out more about the LITC by clicking here.

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Posted in Taxes, Uncategorized

MLSA Year in Review

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) has big goals for 2013 and we'll share those in future blogs.

But first, we’d like to tell about just a few of the major accomplishments we —with your help—achieved last year:

  • Helped clients with 3,570 cases;
  • Began the Foreclosure Assistance Project and helped 39 clients as of mid-December;
  • Restructured our intake system, including implementing case processing guidelines, to make sure that applications are handled quickly and fairly, and that cases are taken in a standardized manner to ensure the greatest positive impact for low-income Montanans with legal needs;
  • Increased the Justice for Montanans Project to 16 members, and added the State Bar Modest Means program as a partner;
  • Began a communications initiative to spread awareness of our law firm and the issues which our clients face; and
  • Installed a new VOIP Telephone system that will increase advocates’ and clients’ ability to effectively communicate.

Not bad for a law firm with only 13 full-time attorneys!

We thank our donors, partners, funders, and our clients for helping us to have such a successful year and wish you a happy 2013.

Posted in Uncategorized

MLSA Helps Survivors of Domestic Abuse

In October, MLSA has blogged each Thursday on relationship abuse/sexual abuse/stalking topics in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage you to share the information we blog on with your friends, family, and coworkers.

Please note: Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger.And know that if you are a domestic violence survivor, using the Internet or a computer can be dangerous. Click here for information on how to use the Internet and computers safely.

—–

Getting legal information and assistance is often key for survivors of domestic abuse to escape the violence.At Montana Legal Services Association, we help survivors escape violence everyday.MLSA includes a small specialized group of attorneys and advocates who provide legal services to domestic violence survivors across Montana. The MLSA staff who provide these services are trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in the dynamics of domestic violence and the means to keep their clients safe and restore them to nonviolent lives.The assistance MLSA provides to survivors includes:

  • Information and resources listed on MontanaLawHelp.org under the Relationship Abuse/Sexual Abuse/Stalking topic area;
  • Information from the  HelpLine at 1-800-666-6899;
  • Advice from advocates and attorneys;
  • Direct representation by attorneys;
  • Referrals to social service and governmental agencies, pro bono attorneys, and more.

If you are a survivor with legal issues, you can call to learn how we can help you. Call our HelpLine, Mon-Sat 7:30am-6:00pm.And watch and learn how MLSA helped a client escape abuse.

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Posted in Domestic/Sexual/Dating Violence and Stalking, Uncategorized

Pro Bono Celebration This Week

Do you know that this week is a National Pro Bono Celebration?Celebrate Pro Bono 2012 image badge largeAt Montana Legal Services Association, we like to celebrate Pro Bono Attorneys all year long. Do you know that in 2012 so far, MLSA has placed 289 cases with Pro Bono Attorneys? That’s a lot of pro bono happening, which means a lot of justice for people who otherwise would not get it.MLSA is showing its appreciation for Pro Bono Attorneys this month through a number of activities, such as writing thank you notes and participating in events that promote pro bono.  We deeply appreciate Pro Bono Attorneys and we know their clients do, too.Pro Bono Attorneys also feel fortunate to do pro bono. Take a listen to attorney Ole Olsen talk about one of his pro bono cases that meant a lot to him.

Posted in Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission

This post is by guest author Matt Dale, Director of the Montana Office of Consumer Protection & Victim Services, as part of the MLSA Advocacy Blog’s focus on domestic violence issues this October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. MLSA thanks Matt for this contribution.This October we remember those who have died at the hands of their partners, victims of intimate partner homicide (IPH). Since 2000, at least 69 IPH events have occurred in Montana, resulting in the deaths of 106 men, women and children. All would agree that these numbers are unacceptably high.In response, the 2003 legislature created Montana’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Commission, basing it in the Attorney General’s Office. The Commission is made up of 18 individuals covering all aspects of those who work with domestic violence victims – prosecution, victim advocacy, law enforcement, judiciary, etc. Members volunteer their service and review two IPH events each year.During the review process, the Commission evaluates the services involved:

  • What agencies had contact with the victim?
  • What agencies had contact with the offender?
  • Were the agencies involved communicating with each other?
  • What agencies could have provided services but were never contacted by the victim?

The goal of a fatality review is not to identify an individual or agency as responsible for the deaths. The Commission’s purpose is to find out where the safety net failed in each case, to look for trends in the failure of the social service system and to work toward improving the procedures we use to protect domestic violence victims. Since 2005 the Commission has published a Report to the Legislature every two years summarizing its work and recommendations. These can be viewed online by clicking here.Montana’s domestic violence fatality review process has led to changes in state law, new policies in courts and law enforcement agencies, improved communication between local, state, federal and tribal professionals that work with DV victims and perpetrators, and helped educate Montanan’s re: domestic violence and its lethal implications. The Commission has received state and national attention for its work in Indian Country as well.You can watch a short documentary about the Commission by clicking here.For more information on the Commission, contact Matthew Dale, Office of Consumer Protection & Victim Services, 406-444-1907 or madale@mt.gov.

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Posted in Domestic/Sexual/Dating Violence and Stalking, Uncategorized

Relationship Abuse/Sexual Abuse/Stalking – Get Help and Information

In October, MLSA will blog each Thursday on relationship abuse/sexual abuse/stalking topics in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage you to share the information we blog on with your friends, family, and coworkers.

*****

Domestic violence, relationship abuse, stalking, sexual assault . . . All such forms of violence are more common than we like to admit. Sometimes we suspect someone we know is a victim but we don’t know what to do. Often it seems easier to look the other way, change the subject, think about something else. Sometimes we try to deny the fact that we, ourselves, are victims. But these forms of violence will not go away on their own. We must identify them, call them what they are, stand up to them, help those who suffer, help ourselves. We can do that most readily–and safely–through education, understanding, and using tools and resources that have been developed for that purpose.

Fortunately there are many resources to help. The list that follows is just a sample of organizations and information.

If you are in danger right now, call 911.

Click here to get help (National Network to End Domestic Violence.)

Click here to learn about organizations in Montana that help survivors (Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.)

Click here to learn how to get a Montana Order of Protection (Montana Department of Justice-Victim Services).

Click here to learn what to do if you are sexually assaulted (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network.)

Click here to learn about keeping your mailing address confidential from someone who has abused/stalked you (Montana Department of Justice-Victim Services.)

Click here to learn about Crime Victim Compensation (Montana Department of Justice-Victim Services.)

Click here to learn more about Relationship Abuse/Sexual Abuse/Stalking from www.MontanaLawHelp.org.

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Women Die Each Day Because of Domestic Violence

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The National Network to End Domestic Violence reports that 3 women die each day because of domestic violence. 1 woman in 4 experiences domestic violence in her lifetime. Startling statistics, right? But those stats are the reason–among others–that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

MLSA Helps

At Montana Legal Services Association, we and our local and national partners help survivors get out of violent relationships. We work with survivors every day to empower them to live happy, peaceful, nonviolent lives.

You Can Help, Too

Educate yourself about domestic violence. You may be in an abusive relationship or know someone in an abusive relationship, whether you’re aware of that fact or not. Being educated will allow you to recognize domestic violence and take the steps to get help or help someone else who is suffering.

You can start your education by reading MLSA’s blog each Thursday in October. We’ll post four blogs, including the one you’re reading, that will help you learn about domestic violence and the resources that can help.  We encourage you to use this information, whether you’re a survivor or not. And please share the information with friends, family, and coworkers. Based on the statistics, it’s possible that someone’s life could depend on it.

Learn More

Please check our blog next Thursday for more information about how to recognize domestic violence and how to get help.

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Posted in Access to Justice, Domestic/Sexual/Dating Violence and Stalking, Uncategorized

Billings Gazette Opinion: Reaching Justice – Montanans Need Access to Courts

The Billings GazetteThe Billings Gazette newspaper recently published an opinon about the Montana Supreme Court Self-Help Law Center in Billings. Click here to read the article.Want more information–including location and hours–of all the Montana Supreme Court Self-Help Law Centers in the state? Click here for information on the Self-Help Law Centers. 

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Posted in Access to Justice, Uncategorized