Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota (LSNM) celebrated its 40th anniversary in Detroit Lakes last month, and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson was on hand with remarks about LSNM's contributions to the community over the last four decades.
Highlights included the presentation of LSNM's highest honors: its Champion of Justice and Partners in Justice awards. The awards ceremony was presided over by LSNM’s executive director, Anne Hoefgen, and board president, Lawrence McDowell.
Mary Deutsch Schneider was honored with the Champion of Justice Award for her significant and enduring services to the poor and elderly of Northwest Minnesota. Schneider was the executive director of LSNM for 24 years before being elected to the North Dakota Legislature in 2014. Before her time at LSNM, she was an attorney at Legal Services of North Dakota.
“Mary has taught and inspired many of us, regionally and nationally, to fight for justice for those that cannot fight for themselves. She has a legacy in civil legal aid that will last for decades,” said Hoefgen.
Recognized with Partner in Justice Awards for their skillful and dedicated service to disadvantaged and elderly Minnesotans were:
- Ron Elwood, Legal Services Advocacy Project (LSAP)
- Robert Enger, Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota (LSNM)
- Mary Shequen Smith, Anishinabe Legal Services (ALS)
- Rebecca Swenson, Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota (LSNM)
“Each of our Partners in Justice provide advocacy to the most vulnerable in our communities. They serve these populations with dignity and respect. The impact of their collective work is immeasurable,” Hoefgen said.
LSNM is a non-profit organization that provides legal services without charge to low-income or elderly in 22 northwestern Minnesota counties. The organization was founded by local attorneys that recognized the need for civil legal aid for the poor. In 2016, LSNM will serve over 3,000 low-income clients.