Second-year law student Hannah Holmberg has been selected by Equal Justice Works to participate in its 2022 Rural Summer Legal Corps Fellowship program. She is one of just 40 law students from across the country to be chosen for this competitive program, which allows law students to explore their passion for public interest work and gain valuable legal experience.
“The lack of accessible legal aid in rural communities has a devastating impact on people’s quality of life and access to opportunity,” said Brooke Meckler, director of law school engagement and advocacy at Equal Justice Works. “We are thrilled to have Hannah join our Rural Summer Legal Corps, where she will have an opportunity to increase access to justice across northern Minnesota.”
Holmberg will work on Reach Justice Minnesota, an initiative of seven regional Minnesota legal aid programs, that aims to leverage technology to help lower-income Minnesotans who seek basic information about their legal rights and need legal representation to resolve civil legal issues.
Specifically, she will work with Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota (LASNEM) to expand the use of their legal kiosk network and assist with mobile legal aid clinics, also known as “Justice Buses.”
“I am looking forward to driving the Justice Bus because it affords me the opportunity to really connect with the communities that LASNEM serves,” Holmberg said. “Being able to see the impact of legal aid is inspiring and gives such an insight into what I could see myself doing in the future.”
Holmberg grew up in a rural town southwest of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth, which she says gives her some insight into the communities she will serve. She is eager, however, to meet people in northern Minnesota, understand their specific challenges and offer help.
“Legal kiosks and Justice Buses are important in rural areas because they shift the focus from having people come to us, to us bringing legal power to them,” Holmberg said. “In rural settings, especially with the pandemic, having an internet connection or privacy for a court appointment, attorney meeting, or intake can be a dilemma. The legal kiosks and Justice Buses seek to provide that connection and privacy.”
Learn more about Reach Justice Minnesota at lasnem.org/reach-justice-minnesota.