Training 211 Operators on Legal Access Resources Has Major Impact in Minnesota Collaboration

One of the great — and too little explored — potentials of having integrated access services is the potential of much better linkages with broader help gateways.  A recent report on such an approach in the Minnesota Twin Cities area between Call for Justice and the United Way shows just how dramatic the results can be — for both sides of the partnership.  The key components seem to be meetings between information providers and trainings for the 211 staff and others.  The Projects annual budget is $175,000, which came from the foundation arms of the Hennepin and Ramsey County Bar Associations, the Saint Paul and Bigelow Foundations, and 29 Twin Cities law firms — again a great collaborative model.  Given how dramatic the results shown below are, I can not see how any state legal access website can justify not exploring such a relationship with the 211 system.   Here is a link to the National 211 Gateway.  211 Systems now cover 90% of the US population.  How many of these systems are linked to state LawHelp systems?

According the Minnesota project’s new press release and report:

Outcomes referenced in the report include:

  • A 200 percent increase in referrals for 9 key legal resources—to providers that previously had received more limited referrals, effectively helping connect callers to programs more appropriate to the callers’ legal needs.

  • A 786 percent increase in referrals to, a resource-based website related to the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition.

  • Increases of 336 percent and 560 percent to Court Self-Help resources in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, respectively.

  • Connecting attorneys with nearly 80 women and their children involved in a large Twin Cities program fighting intergenerational poverty. This “adoption” by two Minneapolis law firms was the result of an offshoot program that convenes various nonprofit legal and social service providers to facilitate organic collaborations.

  • Providing more than 70 homeless individuals with legal advice within the first four months of a collaboration between a Legal Aid organization and a homeless meal and resource center.

  • The creation of the first-of-its-kind (in Minnesota) panel of LGBT lawyers to serve homeless and at-risk LGBT youth.

  • Nearly 1100 views of 2-1-1 training videos posted on the C4J website, including videos on immigration law, landlord-tenant law and bankruptcy.

  • 8,035 page views of the C4J website (which includes 2-1-1 training materials) by 3,134 visitors.

  •  533 views of the C4J website page that lists legal clinics. This is one of the few “print friendly” lists of Twin Cities metro legal clinics.

  • Multiple outreach presentations to community organizations (Rotary, Optimists, etc.) regarding United Way 2-1-1 as a legal referral resource.

  • Key assistance in helping to recruit more than 100 attorneys to assist low-income tenants at risk  of eviction in housing court.

Some of these results are just stunning.

Here is the portion of the Report on the increased overall use of LawHelp MN:

Beginning in March, 2012, C4J identified as a key legal resource, in part because one only needs access to the Internet as a way of obtaining important legal information. Thereafter, C4J repeatedly referenced the LawHelpMN website in its United Way 2-1-1 trainings as well as in public outreach and Legal Liaison programming.

Data on vastly increased traffic to the LawHelpMN website coincide with C4J’s efforts to publicize the website as a key legal resource:

  • 7/1/11 – 12/31/11: 88,312 visits (479 average visits per day)

  • 1/1/12 – 6/30/12:  101,603 visits (558 average visits per day)

  • 7/1/12 – 12/31/12:  158,590 visits (862 average visits per day)

  • 1/1/13 – 6/30/13: 169,728 visits (938 average visits per day)

The key comparison is June 2012 with June 2013, which reflects a near 60% increase in visitors. While many factors contributed to that increase, we believe this single metric underscores the value of the C4J-United Way 2-1-1 collaboration and how it better connects low-income people with under-utilized legal resources.



About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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1 Response to Training 211 Operators on Legal Access Resources Has Major Impact in Minnesota Collaboration

  1. Pingback: The Story of “Call for Justice” — Leveraging Online Legal Information, the 211 System and Beyond | Richard Zorza's Access to Justice Blog

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