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Fredrikson & Byron Pro Bono Partnerships, Fredrikson & Byron Pro Bono

Advocates for Human Rights

Fredrikson & Byron lawyers helped found what is now known as the Advocates for Human Rights (AHR) more than 25 years ago. The organization’s mission, while it has expanded tremendously over this time, has remained true to its roots – to promote and protect human rights. AHR does this through research, education, and advocacy. We have a long history of partnering with the AHR on many issues, including asylum cases. 

Jody McGinley, a lawyer in the  Minneapolis Oil & Gas department, successfully represented a client with an application for asylum. Our client, a pastor in a rural area of Ethiopia, worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the members of his poor community. However, over time, because of his leadership position and his opposition to a program which allowed the government to relocate his community, his hard work was eventually labeled anti-government. When it became clear that the persecution would not end, he fled in early 2011 and came to the United States. In making the decision to leave, our client also made the incredibly difficult decision to leave behind his wife and family, who remained in hiding. In May 2012, our client was granted asylum status. Shortly thereafter, Jody began the process of obtaining approval for his family to join him here. After a long and difficult journey that included everything from school records and baby pictures to DNA testing, our client’s family was finally approved to come to the United States. On February 28, 2014, after over three years away from them, our client met his family at the Minneapolis airport. Jody had the pleasure of joining our client and his friends in the unforgettable experience of welcoming the family to the United States. The family is now settling in their new community of Dubuque, Iowa. Jody received invaluable assistance from Loan Huynh and Legal Assistant, Roxanne Gangl, through this process. 

Children's Law Center

Fredrikson & Byron lawyers have worked with Children’s Law Center (CLC) for many years, representing children in foster care in administrative and legal hearings. While the primary goal of the program is to allow children a voice in decisions relating to their placement or life situation, a secondary, but often equally important outcome, is for the child to experience a relationship of trust with an adult – something that is oftentimes missing in the lives of children in foster care.

Economic Development

Fredrikson & Byron has a unique relationship with Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), a nonprofit organization that works in the low-income communities of the Twin Cities to help emerging entrepreneurs develop successful businesses that revitalize their communities. NDC trains these entrepreneurs through a 16-week training class that offers classes on how to effectively start a new business, how to write a business plan and where to get financing, among other topics. Fredrikson & Byron offers legal assistance to the graduates of NDC’s business training program. An example of the success of NDC’s program can be found by driving along East Lake Street in South Minneapolis. NDC began the Mercado Central in 2000 and the growth that initiated can be seen all up and down the Street. Fredrikson & Byron lawyers have helped many of those entrepreneurs with legal issues ranging from choice of entity, entity formation, lease negotiations and reviews, drafting of contracts, and more.

Immigrant Law Center

The mission of the Immigrant Law Center (ILC) is to provide quality immigration legal services and law-related education to meet the steadily increasing needs of Minnesota’s growing immigrant and refugee communities. They do this through advocacy, education and direct representation. 

Minnesota Justice Foundation

Fredrikson & Byron is committed to working with law students to encourage them to do pro bono work. Each year, working with the Minnesota Justice Foundation, Fredrikson recruits five to seven law students to work on pro bono projects in the areas of family law, immigration, nonprofit, and corporate law. The students gain invaluable pro bono experience, the lawyers are able to mentor students while doing pro bono work, and the firm is able to assist more clients who need assistance.

“I expected Fredrikson's program would provide a valuable experience learning from highly-skilled attorneys while providing free legal services to those in need. What I didn't expect was the time the attorneys invested in me and their passion for the clients.  Fredrikson's warm atmosphere and care for the pro bono clients was extraordinary.” – Aaron Hall, 2L

Volunteer Lawyers Network

The Volunteer Lawyers Network’s (VLN) mission is to mission is to promote access to justice and the administration of justice by providing legal services to low-income people, primarily in Hennepin County, by building and maintaining a network of volunteer lawyers. VLN provides volunteers to assist in the areas of administrative, bankruptcy, and civil law; debtor/creditor, employment and real estate issues; criminal expungements and family law matters; and unemployment compensation.