Notice: No legal services are being provided or offered by Access Justice at this time.
If and when AJ resumes its operations, public notice will be provided on this website. Read Full Notice

Full Notice

Notice: Due to unforeseen circumstances involving the untimely death of the interim executive director of Access Justice PSC (AJ), the operations of  AJ have been indefinitely suspended until any further public notice.


No legal services are being provided by AJ at this time nor will be offered in the future unless and until further public notice may so indicate through this website and/or other public communication channels. Although the AJ office has been closed, and no telephonic or email communications will or can be received until possible future public notice, during the period of AJ’s indefinitely suspended operations this website is being held open in order  to consider any inquiries or applications for potentially available future positions of executive director, staff attorneys, fundraising associate and/or other volunteers, and  to receive any written suggestions for potential funding opportunities from foundations and/or individuals which could help support the possible future resumption of AJ’s nonprofit legal services work on behalf of middle-class and working poor families in Minnesota. Any such inquires or communications should be sent in writing to: AJ, P.O. Box 3780, Minneapolis, MN, 55403.  (All information on this website represents data input or retained by AJ as of June 30, 2015.)
Since its founding in 2009, AJ’s steady and effective provision of quality and affordable, largely  so-called “Low Bono” legal services has demonstrated that its new and replicable model for legal assistance is needed, possible and critical to ensuring social justice for the vast numbers of middle class working families who cannot  afford any quality legal representation. Countless ordinary Minnesotans have benefited from the quality and affordable legal services provided to them by Access Justice; and there hopefully will be other similar such law firms developed and dedicated to that mission in the years to come. Despite AJ’s above-described recent, sudden and heartbreaking loss and the necessary subsequent suspension of its operations, all may not be lost  if other  potentially available individuals  demonstrate a genuine interest and ability to help re-kindle the organization’s valuable work through new leadership and participation by attorneys and other professionals dedicated to helping address the still un- and under-served vital legal needs of millions of Minnesotans. The opportunity to show such a commitment— either as it may be provided at a revived Access Justice in the future or, building upon AJ’s successes, through the possible establishment of another similarly designed public interest law organization— is offered though the availability of the above-listed Post Office Box 3780,  to which any such interested individuals may write and offer suggestions for doing so. In the meantime, thank you for your understanding; and in advance for your possible input.

The Minimum Wage Debate

A current issue Congress is facing is the minimum wage increase debate. With the cost of living rising and wages staying the same, it is becoming increasingly difficult for millions of people to afford the basic essentials. The Minnesota House of Representatives recently passed a measure to increase minimum wage to as high as $9.50 per hour by 2015. However, the state Senate passed their own version of the bill which would only increase the wage to $7.75 per hour. That’s only a 50 cent increase from the current federal minimum wage. There is currently a disconcerting amount of low-wage jobs in the U.S. This creates millions of financially strained workers who can barely afford to feed their families. More than 90,000 people in Minnesota earn less $7.25 or less per hour. The legislature will meet for a short session February 25th, 2014, where they will discuss raising the state’s minimum wage. There are high hopes that the minimum wage in Minnesota will increase within the next year, but question remains; will it be sufficient enough for a family to meet their day-to-day needs?


The gap between the rich and the poor is dramatically growing. With income levels too low for citizens to even access basic rights to the justice system, Access Justice hopes to provide hardworking Americans, who receive low-wage income, a fair chance to defend what is lawfully theirs.

Top Corporate Pro Bono Firms

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service declared last month, October 20-26, National Pro Bono Week to draw attention to the invaluable legal services which lawyers, such as those from Access Justice, provide to low-income clients who cannot afford the usual high rates which law firms charge for their services. The AmLaw Pro Bono Rankings recognize the corporate law firms across the United States which dedicate the most time and resources to pro bono work. Some firms mandate as part of their policy that each of its attorneys devote a certain number of hours to pro bono work each year. Many sign on to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, a common benchmark of attorney involvement in pro bono work which encourages corporate law firms to devote three to five percent of their yearly billable hours to pro bono work.


To celebrate Pro Bono Week, created an infographic profiling the top five Pro Bono All-Stars, according to the firms which ranked in the top five in the AmLaw Pro Bono rankings: Covington & Burling, Jenner & Block, WilmerHale, Debevoise & Plimpton, and Arnold & Porter. The infographic details how many hours attorneys at the firm dedicated to pro bono work annually both individually on average and as part of the firm as a whole, how many lawyers devoted more than 20 hours to pro bono work and the percentage of firm lawyers who did so, whether or not the firm requires pro bono participation from its attorneys and if it is a participant in the Pro Bono Challenge. The infographic also includes the stories not told by the numbers, including notable cases such as WilmerHale’s involvement in DOMA and Debevoise & Plimpton’s work to reunite an immigrant mother with her son. To check out the infographic, continue to

Going to Court as a Non-English Speaker

Access Justice has provided low bono immigration legal services since our inception.
AJ’s network includes bi-lingual immigration attorneys, who provide quality legal
services on a variety of immigration matters in Spanish. AJ strives to overcome
communication barriers and help our clients understand their complicated legal issues.
By way of comparison, ECHO is an organization who also helps to bridge the
communication gap for immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. Leading in multi-
language health, safety, civic engagement, and emergency readiness communication,
ECHO designs programming for television and radio broadcast, as well as phone, print,
video and web, all in an effort to empower and ensure that limited English-speaking Minnesotans have access to necessary information about health care and safety

The court and justice system can be incredibly difficult to understand and navigate at
times, particularly for immigrants. ECHO recently produced a video titled, “Going to
Court in Minnesota,” which provided invaluable information about how the court
system operates, what to expect, and how to be prepared. The key messages in the
video include: the law is the same for everyone; courts and judges are neutral; get
prepared; and how to ask people for help. Further, the video is available in multiple


ECHO reaches out to multi-national individuals about an array of complex issues, such
as the court system. Providing important information in a language that an individual
knows best is vital to effective communication between communities. “Going to Court
in Minnesota” does just this by providing information on the Minnesota Judicial Branch.
Check out “Going to Court in Minnesota” online at and to gain a better understanding of Minnesota’s
court system.


Bridging the Justice Gap

Access Justice has discussed this issue time and time again, because it is one of paramount importance, that of Justice and Access to Affordable Legal Services. Most individuals cannot afford the outlandish rates of legal services today; consequently, low-income Americans are left without any reprieve or solutions in a variety of legal arenas. Unless these individuals are in a criminal case (or they’re one of the few that qualifies and is accepted for legal aid work), they do not have access to legal services, and justice is not met. Many cases AJ comes across, in the civil arena, where individual needs are not being met, include: immigration; land-lord tenant disputes; as well as divorce, custody and support cases. AJ hopes to address this underserved population, bridging the justice gap and providing affordable, low bono legal services to low to moderate income individuals and families.


While Access Justice hopes to at least partially bridge the justice gap by providing such services, what can a non-lawyer do in addressing this pervasive issue?


In a NY Times Op Ep article, Addressing the Justice Gap, it’s noted that:

State bar associations could help address these needs by requiring lawyers to report their pro bono service — such disclosure would likely increase many lawyers’ service to the recommended 3 percent to 5 percent of their paid work. Another step is to allow nonlawyers into the mix. The American Bar Association has insisted that only lawyers can provide legal services, but there are many things nonlawyers should be able to handle, like processing uncontested divorces.

Legal education must also change. The Carnegie foundation recommends that all law students be given experience in public advocacy, of which providing legal services is one kind. At the same time, law schools should expand loan forgiveness programs for legal services lawyers. A few have such programs, but most schools do not — and not enough schools view tuition as a source to help support future legal-services lawyers.

The justice gap is widening. Government, law schools and the profession need to work together to redesign and fortify the grossly deficient legal services system.

For more information about Access Justice, to make employment and volunteer inquiries, or to donate, please call us at (612)879-8092, email us at Info@AccessJustice.Net or, or visit our website www.AccessJustice.Net. Thank you for all of your generous support!



Careers in Public Interest

Public interest law can be a demanding career for new lawyers, as it involves huge workloads for less pay than the attorneys could make working in private firms. This pay gap, combined with the sometimes large amount of student debt that new lawyers graduate with, can equate to a recipe for public interest organizations lacking the best talent. At the University of Arkansas, there’s a movement afoot to change that by establishing an endowment to pay law students for working in public interest organizations.

The Public Interest and Rural Community Sustainability Fund will allow students to accept jobs in sectors where they may not otherwise be paid for their work or where compensation is well below market rates compared to positions at private firms in the region. This work can be performed for the public interest, which may include, but is not limited to, non-profit organizations; federal, state or tribal government agencies; and private law firms in small towns in Arkansas and within the Cherokee Nation.

Law school students will have the opportunity to concentrate on public interest commitments during their enrollment, while benefiting from a stronger financial position from which to engage in a public interest career upon graduation.

While this does not fix the major structural problems that keep all law graduates from being able to freely pursue a public service career without the worries of paying off large amounts of law school debt, it certainly represents a step in the right direction. It’s also not an entirely bleak picture for law grads who wants to go into public interest careers, as Federal law offers student loan forgiveness for graduates who work in public interest jobs for a combined ten years after graduation.

Also, a number of law graduates choose careers in public interest, despite whatever financial challenges they might face.  Public interest work comes in all sorts of different forms, and some of the most rewarding of that work is helping those who cannot afford the rates of traditional law firms.  For instance, Access Justice is a full-service law firm committed to providing affordable, quality service to clients, while charging no more than $99 per hour.AJ is committed to public service, and we applaud programs that encourage law students to pursue a career in the interest of the public good. 

What is Pro Se Legal Representation?

A lot of low income individuals and ordinary people, given the enormous hourly rates of private law firms,  are interested in representing themselves in court. However, the legal world can be incredibly complicated, which is one of the reasons why lawyers exist. There is a seemingly infinite amount paperwork, filings, deadlines, and then court itself. It is a difficult system to operate within without legal representation, but many people are forced to go at it alone.


Representing oneself is often referred to as being pro se.  Defined:

pro se (proh say). Latin for “for himself.” A party to a lawsuit who represents himself (acting in propria persona), is appearing in the case “pro se.”
Free Legal Dictionary


The United States’ state and federal court systems are currently experiencing an increasing number of pro se litigants. For example, according to the National Center for State Courts, in a 2006 report, estimates the pro se rate for family law cases in particular at:  67% in California; 73% in Florida’s large counties; and 70% in some Wisconsin counties.



Access Justice currently offers low bono services for eligible individuals who fall within the Federal Poverty Guidelines. See our Eligibility Guidelines for more information. In the future though, Access Justice would like to take part in and assist individuals with educational workshops,  meetings, and information sessions on how to best operate pro se, encouraging and facilitating low income individuals who would like to represent themselves in court.


As a first step, we would recommend people interested in being pro se to look at the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s website, namely the MN Courts’ Self Help Page, which is an interactive website page that includes “how to” guides, worksheets, and videos, as well various samples forms pertaining to court fillings and applications. Eventually, we hope to actively engage individuals in this process, and assist them in operating pro se and representing themselves.


A Look at Immigration Reform

As an active participant in immigration law, Access Justice has a stake in immigration reform.
Thus, AJ anxiously awaited to see the unveiling of the latest reform measures, in order to best serve our clients’ needs. On Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, congress revealed such measures.


AJ believes the current immigration system is in dire need of improvement, and we hope that such reforms will modernize the current immigration system, protect family unity, increase economic growth, promote national security, protect immigrant workers, and restore American values of equality.

So, what’s included in the latest immigration reform bill?

  • “Under the proposal, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before December 31, 2011, and had stayed in the country continuously could apply for ‘provisional’ legal status as soon as six months after the bill is signed by the president.”
  • “Billions of dollars in new money would be funneled into additional border security to discourage people from avoiding detection as they crossed Mexico’s border with the United States.”
  • “The proposal would expand access to both low- and high-skilled labor for American businesses, attempting to keep organized labor happy with provisions designed to keep companies from hiring cheap foreign labor or filling jobs with immigrants when U.S. workers are available.”
  • “Within six months from enactment, during which time the Department of Homeland Security would set out its border security plan, the threat of deportation could end for most illegal immigrants. They would be allowed to work legally in the United States once they pay an initial $500 penalty and any back taxes, and if they can show they have not been convicted of a serious crime in the United States.”
  • After 10 years the immigrants could apply for a “green card,” or permanent resident status, through an expanded merit-based immigration system. Those applications could be processed whether or not the government achieved a 90 percent success rate in securing border hot spots.”


To see more information regarding the immigration reform bill, see the full Reuters’ article quoted above. Senators Unveil Immigration Reform Bill


And for more information regarding Access Justice’s immigration services, please visit our website or contact our office: (612)879-8092.

Questioning the Billable Hour

Most top grossing law firms use a billable-hour system in order to charge clients. However, it is a flawed system with exorbitant rates that pressure and take advantage of clients. It also virtually eliminates access to the legal system for low-income individuals. Working class people cannot afford to pay the average $500 per hour for a junior associate’s legal work.  Access justice would like to see a change in this system.


A Washington Post article states:

In the first quarter of 2013, the 50 top-grossing U.S. law firms boosted their partner rates by as much as 5.7%, billing on average between $879 and $882 an hour, according to Valeo Partners. Rates for junior lawyers, whose labors have long been a profit engine for major law firms, jumped even more….This year, for the first time, the average rate for associates with one to four years of experience rose to $500 an hour, according to Valeo.
For full article: On Sale: The $1,150-Per-Hour Lawyer

These numbers are based on the legal-spending data from more than 17,000 law firms. Clearly, attorneys’ hourly rates are skyrocketing. But why?


A New York Times OP-ED article states:

The billable-hour system is the way most lawyers in big firms charge clients, but it serves no one. Well, almost no one. It brings most equity partners in those firms great wealth. Law firm leaders call it a leveraged pyramid. Moss associates call it a living hell…. For clients, the consequences of a billable-hour system can be absurd…. Why do clients tolerate this perverse system? Periodically they rebel, especially during economic downturns, but those revolutions are short-lived and unsuccessful.
For full article: The Tyranny of the Billable Hour

Access Justice would like to see one of these revolutions succeed. What information are we left with though? The billable-hour system is “seriously flawed.” And attorneys’ hourly rates have increased and currently range from around $500 to over $1,000 (on average).


Let’s now contrast the above content with Access Justice: AJ offers low bono legal services that are never more than $99 per hour. Never.



AJ: Positions Available

Due to community interest and need, Access Justice is a rapidly expanding and growing non-profit law firm. Thus, we have many open positions!

Access Justice is charitable organization and public interest law firm dedicated to providing a full range quality and affordable legal services to low- and moderate income individuals.  Due to continued growth AJ is in need of experienced, highly qualified and committed professionals to join the organization in fulfilling a unique mission serving underserved people of Minnesota.


Current openings include the following:


Family Law Attorney—the person in this position is responsible for assuming an existing caseload as well as providing a wide range of legal services to new clients.


Associate Director of Legal Services—the person in this position is responsible for the management of all aspects of legal services delivery.


Bookkeeper/Accountant/Assistant Director of Finance


Administrative Assistant/ Reception


Executive Assistant


Development Associate


For more information regarding the application process, required duties and skills, please see the Positions Available tab on our webpage.

Also, interested candidates should send cover letter, resume, transcript(s) and at least one writing sample to:


Chelsey Frederiksen
310 Fourth Ave. S, Suite #1006
Minneapolis, MN  55415


We look forward to hearing from you!

heartWhat our supporters have to say...

This courageous effort is just what the doctor ordered.- - The Honorable Lawrence D. Cohen
Through our work with you, people in the Somali community will be able to get real legal assistance… There is no other firm like AJ.- - Dahir Mirreh Jibreel, Executive Director, Somalia Justice Advocacy Center
We help clients protect what is rightfully theirs and achieve their goals at minimal cost.- - Elizabeth, Access Justice Volunteer Attorney
You have launched a law firm that has long been needed!- - Deborah Randolph, Retired Minnesota Attorney
You seem to be attempting something I've been thinking (maybe dreaming) about for many years.- - Bob Seng, Assistant General Counsel, Target Corporation
This legal service model is desperately needed. - - Betsy Sitkoff, J-CHAI Coordinator, Jewish Family and Children’s Services

Quick contact


Access Justice, PSC
310 4th Avenue S Suite 1006
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Phone: 612.879.8092
Toll Free: 1.877.999.AJ OK (2565)
Fax: 612.879.8707

Nothing on this site constitutes legal advice and this site does not create an attorney-client relationship or make any assertion regarding available attorneys in your jurisdiction.
See our Representation Policy.

Access Justice is proud to announce that we are a member of the Charities Review Council's Smart Giving Network. Charities Review Council Letter and Seal.

About company

Access Justice is a nonprofit, full service public interest law firm committed to providing quality, affordable (or free) legal services to low- and moderate-income persons who have no access to our legal system.

Access Justice is a Minnesota Professional Services Corporation operating under the trade name “Access Justice.” An attorney-client relationship with Access Justice will only be created upon the signing of a formal representation agreement between Access Justice and a client.

Access Justice is a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations to AJ are tax deductible. Donate.

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