Michigan Indian Legal Services Receives Pro Bono Innovation Funding Grant

Published October 8, 2019

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) recently announced that Michigan Indian Legal Services (MILS) would receive a $181,084 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund (PBIF) is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.

LSC formed the Pro Bono Task Force to address the current crisis in legal services, where at least 50% of eligible low-income individuals seeking help from grantees are turned away due to insufficient resources, and 80% of civil legal needs are unmet.

Among Michigan’s Native communities, especially those located in rural areas of the state, the percentage of individuals living below the poverty level is generally much higher than the state overall. Rampant poverty and scarce legal resources contribute to a significantly greater need for effective client counsel; thus, a demand for innovative solutions exists. MILS is part of that solution by allocating practice-ready attorneys to those rural areas.

MILS will address these unmet needs by primarily recruiting late-career and retired attorneys to:

  • Provide community legal education in rural Native communities,
  • Provide mentorship to newer MILS attorneys so that MILS staff can provide high-quality legal assistance in remote communities, and
  • Provide direct representation of clients in rural Native communities.

For more information on pro bono volunteering, please contact:
Norika Kida Betti  or  Hank Fields
nbetti@mils3.org       hfields@mils3.org

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