Lawyers offer residents free advice at ‘Ask A Lawyer’ day

Participating in the “Ask A Lawyer” event included in front, from left, Angela Anderson, Mac Guptil, Cristel Tack, Kelli Jasper, Elva Bustios Huss, Heidi Swisher, Heather Olson, Peggy Gentles and Cindy Pike. In back, from left, are Sherwood McKinnis, Sam Schmitz, Todd Donegan, Robert Roby, Clark Joslin, Judge B. William Ekstrum, Judge James Dehn, Jamison Tessneer, Kelly Sinton, Melissa Martinez and Gabe Horstman.

Participating in the “Ask A Lawyer” event included in front, from left, Angela Anderson, Mac Guptil, Cristel Tack, Kelli Jasper, Elva Bustios Huss, Heidi Swisher, Heather Olson, Peggy Gentles and Cindy Pike. In back, from left, are Sherwood McKinnis, Sam Schmitz, Todd Donegan, Robert Roby, Clark Joslin, Judge B. William Ekstrum, Judge James Dehn, Jamison Tessneer, Kelly Sinton, Melissa Martinez and Gabe Horstman. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

 

 

More than 65 members of the general public received free advice and asked more than 100 questions during the ‘Ask A Lawyer’ event held March 30 in Isanti.

The event, held at Spirit River Community Center, was sponsored by the Equal Justice Committee of the 10th Judicial District and featured approximately 12 lawyers from the East Central Minnesota area answering legal questions, ranging from criminal and civil law, wills and probate, family law, foreclosure and other legal areas.

The event was open to anyone seeking free legal advice. A tax representative, as well as a Spanish interpreter, were also in attendance for people needing those services.

“I consider access to justice critical to what we do, with that ranging from gender issues, poverty issues, racial issues or economic issues,” said Judge B. William Ekstrum, chair of the Equal Justice Committee. “This law day event is really wonderful, and I am humbled by the work of the other people involved in this event.”

Ekstrum gave credit to Isanti County Judge James Dehn for organizing the event.

“I’m absolutely awed by the amount of work Judge Dehn has done on this event and coordinating everyone’s schedule to make this work,” Ekstrum said. “A lot of people are giving up their time today to be here and make this a successful event.”

Ekstrum has served as a judge for more than seven years and currently serves as a judge in Stillwater.

“The Equal Justice Committee has approximately 20 members that consists of judges, prosecuting and defense attorneys, public defenders, court administrators, law enforcement, mental and social health workers, probation and more. We have a nice cross section of people to lead us in the right direction for the issues we have to deal with,” Ekstrum said.

The Equal Justice Committee meets every two months and also hosts and participates in events relating to criminal justice.

“We have a number of issues we look at, but we are not a committee to solve all the problems,” Ekstrum said. “But we do look at all the information we are given on an issue from the citizens and have a discussion. The concept of providing equal justice and access to justice is important to everyone.”

 

 

 

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