Band Member Legal Services

About us:

The Band Member Legal Services is an independent agency of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe established to provide indigent services to Band members, whose funding shall be provided by appropriations by the Band Assembly and, to the extent possible, by charitable or grant funds provided by outside entities. Band Member Legal Services shall be under the administrative control of the board. 15 MLBSA 3 §901-§912.

Staff

Managing Attorney: Kerri Johnson kerri.johnson@millelacsband.com
Staff Attorney: Diane Poss diane.poss@millelacsband.com
Staff Attorney: Vacant
Paralegal/Office Manager: Shannon Nayquonabe Shannon.nayquonabe2@millelacsband.com
Civil Administrative Assistant: Bruce Harrington bruce.harrington@millelacsband.com
Civil Case Support Manager: Amelia Opager amelia.opager@millelacsband.com
Receptionist: Karri Kegg karri.kegg@millelacsband.com

Contract Attorney Representation Available as assigned:

Central MN Conflict and Pro Se Services, LLC.
As assigned provides legal representation to clients in Mille Lacs Band Tribal Court in civil matters.
McKinnis and Doom
As assigned provides legal representation to clients in civil matter Mille Lacs Band Tribal Court and Minnesota State District Courts.
SailorsAllen Law
As assigned provides legal representation to clients in criminal matters in the Seventh Judicial District Court of Minnesota. (Mille Lacs)
Simafranca Law
As assigned provides legal representation to clients in civil and criminal matters in the Second and Fourth District Courts of Minnesota. (Hennepin and Ramsey)

Court Transport: 320-279-0054
Michael Quinn
Jessi Kegg

Service Area

Civil cases in Tribal court, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Hennepin, and Ramsey Counties
Child Custody and Child Protection Matters: ALL COUNTIES WITHIN MINNESOTA

Criminal and traffic cases in Tribal court, Aitkin, Crow Wing, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Hennepin, and Ramsey Counties.

Goals

  1. To provide Client centered representation in civil and criminal matters
  2. Client-Centered Representation versus “Attorney-Centered” Representation. Client-Centered conveys different meanings to different people. For us, it means that the lawyers and members of the defense team recognize and respect the client’s authority, ability and right to dictate the direction that the client’s case should take after being fully advised of all available options
  3. Creative Advocacy
  4. Bringing clarity and purpose to the issues faced within the Mille Lacs Band community in which Band Members have identified to be existing cyclical issues in their lives through client focused services to empower client confidence, access to services, accountability, communication and independence.
  5. Continual Training for all Staff and Community
  6. Providing information to staff and the community to enhance knowledge of ongoing legal issues that affect the lives of the community.

How To Obtain Services

Every Band Member must call the Band Member Legal Services Office and complete an intake to begin the process of receiving services. This a required process in order to receive services. The intake process is a short process utilized to obtain relevant information necessary to determine client information and identify type of representation needed. When calling the office to complete an intake please have court file information, court case number, hearing information, and personal identifying information available.

Your intake will be processed for any conflicts of representation, reviewed for further follow up, and assigned to an attorney. Attorneys and staff will follow up on an intake within 72 business hours of receipt.

Eligibility

We provide legal representation and services to enrolled members of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. These services are subject to review pursuant to the MN Rules of Professional Conduct and The MN Bar Association.

Accepted Services:

Cases We CANNOT Accept:

  • Suing another band member
  • Drug Crimes unless it is a first-time possession charge of third degree or lesser
  • Criminal Appeals
  • Personal injury
  • Bankruptcy
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Employment discrimination
  • Wrongful termination
  • Federal court cases
  • Civil commitments (does preclude Tribal Court Adult Guardianship)
  • Cases outside our service area

Expectations of Representation

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING SERVICES

Client Expectations:

  • Attend all scheduled appointments, meetings, and court hearings in my case.
  • Respond truthfully to my attorney’s requests for information about my case.
  • Provide documents and information requested by my attorney for preparation of my case.
  • Provide a current mailing address and working phone number.
  • Update BMLS if my phone number or address changes.
  • Client understands it is their responsibility to provide and maintain current contact information.
  • Obey all court orders as directed by my attorney.

Attorney Expectation/Requirement:

  • Not charge me for this legal representation, although I may be responsible for court costs and fees.
  • Let me know what is going on with my case and discuss important decisions about the case.
  • Represent me responsibly and provide legal advice about what to do on my case.
  • Return my calls in a reasonable amount of time. I understand it is my responsibility to provide and maintain current contact information.

Expectation of the Representation:

  • BMLS only agrees to help with the legal problem named in this agreement. If client has other legal problems that they want help with, client will need to complete an intake and sign a new retainer agreement.
  • BMLS will not share private information about my case with anyone outside BMLS without my permission unless Court ordered. BMLS may discuss my case with outside consultants if needed.
  • BMLS cannot guarantee a particular outcome for my case.
  • BMLS will not automatically appeal if client loses or is unhappy with a result. BMLS may appeal my case with my permission if BMLS believes the appeal has merit and the attorney has the time to devote to an appeal. An appeal will require a new, signed Representation Agreement.

Ending the Representation:

By Client:
Client can request to end the representation by telling my attorney that I do not want to be a client anymore or that I want to drop my case. I understand that for certain cases, my attorney may not be able to withdraw from representation until the judge allows it.

By Attorney:
I understand that BMLS can end their representation of me if:

  • My attorney cannot get ahold of me
  • I do not appear for meetings, court hearings, and trials
  • I disobey a court order that my attorney told me to obey
  • It is a conflict of interest to continue to represent me
  • I ask my attorney to do something unethical or illegal.
  • I fail to cooperate with my attorney about any reasonable request

Cost

Legal services and representation are free to Band members. Clients do have to pay certain expenses associated with their case, such as court filing fees, fines, service of process, and other court-related fees. Some fees can be waived by the Court based on income. There may be some fees associated with your case for filing and service fees if not income eligible.