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Lawyers for Learners receives community partner award

Moraine Park Technical College recently recognized Lawyers for Learners and Legal Action of Wisconsin, a Lawyers for Learners’ legal partner, with their 2022 Community Partner Award. Moraine Park gives this award to organizations who go “above and beyond” in partnering with their students to impact the community.

“Legal Action and Ascendium did an amazing job providing opportunities for students across multiple programs to engage in a positive service-learning experience,” said Bobbi Fields, dean of applied technology and trades at Moraine Park. “More so, these students worked with the community partner to provide a very impactful legal service to our extended Moraine Park community! They truly were, and continue to be, excellent partners. I am happy that we are acknowledging them and hope that our collaborations continue to grow.”

During the 2021-22 school year, Lawyers for Learners hosted two in-person legal clinics at Moraine Park campuses, working with volunteer paralegal and pre-law students to provide free, confidential legal help to students and community members. “It means the world to me that I am gaining real life experience necessary to work as a paralegal,” said one of the students who volunteered at the legal clinics. “I have enjoyed these volunteer opportunities because I truly feel like I am making a difference to help those with limited to no income with being able to speak with an attorney.” Besides attending the legal clinics at Moraine Park, students and community members can also request legal help online through the Lawyers for Learners’ website.

Since its inception in the fall of 2019, Lawyers for Learners has continued to expand across Wisconsin. In addition to Moraine Park, Lawyers for Learners partners with about a dozen other colleges. These colleges train staff to identify potential legal issues, share information about Lawyers for Learners and provide campus space and technology for appointments and legal clinics.

people enjoying the ceremony

“Our technical college partners are key to Lawyers for Learners’ success,” said Rebecca Rapp, Ascendium’s general counsel and chief privacy officer and a founding member of Lawyers for Learners. “Many people don’t know their stressors are legal issues, and the legal system can be very intimidating. Technical colleges help bridge the justice gap by building awareness and trust with people who can benefit from legal help. They are also creating the next generation of lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants — this is particularly critical in rural areas that lack legal professionals. We’re so honored to receive this award from Moraine Park and look forward to continuing our partnership with them to increase access to justice and to remove the barriers to education and employment that legal problems cause.”