LAW at Open Door

stethoscope gavel onsite attorney free legal help

Health and Legal Issues

Legal problems can complicate health issues. Legal help is very expensive. Knowing this, Open Door Health Center (ODHC) and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) have partnered to allow low income ODHC patients free legal help within a convenient clinical setting.

LAW at Open Door

The partnership is called “Lawyers Advancing Wellness at Open Door” (LAW at Open Door. It is possible due to a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota.

Who is Eligible?

LAW attorneys can help ODHC patients determine if they are eligible for free legal services, based on income guidelines.


The main focus of LAW at Open Door is to address legal issues affecting patient health or well-being. 

Services provided through LAW at Open Door

Family Law 

  • Child custody/Divorce 
  • Domestic Abuse 
  • Restraining Orders, Orders For Protection (OFP) 


  • Eviction 
  • Poor housing conditions 
  • Problems with your landlord 
  • Housing/rental discrimination 
  • Loss of a rental assistance or subsidy 
  • Public Housing problems 
  • “Reasonable Accommodations” of disabilities 

Criminal Records 

Getting an old criminal record sealed that is a barrier to getting a job, housing or a license. 

Government Benefits 

  • Social Security disability appeals 
  • Medical Assistance/MNSURE/Minnesota Care appeals 
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) appeals

Elder/Senior Law 

  • Housing Law 
  • Health Law, including Medical Assistance, Medicare, long term care, health care directives. 
  • Social Security and SSI problems 
  • Wills, Power of Attorney, etc. 
  • Debt collection problems 
  • Education 
  • Special education services for students with disabilities 
  • English language learners 
  • Education of students experiencing homelessness 
  • Racial discrimination and bias in schools 


  • VAWA petitions, U visas 
  • Permanent residence and citizenship applications 
  • Replacement of lost or expiring documents 
  • Some family visa petitions 


  • Racial, gender, sexual orientation discrimination 
  • Education discrimination 

Utility Cases 

  • Water/electricity shutoff issues 
  • Negotiate payment plans 
  • And more!


Debtor protection, such as bankruptcy, debt collection, wage garnishment, negotiating payment plans, and more. 
Employment issues, such as wrongful termination, job discrimination, harassment, and more. 
Individual, state, and federal tax issues; wills and estate planning issues; and more! 

Services not covered: 

  • Personal injury 
  • Criminal defense 
  • Juvenile protection and most CHIPS cases 


Meet our Staff Attorney


LAW at Open Door Brochure


Legal Checkups Available 

“Legal checkups” are available for eligible Open Door patients. An attorney will meet with you to help identify legal problems and possible solutions. Legal problems needing additional advice or full representation will be referred to other attorneys for further legal assistance whenever possible. Legal checkup clinics will be scheduled at Open Door locations. Contact LAW at Open Door for more information or to schedule a legal checkup.

SMRLS is Hiring!

POSITION: Volunteer Attorney Coordinator – LAW at Open Door, Mankato Office

This is a new position funded by a Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant from the federal Legal Services Corporation to increase client access in remote locations by recruiting, training and supporting
volunteer attorneys to provide low income persons with “legal checkups” at the Open Door Health Center in Mankato and at its satellite locations throughout southern Minnesota. SMRLS’ healthcare-legal partnership, Lawyers Advancing Wellness at Open Door (LAW) integrates legal assistance into a healthcare setting. A SMRLS staff attorney has his office at the Open Door facility in Mankato.
Further information available at:

LAW at Open Door is a Healthcare-Legal Partnership, formed in 2016 between Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services and Open Door Health Center, and made possible by a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota.