Dori Rapaport is the Executive Director of Justice North. Since 2017, Dori has led Justice North through continuous transformation to effectively serve its 27,000 square mile region of Minnesota through use of technology, process improvement, and coordination with statewide justice partners. Dori began her career as a staff attorney at Indian Legal Assistance Program, a program that provides civil and criminal law services to the indigent and Native American communities. In 2011, Dori was hired as the Executive Director of the Volunteer Attorney Program (VAP), where she worked to revitalize the pro bono commitment of the private bar in the Northeastern region, eventually leaving in 2017 to join the team at Justice North.
During her time at Justice North, Dori has focused on leveraging technological innovations to improve Justice North’s operations, and more recently to increase access to legal services for Justice North’s rural and urban communities. As part of the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, Dori works extensively on statewide initiatives, including state funding, coordinating infrastructure, and most recently legal aid’s responses to the challenges from the pandemic. In 2020, Dori helped establish Minnesota’s statewide Reach Justice Project, where legal aid received funds to invest in technological initiatives, such as Minnesota’s Legal Kiosk Project.
Dori currently serves on multiple statewide committees focused on access to justice, including serving as co-chair of Minnesota’s Civil Justice Committee, where she is currently working on initiatives that embrace virtual services and coordination with the courts to help legal aid continue serving more individuals than they have historically been able to, particularly in rural areas. Dori has received recognition for her leadership and commitment to public service: the Bernard P. Becker Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association, (2016); a 20 Under 40 Honoree from the Duluth News Tribune (2014), and the Arthur T. Pfefer Memorial Award from the Twin Cities Cardozo Society (2008).
Tiffany Doherty joined Justice North in 2018. As Director of Advocacy, she supervises the legal staff and legal program, as well as collaborates on local, statewide and national initiatives. Her professional focus has been to increase access to justice and legal representation to low-income communities. Tiffany’s work was recognized by the Minnesota State Bar Association as the recipient of the 2020 Bernard P. Becker Emerging Leader Award. She volunteers in her community, is a board member to a local non-profit and was recently the President of the 11th District Bar Association.
Prior to joining Justice North, Tiffany worked as a public defender and private practice attorney in central Minnesota where she also spent several years as a Mock Trial coach and pro bono volunteer, was chair of the local school board and spent 2016 as a Humphrey School of Public Policy Fellow focusing on systematic issues in the criminal justice system.
She holds a Juris Doctor cum laude from Hamline University School of Law, where she was a Presidential Scholar, Law Review Associate Editor and placed nationally in the William McGee Civil Rights Moot Court, and a bachelor’s degree cum laude from Hamline University College of Liberal Arts. Tiffany is licensed to practice in the State of Minnesota and the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
Tara Serck began as the Director of Finance and Administration at Justice North in July 2020. After completing her B. Acc. at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, she began her professional career with the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) in governmental accounting, providing accounting to the seven arrowhead counties of Northern Minnesota. From there, she shifted her career from non-profit accounting to higher education where she was the Sr. Budget Analyst for The College of St. Scholastica, providing financial analysis, annual budgets, accounting and training to leadership as well as students. In 2016, The College of St. Scholastica
recognized Tara for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring. Tara went back to the non-profit world and became the Director of Finance (CFO) for Udac, Inc., an organization that provides opportunities to individuals of all abilities. Tara focuses on providing great customer service to coworkers, financial leadership to the organization and sharing her knowledge with the community.
Jim Vollstaedt is the Supervising Attorney at Justice North and assists with supervising the legal staff across Justice North's service area while maintaining a caseload of clients. Jim graduated summa cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in 2012. While in law school, Jim worked for Justice North and volunteered hundreds of hours with other legal services organizations. Jim has been practicing law primarily on the Iron Range and in Itasca County since 2012. Jim joined Justice North’s Virginia office in 2018.
Jim is a member and past president of the Range Bar Association, and a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA). Jim was formerly an MSBA-certified real property law specialist. Jim lives in Hibbing with his wife and daughters and in his spare time enjoys curling, hiking, biking, and spending time with family.
Mike Abrahamson is the IT Specialist and Office Manager at Justice North. He is an accomplished Technology Professional with an impressive 15-year track record in technology management and support services. His expertise extends to various critical areas of IT, including mergers and migrations to data warehousing and cybersecurity.
At Justice North, Mike is tasked with finding the most beneficial ways technology and its support can be used to help bridge a faster and easier connection for Justice North clients and staff.
Mike graduated from Bemidji State University with a B.S. in Management Information Systems before tackling complex IT challenges and working in many vital support roles for larger corporations. During this time Mike achieved many different certifications from Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
In his free time, Mike enjoys golfing and spending time with his large local family.
Rachel Albertson has served as the Development and Communications Manager for Justice North since 2020. Rachel has spent much of her career focused on finding innovative and effective ways to ensure equal access to justice in rural Minnesota.
Rachel joined Justice North in 2005 as a Paralegal following work in the private legal sector after graduating from the Minnesota School of Business. Over the years, she has taken on various projects, including serving as Justice North’s Reach Justice and Legal Kiosk Project Coordinator. Rachel was the recipient of the 2023 MSBA Bernard P. Becker Legal Advocate Award in recognition of her commitment and contributions to Minnesota civil legal services.
Rachel is a Minnesota Certified Paralegal (MnCP) and has served as the Regulation Committee Chair for the Minnesota Paralegal Association (MPA) since 2020. She is also a participant in the Minnesota Legal Paraprofessional Pilot Project (LPPP).
Ali Hanson is the Intake and Data Manager at Justice North, supervising intake staff and processes. Ali graduated from the University of Minnesota–Duluth and began her career with Justice North as a Legal Assistant in 2011. Ali's expertise has been pivotal in shaping the statewide coordinated intake process and she was a key player in implementing the online intake scheduling system at Justice North. Ali enjoys road trips with her boyfriend, kayaking, and watching sports in her free time.
Eve Utyro started at Justice North in 2006 and graduated with an AAS in Paralegal Studies from Lake Superior College in 2013. Eve spent the majority of her time at Justice North assisting and representing clients in subsidized housing application denials and terminations. In 2019, Eve began building the program and operations for the introduction of the Private Attorney Involvement Program. In 2021 she became Manager of PAI and continues to work in this capacity. Eve is a former Board Member for the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA) in Superior, Wisconsin, and is a current Advisory Committee Member for Lake Superior College’s Paralegal Program. Eve lives in Superior with her son, Abraham, and her cat Bandit.
Ellen Anderson joined Justice North in 2018 as an Attorney based in our Duluth office. Prior to working at Justice North, Ellen was a law clerk for the Honorable Mark Munger in the Sixth Judicial District. She attended Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, MN. In her spare time, she coaches cross-country skiing in Duluth.
Laurie Bauerly is an Attorney based in our Grand Rapids office. Laurie's journey in the legal field began after she graduated from Rutgers Law School. She embarked on a rewarding path, starting with a judicial clerkship in Cass County before becoming an Assistant Public Defender with the Ninth Judicial District. For nearly fifteen years, Laurie served as an Assistant Public Defender with the Ninth Judicial District, passionately advocating for justice and her clients’ rights.
Laurie joined Justice North in 2021 where she remains committed to providing legal representation to those who need it most. In her spare time, Laurie enjoys camping and traveling with her family.
Emily Burrows is a Paralegal and Minnesota Legal Paraprofessional (LPP) with Justice North. She joined the Justice North team in 2019. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from St. Cloud State University.
Nacole Carlson is a Paralegal and a rostered Minnesota Legal Paraprofessional (LPP) with Justice North since 2019. Nacole enjoys providing those who are economically vulnerable, facing homelessness, or survivors of domestic violence to understand and access legal assistance. Nacole has over two decades of experience including the Guardian Ad Litem Program, Social Early Neutral Evaluation training, and private practice. Nacole spends her free time with family and her two pups and enjoys exploring the outdoors hiking and kayaking in northern Minnesota.
Lori Cyr is the Intake Coordinator for Justice North. She joined Justice North in 2021 as a Legal Assistant. Prior to that, Lori worked for decades in the healthcare field where she gained compassion and a lifelong commitment to helping people in need. Lori was born and raised on the Iron Range and although she moved to the San Francisco Bay area for thirteen years, she returned to her hometown area and is proud to serve her community. In her free time, Lori enjoys drawing, painting and hunting for agates on the north shore of Lake Superior.
Alyssa Dogeagle is a Legal Assistant based in the Brainerd office. She grew up in Washington State where she worked as a paralegal for over ten years in both the criminal defense field and plaintiff’s personal injury. Alyssa enjoys traveling and showing her children new places, spending as much time outside as possible, and gardening.
Steve Dorshkind is a dedicated Attorney based in the Virginia office. Steve served as a Law Clerk at Justice North during his time in law school, working closely with clients in the areas of wills, guardianship, powers of attorney, and medical assistance. Steve graduated from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in 2022 and continues to serve individuals with their critical civil legal needs as an attorney.
Nate Grizzle joined Justice North as their Communication and Outreach Coordinator in February of 2023. Before coming to Justice North, Nate spent his career in radio--both as a host and behind the scenes managing on-air talent, programming, branding, and communication strategy. Nate holds a bachelor's degree in Electronic Media Communication, and has been proud to call Minnesota home since 2013.
Nick Hallman is the Family Law Lead Attorney at Justice North and specializes in all aspects of Minnesota family law. While based in Duluth, he practices throughout Justice North’s eleven-county service area, including the tribal courts. Nick also hosts monthly family law and domestic violence clinics, with a focus on advocating for survivors of abuse and preserving families.
Additionally, Nick is a member of the Sixth Judicial District’s Equal Justice Committee, which among other things, works to provide assistance and outreach between community members and the judicial branch.
Ashley Kenjalo joined Justice North in August 2023 as a Legal Assistant. At Justice North, Ashley brings her passion to ensuring those in need find the support and guidance they deserve.
Ashley has been working in human services for eleven years, with an emphasis on homeless programs. Prior to joining Justice North, Ashley worked as a Housing Case Manager at a local homeless shelter.
Beyond work, she enjoys training in Jiu-Jitsu and traveling the world.
Kelly Kerr is a Legal Assistant in the Grand Rapids office. She holds an AAS degree in paralegal studies and a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology. Kelly has worked in the public and private sectors of the legal and human services fields throughout her career. Kelly is also a volunteer for Great Tails Animal Rescue in Itasca County. She likes to crochet, bake, and watch documentaries in her spare time.
Anna Koller is a Paralegal and Minnesota Legal Paraprofessional with Justice North. Anna joined Justice North in 2008 and specializes in family law and criminal expungements. She considers it a privilege to be able to help and serve the organization’s client communities and to work alongside such dedicated and compassionate colleagues. Anna speaks French and studies Russian, loves dogs and summer, and believes that any day on a lake is a good day.
Peter LaCourse is the Housing Law Lead Attorney at Justice North. He specializes in all areas of housing law, including public and private landlord evictions, Section 8 terminations, emergency tenant remedy actions, eviction expungements, and rent escrow actions. Based in Duluth, Peter leads Justice North in their mission to provide representation to every tenant in eviction court within the eleven-county service area.
Katelyn Leyva graduated from the Touro Law School located on Long Island, New York in May 2021. She is passionate about helping others and has experience in representing clients who struggle with mental health, have learning disabilities, and/or are low-income. During law school, Katelyn belonged to the Moot Court Honor Society. As a member of the Moot Court, she was able to compete against other law students nationally and was thereafter selected to serve as a coach. After graduating, Katelyn worked as a law clerk at Nassau Suffolk Law Services (“NSLS”). NSLS is one of New York’s largest non-profit law firms. She focused on Social Security Disability law, as well as housing. Katelyn began as an Attorney at Justice North in August of 2022. She often represents tenants in eviction trials and housing-related hearings. Issues commonly addressed include utility disputes, emergency repairs, expungements, tenant remedies actions, retaliation cases, and more. Katelyn is passionate about all things social justice and loves belonging to the Justice North team!
Melissa Luokkala is a Paralegal based in the Duluth office of Justice North. She holds an AAS Degree in Paralegal Studies. Melissa has worked in the legal field for over two decades and has been with Justice North since 2019. Her primary focus is family law, assisting clients with dissolution, custody, parenting time, and orders for protection. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys thrifting and combing the beaches of Lake Superior.
Emilee Meyer is an Attorney based out of the Virginia, MN office. She is proud to have worked on poverty-related issues since her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, where she graduated in 2015 with a double major in Political Science and Public Administration. Emilee spent over a year serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Billings, Montana working on homelessness and housing-related issues. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2020.
In addition to her work at Justice North, Emilee also teaches courses for the Paralegal and Legal Assistant programs at Lake Superior College in Duluth.
Geoffrey Miller joined Justice North in 2017 in the Pine City office after three decades of private practice experience in the Twin Cities. With a rich and diverse legal background, he focuses on family law and housing cases at Justice North. Geoffrey believes that the law should be about helping people. He works closely with his clients to build trust and open communication which leads to practical solutions for their legal problems. Geoff prides himself on his approachability and creating a good rapport with his clients.
Geoff holds an undergraduate degree in English and a law degree from Hamline University.
Kiana Morrison is a Family Law Paralegal based in Duluth and serving Justice North's Virginia office. Prior to joining Justice North in 2023, Kiana worked for 12 years for the Mille Lacs Band in Tribal Government. Most recently she was at Indian Legal Assistance Program. Kiana is passionate about helping people. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her kids, her family, and reading.
Jesse Oelfke is an Attorney based in the Brainerd office. He joined Justice North in 2023 after seven years of practicing as a Public Defender. Jesse is originally from Frazee, MN, and he attended undergrad at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and law school at William Mitchell School of Law. Jesse brings solo practitioner and public defender experience to Justice North. He practiced as a public defender in the McLeod and Crow Wing County Public Defender’s Office prior to joining Justice North.
Jeanette Pangburn is a Paralegal with Justice North. She began her career with Justice North in 2006 as a Legal Assistant. Jeanette focuses primarily on family law and housing matters. During her downtime, Jeanette enjoys gardening and hiking, with fall being her favorite time of year. She also enjoys vacations to the West Coast to visit family. Jeanette is involved with the Master Gardener Program through the University of Minnesota; she is President of the North Country Gardeners and was instrumental in the development of the Bigfork School Garden.
Kristin Parendo is the Elder Law Lead Attorney for Justice North, out of the Duluth office, but she covers the entire eleven-county region. Seven of those counties fall within the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging region - clients 60 years of age or older within those counties have no asset or income limit per the Older Americans Act, but legal work is focused on those most in financial need. One of the big legal issues Kristin helps with is long-term care and Medical Assistance.
Kristin lives on a little farm with her husband, two children, and various animals.
Elizabeth Polling is as Attorney focused on serving the Brainerd and Pine City areas of Justice North. She clerked for the District Court in Duluth and for the Minnesota Court of Appeals before joining a private law office as an Associate Attorney in Cloquet, Minnesota. Prior to joining Justice North, Elizabeth most recently served as an Assistant Public Defender in the 6th Judicial District.
Angelica Ramirez joined Justice North in 2023 as a Housing Attorney. She has served as a federal,
state, and tribal prosecutor and practiced law in the Red Lake Nation, the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, and the White Earth Nation. Angelica is a 2015 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and a 2011 graduate of Northland College. She is a Texas transplant and has lived in the midwest for nearly 16 years. She is a first-generation college graduate, the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, a fluent Spanish speaker, and Ojibwemowin learner. Angelica lives with her spunky daughter and high-energy Catahoula. They love spending time outdoors, going to pow wows, and engaging in the community. Angelica is a dedicated public servant and has come to this position with a strong desire to provide direct client services to the most vulnerable in our community.
Jude Schmit is the Public Benefits Lead Attorney at Justice North, focusing on benefits and housing law for Justice North out of the Duluth and Brainerd offices but covers the entire eleven-county region. Jude recently authored an article for the Mitchell Hamline Law Review, Witnessed From the Justice Bus: Covid Drove Equal Justice Off the Road, But Technology Grabbed the Wheel and is Steering Us into the Future. The article explores the various measures taken by Justice North to help close the gaps in justice occurring throughout rural Minnesota.
Jude is also a volunteer for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL) where he serves on the board and visits attorneys at Hazelden once a month.
Cheryl Smilanich is a Paralegal at Justice North. She joined the team in 2019 with over thirty-five years of experience. Cheryl came to Justice North after working for over twenty years at a private firm focusing on personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability. She now focuses on housing law at Justice North. Cheryl enjoys bringing a sense of relief to people experiencing some of the worst times in their lives by helping them access justice in a legal system that is intimidating and confusing. Cheryl is active in her community and has volunteered with Chisholm Kiwanis and Domestic Abuse Project. She enjoys reading, boating, fishing, and a cup of coffee with good friends.
Lauren Sorgaard joined Justice North in 2022 as a Legal Assistant and transitioned to Housing Paralegal in 2023. She brings over a decade of legal experience to our team. Lauren enjoys coffee, reading, camping and spending time with her family.
Tracy Stoddard is a Legal Assistant based in the Duluth office of Justice North. She has a bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies. Prior to joining the Justice North team, Tracy worked in Court Administration for 9 years. Tracy enjoys providing great customer service with a positive attitude while assisting clients, stakeholders, and partners. In her spare time, Tracy enjoys crocheting.
Kevin Swanberg joined Justice North in 2021 as a Law Clerk and Grant Writer. Kevin is currently a law student at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. Before coming to Legal Aid, Kevin worked as a writing teacher and freelance writer. At Justice North, Kevin focuses on representing clients in housing and family law cases.
Jess Wilson has 9 years of paralegal experience. Prior to proudly joining Justice North in 2022, Jess previously worked in private practice and Court Administration.
As the Coordinator for the Private Attorney Involvement Program, it is Jess’s goal to make sure clients receive the equal access to justice they deserve and to make them feel like they matter.
Outside of work, Jess enjoys watching True Crime documentaries, spending time with family, hanging out with her dog, and hiking.
Art Wolf joined Justice North as an Attorney in 2018. Art primarily focuses on family law matters, assisting individuals and families in resolving complex issues with a client-centered approach ensuring his clients receive the support and guidance they need during emotionally trying times.
Art graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 2016 and has a background in criminal and family law.
Bethanie Zollar is a dedicated Law Student Practitioner, currently attending Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. Bethanie holds a bachelor's degree in paralegal science and business. Her journey into the legal profession began seven years ago when she embarked on a career as a paralegal.
For the past five years, Bethanie has been a member of the Justice North team, where her primary focus has been family law. She provides essential support and guidance to individuals navigating the complexities of family legal matters.
Bethanie is excited to continue her dedication to equal access to justice as an attorney providing services to those who are unable to afford representation.
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