On February 10, Amy Rotering and I attended the Community Connections Conference in Minneapolis to spread the word about the affordable legal services offered by the attorneys in CCLI’s incubator. People that stopped at CCLI’s table kindly asked for our boilerplate spiel. Some shared their story with us. Those who needed services were encouraged to call CCLI. Some just needed a listening ear. Some liked the idea of hiring an attorney to help them help themselves with transparent, ala-carte-type choices. Some stopped for the candy Amy brought. Several lit up with approval when they understood that ccli exists to help people who might otherwise be forced to self-represent. Some seemed genuinely thankful to have discovered CCLI because their organization serves clients who have legal needs and their organizations are not equipped for legal needs. The woman at the table next to ours said meeting us was “the gem of her day.” She was an incredible, articulate, eccentric-looking woman who had fascinating stories and made the day go quickly.
Amy and I took turns “networking” with people at other booths. I once asked CCLI director, Karin Ciano, what her goals are when she meets people at events such as these. She said she goes to “learn something.” I was surprised she did not say she goes to tell everyone about ccli’s services or her own private practice. Last week Karin was honored as a Minnesota Attorney of the Year. Karin’s words are worth heeding. So, I kept Karin’s words in mind and I learned. I learned that there is a country in Ethiopia named Oromo, that speaks Oromo and does beautiful beadwork. About 40,000 Oromo’s add to Minnesota’s rich culture. I spoke to a kind lady at the MN Employment and Economic Development table. They provide state services for the blind for free. She had an interesting display of products including the strongest magnifier I have ever seen. I took a card for a friend who recently lost her sight.
The 2018 Community Connections Conference was aptly named. An enthusiastic, “Let’s see how we can collaborate!” was heard and spoken more than once. CCLI were the only attorneys represented at the conference. Attending the conference was time well-spent. The most valuable thing Amy and I both took home were the new connections.