Minnesota Disability Law Center

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Disability Law Center

The Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) is the federally designated Protection and Advocacy* agency for people with disabilities in Minnesota. We are lawyers and advocates providing free legal help to people with disabilities on disability rights issues. We help people with any type of disability, of any age, at all income levels, across Minnesota.

We provide information to help people with disabilities understand their rights, advise them on how to advocate for themselves, and provide resources and referrals. We share information, advice and/or representation on disability rights issues. We also have federal access authority to monitor and investigate facilities that serve people with disabilities.

*Every state has a Protection and Advocacy (P & A) organization.

Mother and daughter with Down syndrome looking at a laptop in the kitchen.

Our Priorities

MDLC has four priorities to address the legal needs of clients with disabilities. We advocate to:

  • Eliminate abuse and neglect
  • Increase integration and decrease discrimination
  • Increase access to appropriate services
  • Increase statewide awareness of MDLC as an advocacy resource

These four goals are part of MDLC’s Five-Year Strategic Plan. To comment on the plan, please send an email to mndlc@mylegalaid.org.

Read about our current focus areas and share your thoughts on the priorities for our communities and legal issues. If you’d like to provide feedback in person, please reach to the Deputy Director, Jenn Purrington, at 612-746-3733.

A young man walks outside with crutches.

What We Don’t Do

Unfortunately, MDLC cannot help everyone who contacts us due to limited funds, grant requirements, and our case selection guidelines and priorities. Additionally, we do not typically file complaints solely for money damages, and we often focus our litigation efforts on systemic issues.

We also can’t help with:

  • Mental health commitment defense
  • Social security disability appeals
  • Representation in guardianship proceedings
  • Personal injury and medical malpractice cases
  • Criminal cases
  • Workers’ compensation cases
  • Family law issues (like divorce, custody or child support)
  • Estate planning
  • Assisted Living Termination Appeals

Advisory Councils

Our Developmental Disabilities Advisory Committee is comprised of individuals with developmental disabilities or their family members, advocates or other legal representatives, and providers of developmental disability services. The committee advises the Disability Law Center on case selection, abuse and neglect protections, disability rights protections and access to appropriate, individualized services and supports in education, health/social services and employment.

The Mental Health PAIMI* Advisory Council (PAC) is made up of people with experience, expertise and interest in mental health issues. PAC members advise MDLC on policies and priorities to be carried out in protecting and advocating for the rights of individuals with mental illness.

*Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness