Anishinabe Legal Services

411 1st St NWCass LakeMinnesota   56633
Anishinabe Legal Services, Cass Lake, Minnesota

PLEASE READ: Due to Health & Safety concerns pertaining to COVID-19 Anishinabe Legal Services has closed its doors to the public. WE ARE STILL OPEN, and will continue to serve our clients and the greater area. Please call us at: 218-335-2223. Miigwech – Thank You

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Cody Nelson Cody Nelson is the Executive Director at ALS. He has been with the program as a staff attorney since graduating magna cum laude from the University of St. Thomas School of Law in 2006. Cody is a licensed attorney in Minnesota as well as the tribal courts of Red Lake, White Earth, Mille Lacs, and Leech Lake. In his spare time, Cody enjoys watching movies, sports, and playing pool.

Lynn Wessel Lynn Wessel is our Financial Administrator. She joins ALS in 2018 with over 30 years’ experience in the financial industry. Lynn is originally from Grand Forks, North Dakota, but resided in the twin cities metro area before relocating back to the Northwoods within the past few years. Lynn and her husband reside in Bemidji with their daughter, and they all enjoy spending as much time on the lake as possible.

Chari LaDuke Chari LaDuke-Clark is the Administrative Director in our central office in Cass Lake. She has been employed with ALS since October 2006 and has been licensed as a Red Lake Nation Court Advocate since April of 2008. She is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. Born and raised in Minnesota, Chari and her family make their home in Bemidji. Her hobbies include travelling, spending time with her family and hanging out with friends.

Valerie Field Valerie Field is a Staff Attorney at ALS. She passed the Minnesota Bar exam in 2004. She grew up in northern Minnesota and is a graduate of Bemidji State University, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati School of Law in 2003. Valerie has worked for a legal service organization in Minnesota for 10 years. Prior to attending law school, Valerie worked for programs that help survivors of domestic violence as an advocate and later Program Director.

Ellen Weinberg Ellen Weinberg is the staff attorney in the White Earth office. She represents clients in child protection, guardianship, commitment, and landlord-tenant cases. She has a B.A. in ancient history from the University of Iowa and a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) in St. Paul. She is still a history buff. She founded the Moorhead Civil War Round Table in 2016, and loves reading, tennis, pickleball, vegetarian cooking, and dogs.

Rita Holler Rita Holler is a paralegal/non-attorney representative and Certified Disability Specialist. Rita graduated from Bryant & Stratton College with an Applied Science Degree in Paralegal Studies. To complete her degree requirements, she interned with Anishinabe Legal Services for over 400 hours and eventually was hired as a full time employee. Following that, she later moved to Duluth and worked for the Public Defender's office and two private attorneys. Rita has since returned to ALS and provides services primarily for disabled and vulnerable individuals including through the disability benefits approval process. Rita is excited to work more intensively with the SSI/RSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program initiative to reach the homeless citizens in our area and working to obtain benefits for their financial security. Rita has lived in Bemidji since 1989 and has four grown children, two boys and two girls, along with 5 grandchildren, and is happily expecting two new grandsons in 2019.

Mary Goggleye Mary C. Goggleye is our legal secretary who recently graduated with her Indigenous Leadership degree from Leech Lake Tribal College. She joined our team as a part time intern Spring 2019 to acquire her graduation requirement. In the summer, part-time turned into full-time intern, then was offered a full-time position. Mary is currently pursuing her BA in Law from the University of Arizona Online, with future plans to attend law school and eventually practice within the Ojibwe Nations in Minnesota. She is an Anishinabekwe enrolled in the Hopi Nation of Arizona. Her passions include fostering intertribal relations, and being a positive role-model for native youth. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her 5lb Chihuahua Poquito, and loves to create art.

Samir Grover Samir Grover is a paralegal/non-attorney representative. Samir graduated from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ with a Bachelor’s in Public Policy and Philosophy in May of 2019. His work experience in the past includes legal and legislative aid roles, working for the Mandela Washington Fellowship, and teaching special education in elementary schools. Samir’s primary role at Anishinabe Legal Services is to provide services for physically and mentally disabled individuals through SSI/RSDI outreach. He hopes to pursue law school in the future and become an attorney that specializes in protecting land rights. Samir grew up in New Jersey, with short stints in Toronto, and just moved to Northern Minnesota this year. In his free time Samir enjoys performing his raps/making music, listening to his records, road-tripping, and watching YouTube videos.

Andrea Szabo Andrea Szabo, "Dre," is a Staff Attorney at ALS. She grew up overseas before moving to Florida with her family as a teenager. In 2018, she graduated from University of Florida with a dual degree (J.D. and M.S) focusing on environmental and land use law. She was Vice President of her law school’s Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) and participated in the National NALSA Moot Court. Dre went to University of Montana’s law school for their American Indian and Indigenous Law Program. She co-authored an article in the Florida Bar Journal that was recently cited by the Florida legislature for the passage of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act. She recently relocated to Minnesota and is excited to be here! Dre will primarily be handling child protection cases in the Leech Lake Tribal Court. She is licensed to practice law in Minnesota, Florida and the tribal courts of Leech Lake and White Earth. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her pets, listening to music, and just about anything outdoors.

Megan Carmichael Megan Carmichael is a Staff Attorney at ALS. A native of North Dakota, Megan graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2017 with two bachelor's degrees in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. She also completed a minor in Chemistry. After finishing her undergraduate degrees, Megan attended the University of North Dakota School of Law. There, she competed in Moot Court, Trial Advocacy, and Criminal Trial Advocacy. She graduated in 2020 with a certificate in Indian Law. Megan’s past work experiences include: an internship with the federal public defender’s office in Bismarck, ND; clerking for Redmann Law, P.C. in Mandan; and completing an externship with the State Bar Association of North Dakota where she worked with the ND Legislature. Currently, Megan is a licensed attorney in Leech Lake, White Earth, North Dakota, and Minnesota. In her spare time, Megan enjoys spending the days with her fiancé and two dogs, solving puzzles, and listening/watching anything true crime.

Heather Labat Heather Labat is a Staff Attorney at ALS. She grew up on a farm near Marshall, MN, and graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2001 with her B.A. in History. A year later, she attended an accelerated paralegal certificate program receiving her certification in 2002 and started working for the U.S. District Court in MN as a docket clerk, and then as Calendar Clerk to U.S. District Court Judge James M. Rosenbaum. After spending over five years with Judge Rosenbaum, she moved on to her next adventure--law school. In May 2013, she graduated from William Mitchell College of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) and was admitted to the MN Bar in October 2013. Following graduation, she clerked for Judge Lyonel Norris in the Fourth Judicial District (Hennepin County). In January 2014, she moved to Bemidji after accepting a position with the Public Defender’s Office. She worked as an Assistant Public Defender in the Bemidji area and as an Assistant County Attorney in Clearwater County. Prior to accepting her position with ALS, she was the Affirmative Action Officer and Civil Rights & Title IX Investigator at Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. Heather lives outside of Bemidji with her significant other and their dogs. She loves to travel and watch sports, especially the Twins.

David Eischens David Eischens is a support staff member at ALS who is also training to become a certified disability advocate. He recently graduated with Honors from the Leech Lake Tribal College with a degree in Indigenous Leadership, and it was during his college career that David became acquainted with ALS through an internship. David is a White Earth Band of Chippewa tribal member and is currently residing in the greater Bemidji area with his fiancée and two children. David's hobbies include attending community functions, fishing with his children, and working on vehicles. He is very passionate about helping people and protecting the environment and looks forward to advocating on behalf of disabled clients.