Our History

For more than 100 years, we have been dedicated to providing top-notch services to the people we serve. Each year, we help thousands of individuals and families seek justice, peace, and a new sense of hope. 

100 years of justice

Founded in 1909, SMRLS is the oldest legal aid provider in the state. In our 100 plus year history, our firm has gained national recognition for our tradition of sound management and innovative approach to legal services for low-income families and individuals.

Originally established as a branch of Associated Charities, to provide legal advice and representation to low-income people, our organization became Legal Assistance of Ramsey County (LARC) in 1966 and was among the first legal aid programs in the country to receive federal funding. In 1979, LARC was merged into SMRLS when services were expanded to cover the southern third of the state.  

Dedicated to serving southern Minnesota

SMRLS currently serves the 33 counties of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities’ east and south metro, as well as agricultural workers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.

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