Legal Aid Announces Mike Meister as new Scottsbluff managing attorney
SCOTTSBLUFF - Legal Aid of Nebraska officially announces the hiring of Scottsbluff attorney Mike Meister as the new managing attorney in its Scottsbluff office.
Meister takes over as Legal Aid’s western leader after an accomplished and honored 30 year legal career in private practice. Meister’s lengthy experience includes serving as a supervising trial attorney in Europe as a captain in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, and successful law firm practices in both partnerships and as a solo trial attorney practitioner in Scottsbluff.
“Mike brings to Legal Aid a depth of legal experience, trial skills, and commitment to equal justice that is practically unmatched in all of Nebraska, much less the Panhandle,” said Milo Mumgaard, executive director of Legal Aid. “We are exceptionally fortunate that Mike has decided to join Legal Aid at a time of expansion and our renewed commitment to bringing high quality legal services to low-income Nebraskans in every part of the state.”
Meister has an extensive record of public and community service, largely dedicated to fostering equal access to justice and to insuring a level playing field in the justice system. This includes serving as the President of the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys, board positions on many local and statewide civic and political organizations, and receiving extensive military commendations for extraordinary legal administration.
“Mike’s new role with Legal Aid includes not only directing our legal efforts throughout western Nebraska, but also engaging Legal Aid as an active partner in all the communities we serve,” said Mumgaard. “Mike’s long familiarity with the people, the local leaders and Bar members, and vibrant civic organizations throughout the Panhandle will greatly help Legal Aid do our job of ‘making equal justice happen’ all across Nebraska.”
“I am very enthusiastic about this new opportunity to use my experience, love of my local community, and strong commitment to justice for all with Legal Aid,” said Meister. “I have been a supporter of Legal Aid for many years, and I am excited by the direction of this important organization. When Milo approached me about this leadership position, I could see how my talents could really be a great fit with Legal Aid’s vision for the Panhandle of Nebraska. I’m ready to get busy!”
Meister joins a growing legal staff in the Scottsbluff office of Legal Aid, able to serve eligible low-income clients with free legal representation on a wide range of civil legal problems. This growing staff includes Adam Harper, staff attorney with the Native American Program; Katie Samples Dean, staff attorney with the Agricultural Workers Rights Program; Danny Reynaga, staff attorney with the REACH (Victims of Domestic Violence) Project; and Caryle Covalt, Office Manager and Paralegal.
In 2018, Legal Aid launched a three year strategic plan to focus and expand its services, insuring its resources are used most efficiently on the most significant civil legal needs of eligible clients. These legal needs are in the areas of family, housing, income, benefits, and consumer debt law. Clients apply for Legal Aid’s services through a statewide “AccessLine” or by applying online. In 2017, Legal Aid’s eight offices statewide served over 24,000 people, and expect these numbers to increase as new staff and resources are added in the next three years.
In Scottsbluff, plans for the next three years include increasing legal and office staff, providing more in-office and in-community hours, developing new community partnerships, and launching new legal services (such as a self-help assistance “Access to Justice Center”).
“It’s a troubling fact that almost 9 out of 10 civil legal problems experienced by low-income families receive inadequate or no legal help. This is a big problem, as landlord/tenant disputes, divorce or child-custody battles, unforeseen medical debt, and other seemingly simple yet critical unmet legal problems drive low-income families deeper into poverty, and burdens communities,” said Mumgaard. “At Legal Aid, we know our free legal help is often the one thing that stops and reverses this tragic course. Mike’s skills and leadership provides a powerful and inspiring addition to this work in western Nebraska.”
Individuals in need of legal assistance can find out more at Legal Aid’s website, www.legalaidofnebraska.org, or through the Legal Aid AccessLine, 1-877-250-2016.