Pro se services manager, 4th Judicial District
Susan Ledray wants everyone to have equal access to justice.
As the pro se services manager for Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District, Ledray has managed Hennepin County’s two Self-Help Centers for pro se litigants since 1999 and manages the online Minnesota Courts Self-Help Center, which serves the entire state. The centers help about 60,000 people a year with criminal expungements, family law and civil matters.
Ledray also took the lead in developing the online I-CAN! Divorce and A2J Harassment programs, which use simple language to ask questions, save answers and automatically fill out all of the forms one needs to obtain a divorce or a harassment restraining order.
Because of her diligence and dedication, pro se litigants spend less time asking court staff for help and come to court better prepared, according to Mark Thompson, Fourth District court administrator. This leads to fewer continuances and cancellations, reducing court costs, as well.
Ledray applies for and administers grants to fund the county’s pro se services.
“We serve clients for about the price of a McDonald’s lunch,” Thompson said. “Her value is $200,000 to $400,000 a year in terms of the deliverables of what she saves us.”
Ledray’s mission dovetails with the court’s: to provide equal access to justice through timely resolution of cases and controversies. Her reward is relieved pro se litigants and appreciative judges.
“I like the fact that it’s problem-solving and it has major impact on the experience the public has with the court system and with access to justice,” Ledray said, “for people to be able to feel that they can get their matters resolved in court, regardless of whether they can afford an attorney or not.”