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Justin Page
Justin Page is a supervising attorney at the Minnesota Disability Law Center, a division of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid. (Submitted photo)

Breaking the Ice: Speaking up for people with disabilities

Attorney Justin Page, who has worked with people with disabilities for two decades, is representing their perspective as a newly appointed member of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection.

“It’s important that we have judges who are fair and independent and can show empathy especially to people with disabilities,” said Page, a supervising attorney at the Minnesota Disability Law Center, a division of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.

Page also serves on the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) board and was on a state working group focused on police-involved deadly force encounters.

Encouragement to give back, Page said, came from his parents, retired Minnesota Supreme Court justice and former Minneapolis Vikings star Alan Page and the late Diane Sims Page.

His motivation to represent people with disabilities also is personal.

“As an individual with a disability and growing up receiving accommodations, even though the process generally worked out for me, I wanted to use my expertise to help others in navigating the law,” Page said.

Name: Justin Page

Title: Supervising attorney, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid/Minnesota Disability Law Center

Education: B.A., politics, University of Wisconsin-Madison; J.D., University of Iowa College of Law

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: I’m a huge Vikings fan. If you don’t know me and want to have a conversation, talking Vikings football is a great way to start.

Q: Why law school?

A: My parents gave back to the public, started the Page Education Foundation, made us kids know how fortunate we were and that we should think about giving back and working on behalf of justice. That struck a chord in me, so I went to law school to help people.

Q: What are you reading?

A: “The Violin Conspiracy” by Brendan Slocumb. It’s fiction, about an African American violinist  — not many African American violinists. He finds a violin in his grandmother’s closet that his grandfather had. The violin is worth a lot of money and potentially belongs to a slaveholder of his great-great grandfather and they make a claim on the violin. It highlights his experience as a very decorated African American violinist. It’s not a traditional book that I would have read, but it was fascinating.

Q: Pet peeve?

A: Trying to get my kids off screens and get them to play the piano.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: Working with people to try to resolve their legal issues. Whether that’s someone receiving personal care assistance services who’s had their number of hours reduced, representing them in an administrative appeal or working on litigation, for example, with the Minnesota State High School League and making sure people with disabilities are being provided with reasonable accommodations, I enjoy working with people and helping them try to resolve their issues.

Q: Most challenging?

A: Unfortunately, our office doesn’t have the resources to represent everybody. I try to refer people to other resources but it’s difficult to say, no, I’m not able to help.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: My kids are in middle school. I enjoy watching my daughter’s gymnastics meets, going to my son’s basketball games or watching when they have piano concerts. Otherwise, I am a big runner and enjoy running.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: Born and raised in Minneapolis. I love hamburgers, so I would take someone to Matt’s Bar. They have the best hamburgers in town.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: My dad, Alan Page. He’s a man of immense character, a towering figure. It could be that I’m the son. That’s part of it, obviously. But there’s a lot of people who love my dad. He’s just been a great role model.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work?

A: That, unless you’re doing criminal law, you’re in court all the time, have all these trials and it’s just like what’s on TV. It’s a lot more reading and writing.

Q: Favorite book, movie or TV show about lawyers?

A: I enjoy reading a good John Grisham novel. One of my favorite nonfiction books is Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy.”

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