Minneapolis Partner Clint Conner received Volunteer Lawyers Network’s Volunteer of the Year Award for his work representing indigent tenants in housing litigation. Clint’s practice at Dorsey focuses on intellectual property with an emphasis on patent litigation, inter partes reviews, and patent enforcement strategies. He has handled patent disputes in federal courts around the country, at the International Trade Commission, and at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. He spent nearly five years representing companies in U.S. IP litigation while living and working in Tokyo, Japan.
 
In 2018, Clint provided 330 hours of pro bono legal services. Most of his pro bono time was devoted to landlord and tenant litigation in district and appellate courts. His cases included VLN eviction defense and emergency repairs cases, and an amicus brief to the Minnesota Supreme Court on landlord retaliation. He regularly volunteers at the VLN Housing Court Project Clinic and brings cases back to the office for full representation.

One of Clint’s VLN housing cases is a good example of his work. While volunteering at the Hennepin Housing Court Project clinic in mid-December of 2017, Clint met a tenant who had filed an emergency tenant remedies action against her landlord for not providing alternative housing while the landlord undertook extreme measures to remediate a severe mold problem, which measures left the tenant and her asthmatic eight-year old son’s apartment partially exposed to the subzero temperatures over the end-of-year holidays. Clint agreed to represent her at the hearing the next morning. The landlord was represented by a well-known housing law firm. He added several defendants to ensure the client would get what she needed and the defendants pointed fingers at each other to try to get out of the case. Referee Harris ordered that they all remain parties, and that they provide a hotel room with a kitchen for the client. The client spent the holiday season in the hotel, a safe place for her and her son. Clint later helped the parties settle the case in early 2018 on financial terms that exceed his client’s expectations.

While the comment of Clint’s colleagues are too numerous to report here, some salient excerpts include: “Clint’s tireless commitment to pro bono work is refreshing and serves as a model for me as I progress in my career.” Another colleague stated, “Apart from being a fantastic attorney, what made Clint such a great advocate was his willingness to truly listen to our client, understand her needs and desires, and act accordingly.” And finally, “Mr. Conner showed so much compassion for those who suffer from substandard housing and slum lord conditions. [He] always kept sight of the most important aspect of this case, which is the tenant’s need for affordable and dignified housing.”