Lawrence McDonough
PEOPLE

Lawrence McDonough

Pro Bono Counsel
mcdonough.lawrence@dorsey.com

Overview

AS PRO BONO COUNSEL FOR LITIGATION, LARRY HELPS COORDINATE DORSEY & WHITNEY’S AWARD-WINNING PRO BONO PROGRAM, WHICH PROVIDES FREE LEGAL SERVICES TO LOW-INCOME PERSONS AND ELIGIBLE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS.

Larry is a national expert on landlord and tenant law litigation and has taught at all of the Minnesota law schools as well as conferences throughout the United States.

Larry’s on-line manual, Residential Eviction Defense in Minnesota is the most widely viewed manual on landlord and tenant law in Minnesota. His Poverty Law teaching website is used regularly by attorneys, law students, and advocates assisting low-income persons.

Larry is a member of many bar association committees and law organizations that support the provision of legal services to those who are unable to pay for services.

Education & Admissions

William Mitchell College of Law (J.D., 1983), cum laude; Student Award of Merit; Pihl Scholarship for Academic Achievement; Co-Founder and Executive Editor, William Mitchell Environmental Law Journal (1983); Staff Writer, William Mitchell Environmental Law Review (1982); Co-Chairperson, Environmental Law Society; Founder and Student Director, Public Interest Law Clinic; Member, Student Code Committee

University of Minnesota (B.S., Music Education, 1978), Concert Band, First Trumpet Section; Marching Band, Trumpet Section Leader; Jazz Ensemble, Pianist

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • Minnesota District and Appellate Courts
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Clerkships

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Honorable Harry H. MacLaughlin, 1983-1983

Experience

Representative Work

Larry supervises the following pro bono clinics in Minneapolis:

  • Housing Court Clinic Project: Dorsey and U.S. Bank attorneys partner to provide staffing for the Hennepin County Housing Court Clinic two afternoons each month at the Hennepin County Government Center Housing Court.
  • Brian Coyle Clinic: The Brian Coyle Community Center Legal Clinic is staffed by Dorsey attorneys partnering with US Bank attorneys, seeing clients with a variety of issues such as consumer problems, debtor's rights, bankruptcy, landlord/tenant, employment and unemployment compensation and other civil issues.
  • Legal Access Point Clinic: The clinic is staffed by Dorsey attorneys one day every other week at the Self Help Center in the Hennepin County Government Center. Dorsey attorneys assist pro se litigants by offering guidance and referral information to help them in resolving their own legal issues. Individuals primarily seek assistance with credit problems, medical malpractice, housing, bankruptcy, employment, insurance claims and conciliation court.
  • Expungement Clinic: Dorsey lawyers partner with Xcel Energy in-house counsel, working through Volunteer Lawyers Network to provide assistance to individuals seeking expungement of their criminal record.
  • Consumer Debt/Collection Clinic: Dorsey attorneys volunteer at a clinic for people being sued for consumer debt in Hennepin County Conciliation Court.

Larry also helps Dorsey attorneys find the kind of pro bono cases they would like to handle, provides training for attorneys to ensure that the same high standards of Dorsey’s billable work are applied to pro bono work, coordinates referrals from a variety of advocacy organizations, and mentors younger attorneys in pro bono litigation.

Before coming to Dorsey in June 2013, Larry worked for various pro bono legal aid organizations for 30 years, with his last position managing the housing litigation program of the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis. Larry’s legal aid experience includes litigating hundreds of trials and motion hearings and scores of appeals, supervising a staff of housing attorneys and legal assistants, and drafting part of almost every Minnesota landlord and tenant statute since 1989.

Significant accomplishments include:

  • Beginning in 1986 and through the present, authored and continue to update the materials available at Housing Law in Minnesota http://povertylaw.homestead.com/ResidentialUnlawfulDetainer.html including Residential Eviction Defense in Minnesota, Security Deposits in Minnesota, pleadings, motions, and slide shows
  • Skylark Opera v. Department of Employment and Economic Development, No. A13- 2343, 2014 WL 4672360 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 22, 2014) (unpublished): supervised successful appeal, reversing department decision and holding that persons hired by a nonprofit, professional opera company were independent contractors so that wages paid to these persons were not taxable under the unemployment-insurance laws
  • Equity Residential Holdings, LLC, Appellant, v. Koenig, A14-0162 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 9, 2014): successfully represented tenant in dismissal of landlord’s premature appeal of district court order awarding attorney’s fees under Minn. Stat. § 504B.172
  • In 2014, successfully lobbied for amendment to Minn. Stat. § 504B.345 to provide for the first statutory recognition of the continued availability of both common law and statutory expungement of eviction court records, significant that it ensures that the expungement statute does not preempt use of common law expungement when the statute does not apply. The amended statute also allows for expungement as early as the time judgment is entered in the eviction.
  • HNA Properties v. Moore, 848 N.W.2d 238 (Minn. Ct. App. 2014): co-counseled representation of tenant at the district court, and supervised and later consulted on the appeal, resulting in reversal of the district court, and holding that under Minn. Stat. § 549.02, subd. 1, “a district court must allow the defendant $200 in costs upon dismissal of the case.”
  • Presented Eviction Defense, Lindquist & Vennum, 2013 
  • Since 2012, served as an observer to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (ULC) Drafting Committee on a Revision of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
  • In 2010, assisted in the drafting of and testified in support of the Tenants’ Bill of Rights, which regulated late fees, required receipts for rent, implied in leases that provide for tenant payment of landlord attorney fees a reciprocal obligation on landlords to pay tenant attorney fees, further regulated application fees, increased penalties for wrongfully withholding security deposits, conformed state eviction rights for tenants in foreclosure with recent federal legislation, and created a rebuttable presumption of actual rent payment when the tenant produces money order receipts.
  • Kutscheid v. Emerald Square Prop., Inc., 770 N.W.2d 529 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009): supervised work on tenant’s rent escrow action over violations of utility shared meter billing regulations in Minn. Stat. § 504B.215, successful appeal of housing court referee’s denial of remedies, and successful remand for damages
  • Stewart v. Anderson, No. A06-1878, 2007 WL 2366528 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 21, 2007): supervised work responding to landlord’s appeal of eviction decision; Court affirmed rulings by district court judge that housing court referee erred in receiving the landlord’s late exhibits but refusing to receive the tenant’s late exhibits, and requiring expert testimony for tenant’s lay testimony regarding her observations of sounds of rodents, foul smells, and grease stains on personal property removed from the dryer
  • As Lead Attorney of the 2007-28 Renter Working Group of the Minnesota Legislature Task Force on Mortgage Foreclosures, co-wrote a legislative package to increase the rights of tenants whose landlords are in foreclosure
  • In 2005, created and supervised an advice clinic at the housing court with partial staff funding and office space from the county, in partnership with Volunteer Lawyers Network, a pro bono volunteer attorney program, to provide one legal aid attorney and at first one and now two volunteer attorneys for each housing court arraignment. The eviction summons includes some tenant information, with notice of the advice clinic. The program now is supervised by the managing attorney of the housing unit of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and the housing resources manager at VLN.
  • Pollard v. Southdale Gardens of Edina Condominium Ass’n., Inc., 698 N.W.2d 449 (Minn. Ct. App. 2005): co-counsel in successful appeal holding that held that mere existence of nonwaiver clause in bylaws did not preclude residents from asserting claims that association and board were equitably estopped from enforcing rule, and did not preclude residents’ claim that association and board violated duty to treat all residents equally; and that resident had standing to bring action even though resident did not own unit in which he resided
  • Walters v. Demmings, No. C4-01-2, 2001 WL 641753 (Minn. Ct. App. June 12, 2001) (unpublished): reversed eviction order and restated the strong retaliation prohibitions in Minn. Stat. § 504B.285 first pronounced in Parkin v. Fitzgerald, 307 Minn. 423, 240 N.W.2d 828 (1976)
  • Aguero v. Nordlie, CT990-4474 (Minn. Dist. Ct. 4th Dist. Aug. 21, 1992) Amended Order (Sep. 28, 1992): first consumer class action over landlord’s routine practice of withholding security deposits; court award of deposits, interest, penalties, and attorney’s fees
  • Simmons v. Kemp, 751 F. Supp. 815 (D. Minn. 1990): summary judgment granted to tenant, holding public housing authority improperly bypassed administrative grievance process in eviction, enjoining evictions in violation of the process, and awarding attorney fees
  • As member of the 1989 Governor’s Commission on Affordable Housing, proposed and co-drafted laws to create Housing Courts in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, provide for the emergency relief action for tenants, provide for the rent escrow action to remedy housing disrepair, provide for fines in landlord violations of housing court orders, provide for minimum statutory damages for landlord lockouts, and provide for minimum statutory damages for landlord utility interruptions
  • Goggleye v. Pierce (D. Minn. 1989): federal court class action challenging HUD plan to sell Riverside Plaza, formerly Cedar Square West, the largest subsidized project in Minnesota, with a reduction in subsidized units, leading to settlement for an additional $25,000,000 in housing subsidies

News & Resources

Insights

Residential Eviction Defense in Minnesota, (14th ed. 2015)
Interviewed, Jackie Renzetti, A Trumpeting Tribute: University of Minnesota Adjunct Professor Larry McDonough Is Playing at the Dakota Jazz Club, Minnesota Daily
Interviewed, Alejandra Matos, 'Creative' homeless solution runs up against Minneapolis city code, Star Tribune
Dorsey Pro Bono Counsel Larry McDonough Comments on Lack of Creative Solution for Homelessness
Pro Bono Counsel Larry McDonough featured in William Mitchell Alumni Spotlight
Dorsey Adds Legal Aid Veteran Lawrence McDonough as Pro Bono Counsel
Then and Now: The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act of 1972 and the Current Revision Process – Still Bold and Relevant?, 35(4) Ark. Lit. Rock L. Rev. 975 (Summer 2013)
Eviction and Subsidy Terminations, in HUD Housing programs: Tenants' Rights Ch. 14 (National Housing Law Project, 4th ed. 2012)
To Be or Not to Be Unpublished: Housing Law and the Lost Precedent of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, 35 HAMLINE Law Review. 1 (2012), on Westlaw at 35 HAMLR 1
Interviewed, Alexis Pope, In Tenants’ Defense: Laws in Minnesota and Missouri Offer Greater Tenant Protection, Chicago Reporter
Interviewed, Baird Helgeson, Galen Robinson vs. The Governor, Star Tribune
Minnesota Tenants Gain More Rights in Foreclosure Through Effective Legislative Task Force Collaboration, 42 Clearinghouse Review 596 (March-April 2009)
The Practical Impact of the Court of Appeals: A Panel Discussion, 35 William Mitchell Law Review 1334 (2009), on Westlaw at 35 WMLR 1334
Wait a Minute! Residential Eviction Defense in 2009 Still is Much More than Did You Pay the Rent?, 35 William Mitchell Law Review 762 (2009), on Westlaw at 35 WMLR 762
Wait a Minute: Slowing Down Criminal Activity Eviction Cases to Find the Truth, 41 Clearinghouse Review 55 (May/June 2007), under Reading, and Housing Law
Still Crazy after All of These Years: Landlords and Tenants and the Law of Torts, 33 William Mitchell Law Review 427 (2006), on Westlaw at 33 WMLR 427
Wait a Minute! Residential Eviction Defense is Much More than “Did You Pay the Rent?”, 28 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 65 (2001), on Westlaw at 28 WMLR 65

Select Client Presentations

  • Presented Eviction Defense and Expungement for Target Corporate Counsel, 2015
  • Presented Ethical Representation of Landlords and Tenants, HOME Line, 2015
  • Presented Emergency Tenant Remedies Actions (also known as Emergency Relief Actions) and Lockout Actions, Volunteer Lawyers Network Annual Housing Law Seminar, 2015
  • Presented Eviction Defense, Meagher & Geer, P.L.L.P., 2015
  • Presented Landlord-Tenant Law, Law Enforcement Training Services, LLC, and The Minnesota Sheriffs' Association, 2014
  • Presented Residential Eviction Defense in Minnesota, Volunteer Lawyers Network Annual Housing Law Seminar, 2014
  • Presented Ethical Concerns in Representing Landlords and Tenants, HOME Line, 2014
  • Presented Elimination of Bias: Racial Disparity and Housing Court Expungements, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2014
  • Panelist, Life Balance for Lawyers, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2014
  • Presented Then and Now: The Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act of 1972 and the Current Revision Process – Still Bold and Relevant?, William H. Bowen School of Law, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2013
    Presented Eviction Defense, Lindquist & Vennum, 2013
  • Presented Eviction Defense, Volunteer Lawyers Network Annual Housing Law Seminar, 2012
  • Presented Tenants in Foreclosure, William Mitchell College of Law, 2012
  • Presented Reasonable Accommodations in Eviction Defense, Minnesota Legal Services Coalition Landlord - Tenant Summer Summit, 2012
  • Presented Tenants in Foreclosure, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Section 8 Program, 2012
  • Presented Using the Experience of Adjuncts in Narrative Theory and Storytelling, Midwest Clinical Conference, Madison, WI, 2011
  • Presented Elimination of Right to Judge Hearings and Judge Review of Referee Hearings in Housing Court Cases, Hennepin County Bar Association Landlord and Tenant Committee, 2011
  • Presented Who Pays When Tenants Are Injured Due to the Landlord’s Failure to Repair?, Hamline University School of Law Faculty, 2011
  • Presented Tenant Rights, Hamline University Chapter of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, 2011
  • Presented Comments on H.F. No. 440, Sections 11 and 12, and the Elimination of Right to Judge Hearings and Judge Review of Referee Hearings in Housing Court Cases, Minnesota House of Representatives Judiciary Policy and Finance Committee, 2011
  • Presented New Landlord and Tenant Laws, Ramsey County Bar Association Real Estate Section, 2011
  • Presented Eviction Defense, Volunteer Lawyers Network Annual Housing Law Seminar, 2011
  • Presented Elimination of Right to Judge Hearings and Judge Review of Referee Hearings in Housing Court Cases, Ramsey County Bar Association Real Estate Section, 2010
  • Presented New Tenant-Landlord Law Changes, Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, 2010
  • Presented Testimony on the Tenants’ Bill of Rights, H.F. 2985 and 2816, Minnesota House of Representatives Civil Justice Policy Committee, 2010
  • Presented Public Housing and Section 8, Minnesota Legal Services Coalition and Volunteer Lawyers Network, 2010

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (ULC) Drafting Committee on a Revision of the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Observer
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Legal Services Advisory Committee, Board Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association Legal Assistance to the Disadvantaged Committee and Subcommittee on Law Student Initiatives, Member
  • Minnesota State Bar Association Amicus Society, Board Member
  • Minnesota State Court Administrator's Office and the Office for Collaboration and Dispute Resolution Joint Grant Review Committee for Community Dispute Resolution, Member
  • Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, Trainer

Community Involvement

  • Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Volunteer
  • Minnesota Legal Services Coalition Housing Task Force, Member and Trainer
  • Housing Justice Network of the National Housing Law Project, Member and Trainer
  • Hennepin County Housing Court Bench and Bar Committee, Current and Founding Member
  • HOME Line, Volunteer and Trainer
  • Volunteer Lawyers Network, Current Housing Committee, Current Member and Trainer, and Past Member of Board of Directors and Housing Committee Co-Chair

Accolades

  • Featured in William Mitchell College of Law Alumni Spotlight, 2015
  • Featured in William Mitchell College of Law Alumni Spotlight, 2014
  • Minnesota State Bar Association North Star Lawyer, 2013 and 2014
  • Super Lawyer selected by Minnesota Law & Politics, 1999-2010
  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, Award for Timeless Devotion to Justice for 25 Years, 2009
  • Minnesota Justice Foundation Distinguished Service Award, for making significant contributions to poverty law and public interest work and to ensuring equal justice for all Minnesotans, 2008
    National Lawyers Guild Minnesota Chapter First Annual Paul Marino People’s Lawyer Award, for work as a tenants’ attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis and teaching housing and poverty law at the University of St. Thomas and University of Minnesota Schools of Law. The late Paul Marino was a Legal Aid attorney and executive director, tenants’ attorney, William Mitchell College of Law professor, Guild president, and actor, 2004
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law Knowledge Creation and Societal Reform, Living the Mission Award, 2004
  • 20th Anniversary ACORN Award for improving the lives of tenants by working with the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office in filing actions to improve conditions in rental housing, 2002
  • Included in the publication, 100 Who Made a Difference, describing 100 graduates over the 100-year history of William Mitchell College of Law, 2001
  • Minnesota Legal Services Coalition (MLSC) Technology Leader Award for Initiative and Creativity in the Use of Technology in Legal Services, 2000
  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance Certificate of Recognition, 1999
  • Hennepin County District Court, Fourth Judicial District Certificate of Appreciation, for distinguished service in development of the Fourth Judicial District Housing Court, 1993
  • Hennepin County Bar Association Pro bono Publico Award, for excellence by an attorney in the public/private/judicial sector, 1993
  • Hennepin County District Court, Fourth Judicial District Certificate of Appreciation, for distinguished service in development of the Fourth Judicial District Housing Court, 1991
Lawrence McDonough