On July 8, 2021, the Judges of the Tenth Judicial District presented Attorney Michael Bjerke with the Honorable Robert Varco Pro Bono Award. Pro Bono Publico means “for the public good.” In the legal profession the phrase refers to providing free legal services. The award is presented annually to an Attorney in the Tenth District who has provided free legal services to low-income and disadvantaged people.
Michael Bjerke was nominated for the award by the Private Attorney Involvement Program and Legal Aid Service of Northeastern MN – programs that serve Pine County. Bjerke accepts referrals that are first screened by these programs.
The nominators wrote, “In the past year, Mr. Bjerke has assisted and counseled dozens of pro bono clients dealing with real estate and estate law matters. In the past eighteen months, he has accepted a total of 33 pro bono cases through our office. Our clients report feeling respected and cared for by Mr. Bjerke, in addition to having their legal needs met.”
The nominators also stated, “Mr. Bjerke is a shining example for all in the legal profession. In these times of great hardship, Mr. Bjerke’s continued assistance has offered hope and security to many underserved clients.”
Bjerke has been an attorney in Pine City for 28 years.
The Tenth Judicial District has 45 judges and includes Anoka, Washington, Sherburne, Wright, Pine, Isanti, Chisago and Kanabec Counties. The award was presented by Judge Krista Martin who is chambered in Pine County and a member of the Pro Bono Committee.