Mike Vraa

Mike Vraa
Managing Attorney & Hotline Director
Email: mikev@homelinemn.org
Extension: x113

Michael Vraa is the Managing Attorney/Hotline Director at HOME Line.  He joined HOME Line in 1996, serving as a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) for a year before joining the staff full time in 1998 as a Tenant Advocate.  He took over the position of Managing Attorney in 2000.  He graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1995 and from Montana State University in 1991.

HOME Line’s tenant hotline has grown in coverage and volume during Mr. Vraa’s tenure.  In 1996, HOME Line took a little over 5,000 calls from renters in Suburban Hennepin County.  Since 2010, the hotline has advised over 11,000 per year renters from around the state.

Mr. Vraa has practiced in the area of landlord/tenant law exclusively since he started working at HOME Line.  He has given over 960 speeches on various aspects of landlord/tenant law to a wide variety of groups (speaking to over 27,000 people) throughout Minnesota (23 counties) and has personally advised over 24,000 renters.  He has helped prevent the eviction of over 1,700 Minnesota families and has helped renters recover over 3 million dollars in improperly withheld deposits and rent abatements (refunds for living in substandard conditions).

Mr. Vraa has also taught as an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law (Writing, Representation and Advocacy) for four years.

Press: 

Mike has been quoted or featured in several publications/media outlets, including:

Print
USA Today, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.  University of Minnesota Daily, University of Minnesota-Duluth Statesmen, Southwest Journal (Mpls.)

Internet
Thomson Reuters, Twin Cities Daily Planet

Radio
National Pubic Radio
WCCO Radio

Television
KARE 11 (NBC affiliate)
KSTP 5 (ABC affiliate)

Professional License:

Admitted to Minnesota Bar 1996

Published Works:

Handling a Noisy Neighbor,  The Hennepin Lawyer, 71 Hennepin Lawyer, 14 (May, 2002).

Small Steps for Small Claims, The Hennepin Lawyer, 76 Hennepin Lawyer, 1 (December 20, 2006).

Renters Feeling Foreclosure Pinch as Well, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal (March 21, 2008).

Classes and Seminars:

Continuing Legal Education Classes

Co-chaired Hennepin County Landlord/Tenant CLE Committee 2000-2002

25 different classes on  a variety of topics, including:
Security Deposits
Improper Fees in Leases
Evictions
Lease Construction and Analysis

High School Speeches
Over 575 classes throughout metro area to high school classes on how to be a successful renter

Honored twice by Best Prep for work volunteering in classrooms

Homeless Shelters/Transitional Housing
Over 140 speeches to a variety of housing providers in the metro area

Landlord Speeches
63 different speeches to landlord groups around the state.

Law Schools
Guest Lectured at property classes at the University of Minnesota School of Law and Saint Thomas University School of Law and William Mitchell’s Poverty Law Class.  Also presented landlord/tenant law multiple times at Street Law, a program operated by the Minnesota Justice Foundation.

Social Workers
68 different seminars around Minnesota to a variety of different groups of social workers.

Colleges
Speeches at 9 different colleges to students on renters rights and responsibilities.

Colleges
Speeches at 8 different colleges to students on renters rights and responsibilities.

Committees

Served on 2007 Collateral Sanctions Committee, studying the effects of convictions in future civil engagement (licensing, employment, rentals, etc.)

Previous Employment/Volunteer Work

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Boston, MA
Department of Justice
Legal Intern:  Fall 1994 (15 hrs./wk)

Attorney General’s Office of MA, Boston, MA
Civil Investigation Division
Legal Intern, Summer 1994

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