It Takes a Village
Recently, PBI hosted “Tackling Mega-Challenges: Systemic Pro Bono” in conjunction with our partner West LegalEdcenter. The webinar, which is part of the Best of the 2013 Conference Series, explored ways to “move the needle” on a persistent aspect of poverty or an area of law in which underrepresentation is particularly acute to ensure that pro bono efforts are having the most significant impact possible. The program featured experts Silvia R. Argueta from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Kevin J. Curnin from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP†, and Esther F. Lardent, from the Pro Bono Institute.
The lively discussion explored the use of collaboration to mitigate systemic problems. Argueta and Curnin are both involved in innovative projects that allow various actors to work together to implement positive and lasting change:
• Argueta works with the Shriver Housing Project-LA, which is a collaborative effort between the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the Inner City Law Center, the Public Counsel Law Center, the local courts, and 13 major law firms (coincidentally all Member and/or Challenge firms). The Project’s goal is for every tenant going through eviction to have legal representation, and to date, it is the largest collaborative experiment of its kind. Each public interest organization partners with different law firms who work largely on direct services but also handle systemic issues that arise for tenants.
• Curnin discussed the IMPACT Project, which is an effort of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo) to “design innovative and sustainable new solutions that will increase access to free legal services by utilizing pro bono volunteers.” The first IMPACT project to launch is the Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative, which is a partnership between OneJustice and Bay Area law firms (also all Member and Challenge firms) that seeks to “expand access to legal services in rural and/or isolated communities throughout the Bay Area.” In Chicago, APBCo and several public interest organizations launched the Second Chance Project, which will train lawyers to provide representation for adults and juveniles with criminal records, giving them a chance to move forward in their lives. PBI recently hosted “Pro Bono In Practice: Post-Prison Re-Entry,” so check out the webinar on-demand for more information about post-incarceration pro bono opportunities.
To learn more about these groundbreaking pro bono efforts, access the webinar “Tackling Mega-Challenges: Systemic Pro Bono” on-demand. CLE credit is available for this program in many states and it is free of charge to anyone associated with a Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firm.
†denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project