Pro Bono Around Town
Laundromats. Barbershops. Daycare centers. Medical clinics. Houses of worship. Efforts to “go where the clients are” and to create programs to bring legal help directly to underserved communities to make pro bono services more easily accessible are taking off. The PBEye previously highlighted examples of mobile pro bono assistance, such as OneJustice’s “Justice Bus” and food stamp clinics in schools. Here are a few additional examples of innovative and accessible places where pro bono services are being delivered:
• Starting in October, many libraries across Florida will be participating in “Lawyers in Libraries,” a new pro bono project designed to teach public library patrons about the free, online legal resources available to them. Pro bono attorneys will give one-hour presentations about online tools, filing and monitoring cases, and more. The program hopes to eventually expand to every main library in Florida. Similar programs have already been implemented around the country including a “Lawyers in Libraries” project in Maine that covers civil legal topics likely to be of interest to low-income residents. The Maine program is interactive, using video conferencing technology to link different libraries together in real time so attendees in different libraries can ask questions directly to the attorney during the video conference. As libraries increasingly go high-tech, they will be useful venues to house a variety of pro bono programs, ranging from pro se help centers to Skype clinics.
• This month in Canada, pro bono attorneys are participating in an annual outdoor legal advice-a-thon at different parks and squares throughout British Columbia.
• In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s Center for Ethics, Service, and Professionalism oversees a network of faculty, students, and attorneys who provide pro bono services at various meeting places and community centers around the area, including a local soup kitchen, a homeless shelter and food pantry, Dwelling Place affordable housing apartments, and the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Office.
Do you know of other creative and unconventional places where pro bono assistance is being provided? If so, feel free to drop us a comment below!