The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Public Interest

November 20, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Ericka Garcia

Ericka GarciaThe Florida Bar Foundation’s director of pro bono partnerships, joins us this week on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to discuss her passion for legal aid, the innovative new projects the Foundation is undertaking, and how access to justice is a major issue for urban and rural residents throughout the state. Ericka was introduced to legal aid as a teenager when she served as a volunteer translator.  That formative experience, among others, motivated her to become a legal aid attorney and an advocate for children with developmental disabilities. Her role at the Foundation is unique: she is as a hub for pro bono efforts by law firms, legal departments, and nonprofit and legal services organizations across Florida. Recently, the Foundation turned its focus to technological solutions to make the placement of pro bono matters more efficient, culminating in the creation of a statewide portal: “Florida Pro Bono Matters.” Take 35 minutes to listen to our inspiring conversation with Ericka about the innovative ways technology can extend the reach of pro bono lawyers, her involvement in the legal response to Hurricane Irma, resources available to pro bono lawyers, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

October 30, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Amy Barasch

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and this week on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, we are joined by Amy Barasch of Her Justice. Amy describes their “pro bono first” model; how Her Justice provides specialized support to pro bono attorneys; and the challenges faced by women who experience intimate partner violence, including issues related to divorce, immigration, and poverty. She also discusses Her Justice’s externship program with law firms and how one extern established an important precedent. Take 40 minutes to listen to our conversation with Amy Barasch about the crucial role of pro bono in empowering survivors of intimate partner violence.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

October 16, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Eliza Vorenberg

Eliza Vorenberg from the Roger Williams University School of Law joins us on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to explore her career, the Pro Bono Collaborative, which connects law firms, attorneys, and law students to community organizations that need pro bono legal services, and the access to justice culture in Rhode Island. We also discuss the wide variety of law student pro bono opportunities; the role of volunteer attorney mentors: expungement clinics; providing civil legal advice to individuals in a medium security prison and tax assistance clinics for low-income residents; and more. Take 50 minutes to listen to our conversation with Eliza about inculcating the spirit of pro bono service in every law student and motivating them to use their unique legal skills and training for the benefit of others.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

October 5, 2017

Ferguson, Fines, and Fees

Check out our most recent webinar produced in partnership with West LegalEdcenter, Ferguson, Fines, and Fees, to explore inspiring developments in the effort to decriminalize poverty and how pro bono lawyers can be of help.  Since the killing of Michael Brown in August 2014, St. Louis and its neighboring municipalities including Ferguson, Missouri, have been frequently cited for legal and moral failings in the region’s municipal justice system, which routinely sends thousands of people to jail because they cannot pay legal fines and fees. Poor and African-American people are disproportionately affected. The events in Ferguson, Missouri shined a spotlight on the use of local courts, jails, and police forces to generate millions of dollars in profits off the backs of our most impoverished citizens, including juveniles.  These practices devastate individuals and communities, while creating cultures of fear and resentment.

The costs associated with being a low-income offender can be overwhelming, as many states and localities charge fees and surcharges to fund the criminal justice system at every step of the process, from the courtroom to jail to probation. These may include fees for public defenders, jail fees, court administrative fees, prosecution fees, probation fees, parole fees, and more. Failure to pay these “poverty penalties” can lead to additional prison sentences or other consequences, such as the inability to obtain a driver’s license, that pose barriers to successfully re-entering society.

You’ll hear from:

  • Lisa Borden, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz*
  • Katherine Hubbard, Civil Rights Corps
  • Sonia Murphy, White & Case*
  • Sara Totonchi, Southern Center for Human Rights

CLE credit is available in many jurisdictions. The program is available on demand for free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Law Firms. Please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita for assistance accessing the program.

*  denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

†  denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

September 14, 2017

Pro Bono Happy Hour Podcast, Special Edition: DACA

PBI recently released a special edition of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, in response to the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. President and CEO Eve Runyon also released a statement about PBI’s support for our stakeholders who are providing legal assistance to DACA recipients and other immigrants.

In this episode, we talk with Chris Marquardt of Alston & Bird*†, David March of the Minnesota Corporate Pro Bono Council, and Liz Markuci of Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) about the impacts the cancellation of DACA will have on immigrant communities and their own personal experiences and reflections. They also offer meaningful ways that pro bono attorneys can get involved and be of assistance right now. Take 35 minutes to listen to our conversation.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review. We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help us expand the conversation about pro bono and access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

 

July 17, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Don’t miss the latest episode of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, featuring Courtney Darts of the Pro Bono Partnership. Courtney talks to us about pro bono initiatives to support nonprofit organizations, transactional pro bono opportunities that strengthen communities, advice for aspiring public interest lawyers, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help us expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen along and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

June 22, 2017

Measuring the Justice Gap

Last week, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) released a report, The Justice Gap: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans,”  which is the result of a survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago of 2,000 Americans living at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level.  The report takes a detailed look at documents the extent of the “the justice gap,” which  LSC defines “as the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs.”

Key findings include:

  • Seventy-one percent of low-income households experienced at least one civil legal problem during the past year in areas such as healthcare, housing conditions, disability access, veterans’ benefits, education, and domestic violence.
  • In 2016, 86 percent of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help.
  • Low-income Americans seek legal help for only 20 percent of their civil legal problems.
  • In 2017, it is estimated that low-income individuals will contact LSC-funded legal aid organizations for support with 1.7 million problems. However, they will receive limited or no legal help for more than half (1.1 million of these problems due to inadequate resources).

University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh was among the speakers at a launch event for the report. “I may be a football coach,” he said, “but I am an American first and foremost, and all Americans should care about equal access to justice.” He continued, noting that it’s “about fundamental fairness…if you have money, you have access to justice. If you don’t have money, you have less access to our justice system, and that’s not the way it should work.”

To learn more about LSC and its current challenges and opportunities, check out our recent interview with Ronald Flagg on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s Podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour. The episode is available on Apple Podcasts and YouTube.

June 19, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Don’t miss the latest episode of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, featuring Ronald Flagg of the Legal Services Corporation. Ron talks to us about his career, his transition to LSC from private practice, his experience leading a law firm pro bono program while he was at Sidley Austin*†, LSC’s current challenges and opportunities, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help us expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen along and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

May 29, 2017

We Honor Those Who Serve

Today, we celebrate Memorial Day, a time to honor and pay tribute to the men and women who died while serving in the military. We are grateful to them and their families for their sacrifices and their service.

The holiday is a poignant reminder that providing pro bono assistance to eligible veterans is a unique opportunity for lawyers to exercise our patriotic duty and in some small way help repay those who served our country. Interested in getting involved? Check out VetLex, a new Veterans Legal Services Initiative, which will be operational soon.

May 11, 2017

“The Time to Lead is Now”

“The future will belong to those who can embrace change.”
Hilarie Bass, President-Elect, American Bar Association; Greenberg Traurig*†, Co-President

We have previously reported that a video can be an innovative and engaging way to promote law firms pro bono program and demonstrate the firm’s dedication to pro bono. Similarly, a video is an eye-catching and informative way to promote legal services organizations and create awareness about needs and opportunities.

This year, our friends at The Florida Bar Foundation released an inspiring video, “The Time to Lead Is Now.” The fast-paced and ­­­catchy video is a call to action and highlights “trouble in paradise;” an access to justice crisis for many Floridians and how pro bono lawyers can be of help. Check out the video below and imagine if everyone had access to legal help and how we might achieve our goal:

Have you created a video to promote pro bono and access to justice recently? Leave a comment and share your experience, and be sure to link to the video!

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® Member

    Older Posts >