Pilot projects and new initiatives can be vital to helping lawyers find successful pro bono opportunities, bar leaders say. Here are just a few new programs from some bar associations and bar-affiliated organizations:
- First Friday Blitz, from the South Carolina Bar, in conjunction with the University of South Carolina School of Law Pro Bono Program and the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission. During the blitz, law students research answers to questions posted by the public on SCLawAnswers.org, with volunteer lawyers reviewing and editing answers and posting them. The initial blitz was held in September 2013, with plans to have this event on the first Friday of each month.
- North Carolina Veterans Pro Bono Network, from the North Carolina Bar Association. Bar members have joined with network of about 50 veterans service organizations in the state as part of a pilot project launched last year to provide pro bono legal services to veterans.
- Maryland Pro Bono Connection, from the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland and Maryland State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. Now in its second year, the program connects law students in Maryland with pro bono opportunities via a one-day Pro Bono Fair. Bar members also offer training sessions to law students. This year’s training centered on debt-buyer lawsuits and LGBT law.
- Lawyer in the Lobby, from the Kane County (Ill.) Bar Association. Started in 2012, this program involves lawyer volunteers stationed in courthouse lobbies one morning a week to help pro se litigants navigate the legal process. The program helps an average of about 15 people each week.