October 21, 2020

Pro Bono During COVID-19: A Corporate Collaboration Celebrates National Pro Bono Month

Jayme M. Cassidy, Esq. Pro Bono Advocacy Director, Legal Services of Greater Miami

Pro Bono month is an ideal time to launch a new model for remote pro bono delivery that is replicable and relevant. Restaurant Brands International, the owner of the Burger King®, Tim Hortons® and Popeyes® brands, and McDermott, Will & Emery helped Legal Services of Greater Miami kick off pro bono month with a unique corporate collaboration. Throughout National Pro Bono Month, attorneys nationwide from McDermott and the legal department of RBI will be providing legal assistance on various transactional issues to: nonprofits, small and minority owned businesses who provide services in our communities, veterans, Senior Citizens, and homeowners with a disability.

Utilizing a Learning Lab Collaboration volunteer engagement model that includes batch case delivery, and a training model that incorporates a Learning Management System (LMS), Legal Services is developing best practices on the following topics for remote pro bono volunteers: recruitment, substantive and cultural training, and remote client engagement.

The Project combines pro bono attorney recruitment of colleagues with the innovative model which incorporates the batch assignment of cases, utilization of technology to support on demand attorney training and continued interactive support, with the goal of replication to address similar challenges in meeting client needs through pro bono support. Key components of the Learning Lab Collaboration model are (1) recruitment of law firms and corporate legal departments; (2) creation of a training cohort committed to the delivery of volunteer support after the initial engagement; (3) intensive pro bono training and support incorporating a “live” training session and follow up on demand support and mentorship via a LMS (4) assignment of batches of about 10 cases; and (5) a range of pro bono legal assistance including full representation. An innovative component of the Project is the utilization of the Learning Lab Collaboration model to train and support volunteer attorneys via LMS software for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of training programs.

Legal Services anticipates that there will be a stronger interest in the Learning Lab Collaboration from pro bono volunteers considering America’s COVID-19 experience. The goal is to continue to build out the Learning Lab Collaboration model and duplicate it program wide in each of our Pro Bono Projects.