As many have noted, courts at all levels are expecting a tsunami of cases as they re-open after closures and restrictions during the pandemic. ABA Free Legal Answers, a virtual legal advice clinic, may be able to help mitigate the flood of cases headed for courthouses. It’s one more tool in the toolbox—and a tool that was already available and working without pause, before and during the pandemic.
Due to COVID-19 more and more people are left to navigate their disputes without access to legal help. Many in-person pro bono clinics and court help desks have been cancelled, and some legal aid organizations are working with reduced staff or less accessible intake due to COVID-19 restrictions. Low-income and moderate-income individuals rely on these face-to-face pro bono clinics and help desks, and some have been replaced by online or videoconference options, but many have not. ABA Free Legal Answers is an online portal for free legal help, and it can be a good referral source for those in need.
Approximately 40 states now have a Free Legal Answers program. For those states that don’t yet have this virtual clinic, the ABA will be launching a Free Legal Answers program for certain federal law questions, focused on veteran’s legal issues and immigration questions. Check out the September 2020 report.