April 30, 2020

Amid COVID-19, ABA and Paladin launch disaster relief pro bono portal to provide free legal services

CHICAGO, April 30, 2020 The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program and Paladin, a justice tech company specializing in pro bono software, today launched the first national disaster relief pro bono portal. The centralized, sortable database will list opportunities to serve those impacted by COVID-19, as well as the recent tornadoes in Tennessee and earthquakes in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and future disasters as they occur.

The ABA is making the portal available for free to all attorneys across the country in an effort to effectively deploy America’s lawyers to help individuals in times of emergencies.

Lawyers can sign up and view cases at https://aba.joinpaladin.com.

Previous efforts to connect pro bono lawyers with disaster-related pro bono opportunities have been ad-hoc and involved online forms, spreadsheets and phone calls across jurisdictions. Through the Disaster Relief Portal, volunteer attorneys will be able to filter opportunities by practice area, communities to serve, type of engagement and the ability to work remotely. State hotline hosts and legal services organizations will be able to post opportunities to the DLS program’s portal as they come in to increase their volunteer pools. The portal will allow the ABA and Paladin to gather important data around needs, volunteer interests and, ultimately, pro bono connections to aid in better volunteer matching. 

“The COVID-19 public health crisis has made the need for a nationwide Disaster Legal Services pro bono portal more apparent than ever,” ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said. “Streamlining our volunteer recruitment and referral process means connecting those in need following a disaster to volunteer attorneys as quickly as possible.”

“We cannot think of a better way to leverage Paladin’s technology than to connect those in need with pro bono attorneys during this crucial time,” said Kristen Sonday, Paladin’s co-founder and chief operating officer. “People are already navigating significant health and economic challenges and finding legal help shouldn’t be another burden. We’re optimistic that we’ll be able to empower people across the country with free attorneys and legal resources through this portal.”

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews