Amid growing legal needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program (DLS) has unveiled a new tool to assist relief efforts — a portal that tracks disaster relief pro bono opportunities across the nation for lawyers.
DLS worked with Paladin, a justice tech company specializing in pro bono software, to create a centralized, sortable database that lists opportunities to serve those impacted by COVID-19 and recent disasters.
In an effort to effectively deploy America’s lawyers to help individuals in times of emergencies, the portal is available for free to all attorneys across the country.
Lawyers can sign up and view cases at JoinPaladin.
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. With this tool, 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,” said ABA President Judy Perry Martinez. “Streamlining our volunteer recruitment and referral process means connecting those in need following a disaster to volunteer attorneys as quickly as possible.”