In 2013, PBN will partner with Legal Aid Services of Northeastern Minnesota and the ProJusticeMN.org partners - Minnesota Legal Services Coalition, Legal Services Advocacy Project, Minnesota State Bar Association, and the Legal Services Corporation - on a "Pro Bono to Go" TIG to develop mobile capability for the probono.net platform. This project will develop tools to create mobile optimized settlement checklists and client interview guides for advocates and volunteer attorneys on smart phones and tablets in "on the go" settings like clinics or at court.
These resources will offer a new layer of support for attorneys in the field who are helping low income clients with matters that are outside the attorneys' usual areas of expertise. By creating a library of mobile-optimized resources, this project will offer a vehicle for providing on-demand support. That, in turn, will allow attorneys to feel more confident in taking cases outside their areas of practice and will ensure a higher quality of service for the clients. As a side benefit, this project may also serve as a useful pro bono recruitment tool since it will help alleviate the discomfort many attorneys feel over taking cases in substantive areas of the law with which they are unfamiliar.
The mobile-optimized checklists will result in more favorable and complete settlement agreements for clients. This, in turn, will reduce the time lawyers spend on crafting the agreements, and minimize the need for follow-up litigation necessitated by incomplete agreements, thereby freeing up lawyer time to serve more clients. Similarly, the mobile-optimized interview guides will allow practitioners to get better information from drop-in clients and provide better advice as a result.
By creating resources that are immediately available to lawyers engaged in negotiations away from their offices, clients will have more carefully crafted and complete settlement options. These improved settlement agreements will help ensure that all of the client's needs relative to the case are addressed, and minimize the chance that future litigation - with its attendant uncertainty and emotional turmoil - will be needed to address issues that were not anticipated and addressed in the settlement agreement. With fewer cases being reopened, lawyers will be free to represent more clients and further reduce the justice gap.
In the same vein, mobile interview guides will allow attorneys engaged in outreach to the low income community to gain more complete and relevant information from clients. This in turn will allow them to spot important nuances and provide better quality advice. Not only will the quality of the advice improve, but the attorneys will be able to zero in on important issues more quickly, making outreach sessions more efficient and allowing one attorney to process more advice cases in the same length of time.