Pro Bono Net Marks 10 Years of Increasing Access to Justice
Friday, September 18, 2009
- Legal Services Corporation
Pro Bono Net celebrated its 10th anniversary at an event in New York City on Sept. 15.
Glenn Rawdon, Michael Hertz and Allison McDermott
The New York City- and San Francisco-based nonprofit organization is dedicated to increasing access to justice throughout the nation by supporting the innovative use of technology for public-interest legal groups, working to increase pro bono participation among private lawyers and facilitating collaboration in the nonprofit legal community.
Pro Bono Net developed and operates a number of web-based platforms that provide powerful and sophisticated tools to legal aid and pro bono advocates, as well as low-income people. Funded in part by LSC’s Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) Program, the group’s award-winning LawHelp.org network hosts free, statewide legal assistance websites in 30 states and regions. Low-income people can use the sites to learn about their legal rights, download court forms and locate legal aid organizations in their area.
LSC’s TIG Program also supports Pro Bono Net’s National Legal Services Document Assembly Server, NPADO.org, a central location where legal aid programs can create and host automated legal forms that low-income people can access through the LawHelp sites.
Phyllis Holmen, executive director of the Georgia Legal Services Program, was one of four guest speakers at the event. She discussed how the tools developed by Pro Bono Net have been an invaluable resource for her program’s staff attorneys and volunteers, and have even aided in the recruitment of new volunteers. The tools also offer resources for low-income individuals who qualify for legal aid but have cases that do not meet the program’s priorities. They have also been useful in supporting new partnerships with courts and court-based law libraries, particularly in small counties with few resources.
“Pro Bono Net has been one of the Corporation’s strongest partners in the development of statewide websites for the client community,” says LSC President Helaine M. Barnett. “I congratulate them on reaching this milestone and look forward to continuing our work together to increase access to justice.”
In addition to projects funded through the TIG Program, LSC and Pro Bono Net partnered to create KatrinaLegalAid.org, a website to help victims and legal advocates respond to Hurricane Katrina. The collaboration continued with the creation of the National Disaster Legal Aid site, DisasterLegalAid.org, which provides the same services in response to natural disasters all over the country.
LSC’s Glenn Rawdon, who manages LSC’s TIG Program, attended the anniversary celebration, along with representatives from a number of LSC-funded programs.
Learn more about Pro Bono Net.