There are more than 25 million Americans over age 60 considered economically insecure, and the Covid-19 pandemic has profound impact on the well-being of seniors.

Low-income seniors face legal risks that can have a profound impact on their well-being, including maintaining safe and affordable housing, overcoming debt or financial scams, and navigating healthcare or other public benefits.

The Legal Risk Detector, developed by Pro Bono Net, is a web-based legal health "check-up" tool designed for use by eldercare professionals. By combining high-tech technology with high-touch human support, the Legal Risk Detector enables medical personnel, social workers and other allied professionals to screen elderly individuals, including the homebound, for legal needs and refer them to legal services.

User-friendly and intuitive, the application is designed for use on tablets, laptops and mobile devices. The Risk Detector enables non-legal professionals to complete a guided interview covering financial exploitation, consumer debt, housing, abuse, healthcare matters, and other often undetected and underreported legal issues.

The Risk Detector was developed in 2016 by Pro Bono Net in partnership with JASA/Legal Services for the Elderly, the Center for Elder Law & Justice and Georgetown University Law Center.

The Risk Detector is now in use in five states, with expansion to new states underway. In addition, a special version has been created for use in disaster response efforts. A 2020 evaluation of the Risk Detector found that "The Risk Detector helps to identify a substantial number of cases from clients who are rural, veterans, disabled, frail, and likely to be living alone that would not otherwise be identified or result in legal action.


For more information about the Legal Risk Detector, you may download this summary of the platform's features or contact Liz Keith, Program Director, at lkeith@probono.net. Visit probono.net/programs to learn more about other Pro Bono Net initiatives.