LegalZoom, the leading provider of online legal help, together with Clio, the leader in cloud-based legal practice management software, is proud to help fund the first national disaster relief pro bono portal. The portal, built by Paladin, a justice tech company, is the result of a partnership with the American Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division Disaster Legal Services (DLS) Program, the exclusive legal services coordinator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The free portal is a centralized database connecting state hotlines and legal services organizations across the country to attorneys across the country who volunteer their services pro bono. Attorneys can express interest in pro bono work through the portal, indicating their interest and background in providing pro bono legal services to those impacted by COVID-19, and other national disasters as they occur. Individuals in need can reach out for legal help through a toll-free hotline, and legal services organizations (LSOs) can leverage Paladin’s technology to connect their clients to attorneys more quickly and efficiently.
The COVID-19 crisis and other national disasters create immediate legal needs for millions of Americans. With many people now having to navigate unlawful evictions, loss of wages and benefits, delays in court proceedings, and more, there is an unprecedented need to connect low-income Americans to pro bono attorneys.
“It’s more important now than ever for organizations to come together and create solutions for the greater good,” said Daniel Wernikoff, CEO of LegalZoom. “We are proud to support this joint effort to help vulnerable Americans gain access to free legal assistance, especially as the COVID-19 crisis affects so many individuals and families nationwide. This first-of-its-kind program leverages technology to bring much-needed legal services to those in need, squarely in line with our mission of democratizing law.”
Before now, the DLS program relied on ad-hoc, manual ways to connect disaster survivors with pro bono attorneys, using online forms, spreadsheets, and phone calls across jurisdictions. This disaster relief portal offers a streamlined way for attorneys to volunteer their services pro bono, specifying their practice area and location, making it easier for hundreds of LSOs to quickly connect their clients with free legal help. By creating consistency in how these opportunities are collected and fulfilled, the ABA and Paladin will be able to gather important data around pro bono legal needs and volunteer interests, allowing for better volunteer matching and increased access to justice.
“We cannot think of a better way to leverage Paladin’s technology than to connect low-income Americans with pro bono attorneys during this crucial time,” said Kristen Sonday, Paladin’s Co-Founder and COO. “We’re happy to have the support from LegalZoom that’s allowing us to bring this to fruition and make it widely available to those in need.”
Through this program, the ABA looks to effectively deploy America’s lawyers to help low-income individuals in this critical time. Lawyers who are willing to provide pro bono legal services can sign up and view cases at https://aba.joinpaladin.com/. People who are looking for disaster-related legal assistance can connect to their state hotlines by calling the DLS Program’s national toll-free hotline at 1-888-743-5749, or going to https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/projects/disaster-legal-services/.
LegalZoom is a trusted online platform that provides legal help to individuals, families, and small businesses. LegalZoom empowers millions of people in the US and the UK to grow their business, care for their families, and protect their ideas.
About American Bar Association
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.
Paladin is a justice technology company whose mission is to support pro bono legal services. Its leading SaaS platform empowers law firms, corporations, and bar associations to increase pro bono engagement while decreasing the cost of running a pro bono program and lowering the barrier to entry for lawyers to get involved. Learn more at joinpaladin.com.
Clio, the leader in cloud-based legal technology, empowers lawyers to be both client-centered and firm focused through a suite of cloud-based solutions, including legal practice management, client intake and legal CRM software. Clio has been transforming the industry for over a decade with 150,000 customers spanning 100 countries, and the approval of over 66 bar associations and law societies globally. Clio continues to lead the industry with initiatives like the Legal Trends Report, the Clio Cloud Conference, and the Clio Academic Access Program. Clio has been recognized as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, a Deloitte Fast 50 and Fast 500 company. Learn more at clio.com.