Low-Income Clients Have New Online Pro Bono Resource
The American Bar Association recently launched a free, new resource for income-eligible users with civil law-related questions. The virtual legal advice clinic—ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org—is an online version of the walk-in advice clinic model and connects clients with brief but case-specific advice from a pro bono attorney. According to ABA President Linda Klein, who is also a member of our Foundations for Practice Advisory Group, the virtual clinic “is an important part of the ABA’s efforts to expand access to legal services to low-income communities.”
In addition to serving individuals and communities, the virtual legal advice clinic also provides attorneys with a convenient, flexible option for providing pro bono services. Recent HFI recommendations for how family justice system stakeholders can better serve self-represented litigants highlights the importance of pro bono and legal aid services. While very few participants in the IAALS Cases Without Counsel study reported receiving legal advice or representation through pro bono or legal aid services, pairing virtual tools with pro bono efforts is an innovative step in increasing access to legal services.
The virtual clinic is currently available to clients in Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming. The ABA hopes to expand beyond these initial states by the end of the year.