Pro Bono Net, in partnership with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., is pleased to announce the launch of Georgia Legal Connect, an online platform that enables Atlanta Legal Aid to enroll, manage, and connect staff and pro bono attorneys with remotely located clients for advice, counsel, and form preparation. Atlanta Legal Aid Society offers free civil legal aid for low-income people across metro Atlanta.
The COVID-19 reality has significantly changed the way legal services and support are delivered, and the concurrent public health and economic crises have resulted in a surge in legal needs. Georgia Legal Connect is an innovative remote legal support project created amid COVID-19 to quickly address low-income clients’ legal needs in Georgia. “COVID-19 has really escalated the digital divide in Georgia,” said Kristin N. Verrill, Director of Grants & Innovation at Atlanta Legal Aid. “Low-income Georgians can no longer receive in-person legal services at our offices or at our court-based clinics. We needed a way to reach our clients using technology that is accessible and easy to use. We were able to launch Georgia Legal Connect quickly after the pandemic hit, and it has helped us maintain our high level of services for clients and clinic attendees.”
Through Georgia Legal Connect, Atlanta Legal Aid can easily enroll and manage clients and attorneys. An attorney can also virtually meet with their client and simultaneously share, store, and complete documents during a consultation. Because the platform operates through the internet, clients do not have to download or install any software, application, or plug-ins, making it easier for them to connect with their attorney. Georgia Legal Connect is also mobile-friendly, facilitating the way through which clients connect online. When an attorney and client finalize their consultation, which may include document review or preparation, the client can access the completed documents at any time, download or print, and file with the appropriate court or agency. Both clients and attorneys can also access content created, updated, and uploaded to Georgia Legal Connect by Atlanta Legal Aid.
“Georgia Legal Connect is an example of how Pro Bono Net’s technology can support programs with initiatives that help people who cannot access and afford an attorney,” said Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz, Pro Bono & Strategic Initiatives Manager at Pro Bono Net. “We have developed this platform in a way that centers the needs of clients and legal service providers, so we are proud to partner with Atlanta Legal Aid to provide timely and meaningful legal advice to people in Georgia affected by COVID-19.”
GeorgiaLegalConnect.org was developed using Pro Bono Net’s Remote Legal Connect platform, which was originally created in partnership with Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) to stand up Family Legal Connection, a remote pro bono service for self represented family court litigants in New York. The platform was developed with support from an American Bar Endowment Opportunity Grant, among other funders. Atlanta Legal Aid’s project is supported by an LSC Telework grant and a grant from Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
Pro Bono Net hopes Georgia Legal Connect can serve as a model for other legal aid and pro bono programs looking to reach more people and provide legal support to those affected by the pandemic. To learn more about Atlanta Legal Aid, visit https://atlantalegalaid.org/. To learn more about Pro Bono Net’s work or the Remote Legal Connect platform, visit www.probono.net or email Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz at email@example.com.