In a Daily Matters video podcast appearance, Pro Bono Net’s co-founder and executive director talks about the need to connect with and listen directly to underserved communities to tackle complex equity issues in the justice system.
“The law is very important for people to be able to live their lives, to remove the barriers that keep them from participating fully in society,” Mark O’Brien says in a conversation with podcast host and Clio Co-founder Jack Newton.
The conversation ranged from the early focus of Pro Bono Net on using technology to enhance and increase volunteerism to its current operations in direct service, document automation, and developing self-help tools.
Pro Bono Net takes a holistic approach to removing barriers to justice for low-income communities. Newton, who recently joined Pro Bono Net’s board, notes, it occupies a unique position at the nexus of technology, collaboration, and volunteer mobilization. To create meaningful justice solutions Pro Bono Net takes seriously its obligation to listen to and engage with communities that have been disproportionately impacted by systemic racism and inequality. It has also tapped into often overlooked sources of creativity and innovation.
“A lot of us think of innovation being driven at the tech-rich coasts and the hubs of the new tech sectors,” O’Brien says. “What we’ve really found is that innovation – the drive to think about how to use technology more effectively… has actually come from some of our partners from rural and remote communities.”
These under-resourced legal services organizations often have a deeper understanding of the need for their roles to intersect with other human and social service actors serving vulnerable communities.
To listen to the full podcast and hear how O’Brien would grade the current state of access for people navigating the justice system, listen to their conversation here.