Below is a Q&A with Pro Bono Net’s LawHelpNY Program Associate. This Q&A was originally published in the NY Crime Victims Legal Network’s newsletter.
What do you do at LawHelpNY/ Pro Bono Net?
I look to deliver on our program goals, particularly with the NY Crime Victims Legal Help and the LawHelpNY platforms. I focus on adding reliable content to our sites and engage with legal aid organizations and our partners in ensuring their information is up-to-date. I also look ahead at technical and visual ways to practically make our online community more engaging and useful to the advocates who are doing the important work on the ground assisting those in search of legal help.
What motivates you to be active in this work?
I know firsthand that getting legal help is incredibly daunting when you don’t know where or who to go to for assistance, or even that you have the right to do so. I’m motivated to make getting Know Your Rights information and access to a pro bono lawyer as easy as I possibly can for those visiting our sites.
How can technology help crime victims, advocates & legal professionals?
Technology is helping us break barriers in getting crime victims the help they need, whether it’s legal information now accessible from a smartphone to e-filing platforms to virtual hearings. There is still much to be done; we have to address the lack of access to wi-fi for many, especially in rural areas, and the loss of social supports amidst the current pandemic. That said, strides are being made across the country in using technology to make legal help as accessible as possible, no matter what your financial situation or background may be.
What has been your favorite project to work on thus far?
This isn’t so much a project as an ongoing favorite, but I love working with the Advocate Gateway on NY Crime Victims Legal Help. I’m always excited to ask myself what could be more intuitive about the area for advocates using it and then go through the process of brainstorming with our team on what we can do to make it more logical and visually clean so that the key content, things like our library resources, can stand out.
What is your favorite thing about your job/career?
I love being able to connect with such a diverse community from advocates and attorneys, to law students to program managers; I’m in a position where I can teach others about our work and sites, but also learn so much from them about the direct service work that they do. It is a rich experience, and it’s in these conversations that I am informed to make our online community that much better.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you?
I’ll try a lot of things once, just to take a chance and then I’m kind of reserved the rest of the time! I’ve tried out for a reality show once, ran one marathon, spoken at one conference, published one poem… what to try next?!