Remote is here to stay!
This was a phrase that rang through the most recent LSC ITC Conference in early January. For programs exploring ways to refine or grow your remote services to reach more communities in need, below are a few resources that may be helpful and models to consider.
Pro Bono Net’s Remote Legal Support Guide: A Best Practices Manual for Nonprofit and Pro Bono Innovation, was created in collaboration with 10 organizations with longstanding remote legal services programs. The Guide contains case studies that outline in concrete terms the service models, workflow, tools used, and checklists for managing the programs, and challenges overcome in implementation.
Remote Legal Connect is a platform that allows legal aid providers, pro bono initiatives, courts and community partners to rapidly build and manage remote legal support programs. By enabling organizations to enroll, manage and link volunteers with remotely located clients for advice, counsel and document preparation, the platform bridges barriers that prevent people from getting help and can dramatically expand the help available.
Below are examples of how Remote Legal Connect is being used in urban and rural regions alike, and how it is enabling legal nonprofits to sustain and expand support for their clients amidst COVID-19 office closures.
- Closing the Gap (https://www.closingthegapny.org/) for consumer and tenant defense cases
- Family Legal Connection (https://www.familylegalconnection.org/) for child support and visitation rights cases
- Learn more about these models on page 16 of the Fall 2020 New York State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Newsletter.
- Bridging the Divide (https://www.bridgingthedivideohio.org) helps pro se custody litigants, specifically grandparents and relative caregivers, with family issues related to the opioid crisis
- Georgia Legal Connect (https://www.georgialegalconnect.org) for civil legal matters, including housing, consumer, public benefits, education, and domestic relations. Learn more in this recent blog post.
- Legal Aid Connect (https://www.legalaidconnect.org/LAN) for name change and set aside virtual clinics
Online forms, such as those powered by, LawHelp Interactive, have played a key role in maintaining — and in some cases expanding – access to justice in many states amidst widespread court and legal aid office closures. LHI has also been the building block of advocate-assisted, trauma-informed services in several regions. Many of these models can be expanded or adapted for pro bono support. Online forms can also be integrated with Remote Legal Connect to facilitate unbundled services, for example one-on-one consultations or virtual clinics.
Interested in learning more about these models, or have another idea you’d like a sounding board on? Don’t hesitate to contact Claudia Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about LawHelp Interactive, or Jeanne Ortiz-Ortiz (email@example.com) to learn more about Remote Legal Connect.