In the Pandemic Year of 2020, as Pro Bono Net worked to provide remote legal help and information in a changing landscape, Weil, Gotshal & Manges associates’ Summer of Service partnership provided key assistance to bolster PBN’s online services and expand the organization’s reach to get clear answers and remote legal help to people across the country. 

Weil associate Elizabeth Barras worked with Pro Bono Net’s Program Director, Liz Keith, to develop legal rights resources for a new online initiative: the Georgia Victim Legal Network. Barras provided vital legal research and content development support for the project, which was developed with leading civil legal aid and immigration legal services providers in Georgia to expand access to legal help for people who have been a victim of crime such as family violence, sexual assault and dating violence.

According to Liz Keith, “Elizabeth contributed a tremendous amount to the project in a short period of time, working closely with Pro Bono Net and legal aid experts in Georgia to accelerate the project’s development during a critical period. The legal rights resources she researched and drafted will benefit many survivors of violence seeking help through”

Nicholas Zazzi and Luke Harley worked with LawHelp New York. The recent law graduates and incoming Weil associates analyzed Pro Bono Net’s Live-Help chat transcripts to figure out how chat operators could be more efficient and look out for common errors and areas of training gaps, an extremely helpful project that provided an outside look to improve these remote chat features. Zazzi and Harley also assisted in LawHelpNY’s efforts to keep New York’s vulnerable communities informed of the latest legal developments — editing and developing existing and new plain-language resources for New Yorkers.

As LawHelp New York’s Taylor Goetzinger notes, “Nick and Luke’s contributions were a welcome and timely addition to the LawHelpNY team. They came in when the team was firing on all cylinders to make sure we were providing the most accurate and up to date legal information to users facing legal issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and were able to offer a much needed fresh perspective on the ways we were delivering that information. They helped the team identify missed opportunities to provide a more welcoming, holistic user experience for people facing housing and family law issues.” 

As Pro Bono Net’s staff reflects on what was a challenging, but important and fruitful year in expanding access to justice through remote services, the staff is grateful for all of the partners, including Weil that helped make this work happen.