It’s a short week for most of us, but there is some interesting reading to be done for those interested in pro bono and technology. The American Lawyer’s annual report on the state of pro bono is out [registration required], and the news is decidedly mixed. Average pro bono hours hit the lowest level in more than three years, and the percentage of lawyers who did more than 20 hours of pro bono work is at the lowest level since 2007. However, the article says, “innovative uses of technology and partnerships with clients could amplify firms’ efforts—a textbook case of doing more with less.” Pro Bono Net Executive Director Mark O’Brien, quoted in the article’s third paragraph, notes that “the goal today is to maximize the law firms’ impact,” rather than focusing strictly on the number of hours.
The Legal Services Corporation has been focused for some time on how technology can increase and improve delivery of legal services to those in need. LSC recently convened a Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice, bringing together thought leaders (including Mark O’Brien and many of our partners) to share ideas on “the potential of technology to move the United States toward providing service of some form to all with a legal need.” You can read more on LSC’s site and on Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog.
Let us know in the comments what you think about the results of The American Lawyer’s pro bono survey and the potential of technology to help bridge the justice gap. And best wishes to all for a safe and happy 4th of July!