The State Bar of Wisconsin launched a new Pro Bono Opportunity Portal to help connect low-income Wisconsinites with free legal help.
The new website is the first statewide portal for pro bono opportunities. Attorneys and law students can match their skill and interests with opportunities offered through free legal agencies throughout the state, including Legal Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Judicare. The website will also allow the agencies to post their opportunities to a nationwide, American Bar Association-led Disaster Relief Pro Bono Portal to extend its reach for pro bono work related to COVID-19.
Civil legal aid services are having to turn away nearly 50 percent of the people who need help because of a lack of money, according to the State Bar. Some of the residents’ current legal challenges include landlord evictions, unpaid healthcare bills because of unemployment and child-custody questions.
Kathleen Brost, State Bar president, said the bar has received a surge of requests for aid from state civil legal-aid programs since the pandemic started. She said the agencies view increased pro bono assistance as indispensable to making equal justice for all a reality.
The Pro Bono Opportunity Portal is a partnership with Paladin, a justice technology company. Its mission is to increase access to justice by helping legal teams run more efficient pro bono programs.