In anticipation of Pro Bono Week later this month, The Chicago Bar Foundation is partnering with an innovative legal tech platform, Paladin, to change the way attorneys connect to pro bono opportunities and to increase access to justice across the city and state.
The partnership matches the CBF’s acclaimed pro bono resources with Paladin’s groundbreaking platform to help pro bono attorneys find and connect with aligned pro bono and legal aid organizations. Studies show that roughly half of the more than two million Illinoisans who qualify for free legal aid are expected to face a legal problem this year, yet more than half of them will be turned away because legal aid organizations do not have the capacity to serve them. Maximizing opportunities for pro bono service is one of the key strategies to meet this need, and the new platform will make it much easier for pro bono lawyers to connect to opportunities that are a good fit for their expertise, interest, and availability.
The CBF has long published a popular Pro Bono Opportunities Guide as a print publication to help lawyers find and connect to pro bono opportunities, and CBF staff with expertise on these issues assists in facilitating these partnerships. However, as Bob Glaves, Executive Director of The Chicago Bar Foundation noted, the CBF has recognized that an online tool that leverages this content and expertise could really increase efficiency and accessibility. We are thrilled that the new partnership with Paladin will make that possible.
On the new pro bono platform, all Illinois lawyers and legal professionals can explore a comprehensive database of opportunities at pro bono and legal aid organizations across the state, and sign up to get involved. Opportunities are sortable by the most common characteristics that prospective volunteers search for, including the type of case (e.g, civil rights, guardianship), the community helped (e.g., children and families, immigrants and refugees), and the kind of work they will be doing to help (e.g., litigation, transactional).
Paladin’s work on the new pro bono site complements the company’s acclaimed work with a growing number of corporate law departments, law firms, and law schools using Paladin’s software program to manage their internal pro bono programs. Paladin’s software enables legal teams to staff, manage, and track their pro bono work on a centralized dashboard, as well as capture engagement in real time.
This growing network of firm, corporate, and academic partners using Paladin’s software, combined with the CBF’s broad network of pro bono and legal aid partners in Illinois, lays the groundwork for even bigger advances in pro bono collaboration and communication in the coming years.
The platform will be accessible via the CBF’s website and through other partners in time for this year’s Pro Bono Week, which will take place the week of October 22, 2018. Pro Bono Week originated in Chicago back in 2005 as a joint effort of the CBF and The Chicago Bar Association to recognize and promote the great pro bono work many lawyers are already doing and to help connect other lawyers with opportunities to get involved. The success of Pro Bono Week in Chicago helped inspire the American Bar Association to turn Pro Bono Week into a National Pro Bono Celebration every October.
We’re excited to leverage our technology to streamline pro bono for both lawyers and pro bono clients, ultimately helping more individuals in need. This is an incredible opportunity to expand the availability of much-needed services in Chicago and around the state, says Paladin’s co-founder, Kristen Sonday, and brings us one step closer to ensuring equal access to justice for all.
The Chicago Bar Foundation
About The Chicago Bar Foundation
The Chicago Bar Foundation brings the legal community together to improve access to justice for people in need and make the legal system more fair and efficient for everyone. As the charitable arm of the Chicago Bar Association, the CBF is the largest voluntarily supported bar foundation in the country. The CBF awards more than $2 million in grants each year and plays a lead role in a number of innovative access to justice initiatives.
Paladin helps legal teams run streamlined pro bono programs while increasing access to justice. They partner with in-house legal teams, law firms, and law schools to staff, manage, and track their pro bono work on a centralized platform, as well as visualize their impact. Paladin has connected attorneys with LGBT refugees, domestic violence survivors, and low-income entrepreneurs, among others. Paladin is based in New York and Chicago and was a part of the Techstars Chicago 2017 class. For more information, please visit joinpaladin.com.