Five Great Ways to Do Pro Bono Online (Coronavirus Edition)

Lawline Staff Writer | April 10, 2020

Pro bono work is important at all times. Lawyers who donate their time can help close the justice gap, uphold the values of the legal profession as one of public service, and advance their careers by learning new skills and meeting other legal professionals. During the ongoing pandemic, pro bono work is even more critical, as millions of people remain unemployed, our elections are at risk from COVID-related disruptions, and employees all over the country face pandemic-related challenges in their workplaces.

Many organizations have created new ways to engage with pro bono practice online since before the pandemic hit, and have been able to leverage new technology to launch rapid responses to address the current crisis. Check out these five critical remote volunteer opportunities. 

  1. Draft Living Wills and Powers of Attorney for Healthcare Workers. Healthcare workers on the front lines need to make sure their families are taken care of and wishes are recorded in case the worst happens. To sign up, email with your bar membership, location, and availability.  
  2. File Humanitarian Parole for Detained Migrants. Conditions in detention centers are highly compatible with the spread of a contagion; reports include too many people to safely distance, shared soap and a lack of cleaning products, and guards who come and go without proper protective gear.  The Immigration Justice Campaign has an urgent need for pro bono counsel to file requests for release on humanitarian parole. There is training and mentorship provided, and  you can volunteer for this project here
  3. Help Nonprofits Access Federal Relief Funding. Nonprofits across the country are in dire need of legal support in applying for federal assistance under the CARES Act. As many law firms are also applying for similar relief funding, this is a great way to use knowledge you already have to help keep nonprofits afloat during this crisis. 
  4. Protect Voting Rights in Your County. The right to vote is at high risk during the pandemic. The Voter Protection Corps County Leads Project is recruiting attorneys to monitor ongoing election activity, including voting and election changes proposed in response to coronavirus, submit weekly reports to VPC, and make local and state-level interventions to protect the vote. Sign up here or email with questions.
  5. Staff the ABA Free Legal Answers Hotline. Operating in 41 states, the ABA virtual legal clinic provides an online venue for low-income clients to ask questions across a variety of practice areas. Sign up under the “Volunteer Attorney Registration” tab here

These projects are all open to attorneys in every jurisdiction, but many pro bono projects are state specific. Check in with Pro Bono Net or a legal services provider in your area for information on getting involved on a local level.  

If you run a pro bono project that you’d like us to feature, reach out to Sarah Mills. Lawline can also help set up trainings for volunteer attorneys, which is a great way to recruit volunteers from all over the country. 

Related Content: 

  1. Pro Bono Perspectives: Best Practices for Matters Serving the Public Good, Wherever You Work
  2. Pro Bono Strategies in Emergency Response to COVID-19
  3. 10 Paths to Online Pro Bono Work

This article was updated with new information on September 17, 2020.

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