North Carolina's civil justice community is kicking off this year's National Celebration of Pro Bono by launching Pro Bono Go, a statewide platform for legal professionals seeking pro bono service that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of North Carolinians in need.
Created by the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center (NCPBRC) in partnership with Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and Pisgah Legal Services, Pro Bono Go is a new online clearinghouse of pro bono opportunities provided by the state's leading civil legal aid and public-interest legal organizations.
“Lawyers and paralegals are busy," said Sylvia Novinsky, director of the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center. “The practice of law is a high-stakes, deadline-driven profession that demands more than its fair share of time from practitioners. Yet, North Carolina legal professionals have always made time for pro bono service. It’s the responsibility of organizations that need pro bono volunteers to meet them halfway. We need to make it as quick and easy as possible for volunteers to learn about and sign up for our pro bono opportunities.”
Pro Bono Go allows legal professionals to visit one website to find pro bono opportunities from the state's leading civil justice organizations. Volunteers can search and filter opportunities by keyword, location, practice area, type (ex: cases, clinics, etc.), and sponsor organization. Volunteers can also set up customized email alerts when new opportunities matching their preferences hit the site. Volunteers do not need to create an account and never have to remember a password.
“Pro bono can’t get much easier,” said Novinsky. “When North Carolina legal professionals think 'pro bono,' we want them to think 'Pro Bono Go.'”
Pro Bono Go uses the Pro Bono Matters software created by SavvySuit, a Florida-based software development company that builds access to justice software and products for the private bar.
“The power of Pro Bono Go lies not only in its convenience but also in its ability to drive transformative change,” said Courtney Viebrock, interim managing attorney of the Pro Bono Unit at the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. “By simplifying the process of engagement, we invite all legal professionals to be part of the movement for justice for all. This collaboration among civil legal aid partners statewide allows us, together, to make a lasting impact for our clients across North Carolina.”
“We are so grateful for the partnership of the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center and our sister legal services organizations,” said Allison Constance, director of Pro Bono Programs for Legal Aid of North Carolina. “Pro Bono Go makes it easier for volunteers to engage with our organizations. The easier we can make it for volunteers, the more likely they are to serve which means that we can all help more clients together than we can separately.”
“Thousands of people across our state who cannot afford an attorney are desperate for help and can benefit from Pro Bono Go,” said Katie Russell Miller, Pisgah Legal Services’ managing director of community engagement. “We work with hundreds of local attorneys who assist our clients pro bono, and we witness the life-changing work they do to help people with low incomes navigate complicated legal systems.”