11 LSC-Grantees Awarded Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

September 10, 2014

Atlanta Legal Aid Society - $212,837

Colorado Legal Services - $173,808

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles - $309,451

Legal Assistance of Western New York (LawNY) - $314,068

Maryland Legal Aid - $265,464,

Montana Legal Services Association - $141,087

Northwest Justice Project - $211,120

Philadelphia Legal Assistance - $240,305

Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. -  $158,815

Utah Legal Services - $190,000

Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association - $158,045

 


Atlanta Legal Aid Society

Atlanta Legal Aid Society Receives $212,837 Pro Bono Innovation Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc. will receive a 24-month $212,837 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant to deliver free legal follow-up services to low-income clients.

Atlanta Legal Aid Society will use pro bono attorneys to make follow-up contact with clients and provide additional brief legal services, which has been proven to improve client outcomes significantly.

"This investment is critical for individuals and families that lack resources for legal representation," Rep. David Scott (GA-13) said. "Representing six metro Atlanta counties, my office often refers constituents in need of free legal advice to Atlanta Legal Aid.  Atlanta Legal Aid has been a valuable asset for the metro area for 90 years, and I am happy to support their efforts."

After closely studying seniors who received follow-up contact from pro bono attorneys, Atlanta Legal Aid Society found that successful case outcomes increased by 30% with such contact. Over the next two years, this project will expand upon this initial success and integrate volunteer attorneys in other Atlanta Legal Aid practice areas and offices. The follow-up contact will also be designed to collect more data to help the organization continuously evaluate and improve the outcomes and effectiveness of their legal advice and brief service cases. The project will be launched at the same time that the organization is establishing a complementary Senior Lawyer Program that will recruit and provide supports to engage senior attorneys in pro bono service.

"LSC has made a difference in the lives of millions of Americans, and I am thrilled that LSC has selected Atlanta Legal Aid Society to receive a pro bono grant to improve follow-up services for clients," Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) said. "Giving attorneys the ability to provide follow-up services is crucial in ensuring their clients understand the guidance they have received.  All Americans should have equal access to justice and high quality civil legal assistance and this is one more step in the right direction towards closing the "justice gap" that plagues our society. "

Atlanta Legal Aid Society is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."


Colorado Legal Services

Colorado Legal Services Receives $173,808 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant to Deliver Free Legal Clinics in Rural Areas

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Colorado Legal Services will receive a 24-month $173,808 Pro Bono Innovation grant to develop effective methods of replicating metropolitan-area pro bono clinics in rural parts of the state.

Colorado Legal Services will partner with the Colorado Bar Association to identify and test different technologies and clinic structures to reach low-income clients in isolated areas. In Colorado, pro bono resources are concentrated in urban areas with large attorney populations, while many rural counties have few or no attorneys.

"Rural Coloradans deserve the same access to legal services as their urban peers, and that’s why I’m proud to support Colorado Legal Services’ mission to ensure pro bono services are accessible in every corner of our state," Colorado Senator Mark Udall said. "This is an exciting step forward for a respected organization. I want to encourage all rural Coloradans, from the Western Slope to the San Luis Valley to the Eastern Plains, to take advantage of this partnership."  

The grant will help evaluate the effectiveness of live online chats, virtual clinics, and ‘flying squads’ – attorneys who travel to rural areas on a regular basis. Colorado Legal Services and the Colorado Bar Association will also develop clinics that provide pro bono services beyond brief advice, offering more assistance to clients who choose to legally represent themselves in pro se cases.

"Colorado Legal Services has consistently provided quality civil legal services to Colorado’s most underserved," Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) said. "I want to congratulate them for being awarded a very competitive Legal Services Corporation grant for the newly minted pro bono legal services program. While CLS has been a recipient of LSC funds in the past, this grant will help to further legal service innovation by spreading new ideas and best practices found in Colorado to the rest of the nation."

"Everyone has a right to strong legal representation, and Colorado Legal Services is providing Colorado’s rural residents access the legal expertise we have in the Denver metro area," Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-01) said. "This innovative work helps guarantee the foundational value of our legal system: equal justice for all."

Colorado Legal Services is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant  program funded by Congress in its FY-2014 budget that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."


Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Awarded $309,451 Pro Bono Innovation Grant to Develop Online Training Institute 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation today announced the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as the recipient of a 24-month $309,451 Pro Bono Innovation grant to develop the California Pro Bono Training Institute.

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles will partner with the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and OneJustice to create a statewide online forum of substantive trainings that will provide legal services organizations and attorneys with high quality, engaging, and on-demand Continuing Legal Education trainings relevant to pro bono work for low-income clients.

The project aims to create a more efficient system of meaningful pro bono trainings for the large legal aid network in California.

These trainings will be on a variety of pro bono topics and legal issues affecting low-income individuals in California. The Training Institute will draw on recent innovations in adult learning techniques. After participating in an Institute training, a pro bono attorney or advocate will be empowered to help low-income and underserved clients in select subject areas on a statewide level, regardless of the partnering legal aid organization. The objective is to better serve low-income individuals in communities across California by enabling pro bono attorneys state-wide to provide free legal services in a variety of legal areas.

The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid,” LSC President Jim Sandman said. “As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point.”

Members of California’s congressional delegation applauded the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles with the following statements:

Senator Dianne Feinstein: “The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles has served its community for more than 80 years, providing invaluable civil legal counsel to those in need. The foundation's success depends on the dedicated attorneys willing to work pro bono to serve their neighbors. I am pleased that with new federal resources, the foundation will expand its ability to ensure these attorneys can continue to serve the public.”

Representative Julia Brownley (CA-26):“I am pleased that the Legal Services Corporation awarded this grant to the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles to develop a pro bono program that would help low-income families throughout Greater Los Angeles get the critical legal aid and assistance they need.”

Representative Henry A. Waxman (CA-33): “The Legal Services Corporation is a lifeline for low-income people in need of legal representation. For 85 years the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles has been helping some of our most vulnerable individuals, including victims of domestic violence and homeowners facing eviction. I’m delighted that the organization is receiving an award to develop the California Pro Bono Training Institute as part of LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund.”

Representative Adam Schiff (CA-28): “I am pleased to congratulate Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, and OneJustice on being selected by the Legal Services Corporation to develop the California Pro Bono Training Institute. The California Pro Bono Training Institute will serve as an online hub to train attorneys to train legal services organizations and pro bono attorneys to represent their clients effectively. Recruiting and training more pro bono attorneys is a crucial aspect to addressing the thousands of Americans who go without adequate legal representation. These three organizations are excellent choices to collaborate on this project, bringing to bear decades of experience serving underprivileged clients who need legal help.”

Representative Judy Chu (CA-27): “I am so thrilled that the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is receiving this important grant. Justice must be available to all, not just those who can afford it. By training and supporting pro bono lawyers in California, this grant will expand opportunities for low-income individuals and allow them to have equal access to our justice system.”


Legal Assistance of Western New York (LawNY)

Legal Assistance of Western New York Receives $314,068 Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY) will receive an 18-month $314,068 Pro Bono Innovation grant to deliver free legal follow-up services to low-income clients.

To create the project, LawNY is partnering with five other LSC grantees in the state: Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, and Neighborhood Legal Services of Buffalo.

New York’s Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman recently established two major pro bono initiatives: one requiring 50 hours of pro bono for applicants admitted to the New York State Bar on or after January 1, 2015, and another establishing the Attorney Emeritus Program to encourage experienced attorneys to offer their skills to legal aid providers.

In response to those pro bono initiatives, the six LSC grantees will create a new pro bono practice group across organizations to coordinate pro bono opportunities among their 33 offices and nine New York law schools, including the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham University School of Law, which staffs the Attorney Emeritus Program for the Office of Court Administration.

Through the partnership created by the six LSC grantees – which provide legal services to every urban, suburban and rural community outside of New York City – thousands of hours will be donated to help low-income New Yorkers resolve civil legal problems in areas affecting the essentials of life: housing, family matters, subsistence income, and access to health care and education.

LawNY is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."


Maryland Legal Aid

Maryland Legal Aid Awarded $265,464 Pro Bono Innovation Grant to Establish Veterans Hotline

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation today announced Maryland Legal Aid as the recipient of a 24-month $265,464 Pro Bono Innovation grant to establish a single, statewide Veterans Hotline.

Maryland Legal Aid will partner with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland to recruit and train pro bono attorneys in effectively and efficiently meeting the legal needs of Maryland’s low-income veteran population.

Maryland is home to 465,000 veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Many of these veterans are homeless or living at or below the poverty line, struggling to meet their basic living needs. Currently, there are limited legal resources available to low-income Maryland veterans and no legal aid organizations provide a comprehensive menu of services. 

The project aims to provide legal assistance to low-income veterans through brief advice, and where more extensive assistance is needed, a pool of qualified pro bono lawyers willing to handle veterans’ legal matters will be available for representation.

Maryland Legal Aid is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."

Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation applauded Maryland Legal Aid with the following statements:

Senator Ben Cardin (MD), former Chairman of Maryland Legal Services Corporation: "Our veterans have sacrificed for this nation and we have a responsibility to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect as they navigate in the civilian world. I am proud that Maryland Legal Aid will now be just a phone call away and ready, as always, to fight on behalf of our brave warriors and their families. These federal funds will give Maryland’s veterans easier access to quality legal support when they need it most."

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02): "One of my office’s top priorities is working with local veterans caught in red tape and we’ve witnessed first-hand the frustrations of many. We owe our nation’s heroes the best care and resources and I am pleased that Maryland veterans will now be able to access free legal counsel through the exceptional Maryland Legal Aid Bureau thanks to this grant."

Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04): "I welcome the news that Legal Aid Bureau, located in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, was selected to receive a pro bono grant from Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The Veterans Hotline that will be created and staffed by pro bono attorneys will serve as a useful tool to help veterans throughout the region address any legal challenges they face. I thank Legal Aid Bureau and LSC for their commitment to improving the well-being of our veterans."

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-08): "This grant is welcome news for Maryland’s veterans. The men and women who served our nation deserve access to high-quality legal assistance if needed, and this funding will ensure that they receive it."


Montana Legal Services Association 

Montana Legal Services Association Receives $141,087 Pro Bono Innovation Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Montana Legal Services Association will receive a 24-month $141,087 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant to develop an online platform for legal aid volunteers and pro bono attorneys.

The project will address the challenges to statewide pro bono service delivery by targeting barriers for solo practitioners, small firms, government attorneys, law students, and paralegals.

The state of Montana encompasses over 145,000 square miles with one attorney for every 14,000 people living in poverty.

Montana Legal Services Association’s project will strengthen and expand a statewide network of pro bono volunteers to provide legal advice and assistance to low-income clients.

The project will also support existing local pro bono programs and create new opportunities for pro bono representation, developing an online platform that allows pro bono attorneys and law students to remotely assist and prepare clients to represent themselves in court.

The Montana Legal Services Association is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point." 

 


Northwest Justice Project

Northwest Justice Project Awarded $211,120 Pro Bono Innovation Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today Northwest Justice Project’s 24-month $211,120 Pro Bono Innovation grant to systematically increase and improve pro bono legal services to low income clients.

Northwest Justice Project will pilot an effort to address the challenge of providing extended legal representation to clients in an unknown area of law. The project will develop a comprehensive set of resources to support volunteer lawyers in providing significant pro bono assistance beyond brief advice or limited action.

The project’s resources will include mentoring and research assistance, in addition to sample pleadings and discovery documents, memoranda of law, substantive law and local procedural information sheets, a sample limited scope retainer agreement and a series of short video clips by subject matter experts.

The project will partner with three local volunteer lawyer programs in northwest Washington: Legal Assistance by Whatcom (LAW) Advocates, Skagit County Volunteer Lawyer Program and Snohomish County Legal Services. The second year of the project will expand to rural eastern Washington and partner with Chelan-Douglas Volunteer Attorney Services to pilot remote mentoring and pro bono support.

Northwest Justice Project is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."

Washington’s congressional delegation applauded the Northwest Justice Project with the following statements:

Senator Patty Murray: "This is a great investment in a critical project for Washington state families and communities. Northwest Justice Project does great work and makes a real difference in the lives of low income families by helping them access counsel and overcome barriers to justice. This investment will help NJP expand its reach through partnerships with volunteer lawyers and organizations throughout the state to address a broader set of legal needs and issues for their clients. I want to congratulate NJP on receiving this grant and thank them, their attorneys, and the volunteer attorneys across Washington state who provide pro bono legal representation to those in need."

Representative Suzan DelBene (WA-01): "This funding is great news for the Northwest Justice Project and for the people of the 1st District. I am so pleased the Legal Services Corporation has recognized the incredible work the Northwest Justice Project is doing to provide legal aid to those who need it, and this grant will allow them to further expand their support in these communities."

Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06): "A healthy democracy includes a judicial system that is accessible to all its citizens. It’s important that every person – whether they are dealing with foreclosure or fraud – can get the legal services they need to protect their interests. That’s why Congress and the Legal Services Corporation created a new Pro Bono Innovation Fund. This program is awarding grants to groups like the Northwest Justice Project to better ensure volunteer lawyers can effectively serve their clients."

Representative Rick Larsen (WA-02): "I am a strong supporter of efforts to break down barriers so all people can participate in our economy and our democracy, a goal the Northwest Justice Project embodies well. The Northwest Justice Project provides critical legal aid to low-income families, veterans and others in the Pacific Northwest to help them maintain stable housing, access affordable health care and fulfill other basic needs. With this grant, the Northwest Justice Project will be able to expand its reach as it builds better opportunities for people and for communities." 


Philadelphia Legal Assistance

Philadelphia Legal Assistance Awarded $240,305 Pro Bono Innovation Grant to Create Medical-Legal Community Partnership 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today Philadelphia Legal Assistance as the recipient of a 24-month $240,305 Pro Bono Innovation grant to create a Medical-Legal Community Partnership driven by law student pro bono.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance will use the network of existing neighborhood public health centers and law student volunteers to create the partnership, which aims to improve access to comprehensive and coordinated health and legal care for low-income clients. Law student volunteers will also participate in "Skills Lab" sessions and weekly group supervision to hone their legal skills and collaborative problem-solving.

People who live in poverty disproportionately experience legal and health problems from homelessness, substandard housing, being uninsured and having to choose between food or heat. These "socio-legal needs" can affect the health of low-income families and the efficacy of medical services, as even the best care is undermined by unmet legal needs.

"I congratulate Philadelphia Legal Assistance on their innovative medical-legal partnership model that is helping to ensure that low-income families in our community have their medical and social service needs met more effectively," Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA-02) said. "This grant will help PLA sustain and amplify the Medical-Legal-Community Partnership, while continuing to help provide and expand legal assistance to thousands of Philadelphians. I am proud to have pushed for the creation of the Pro Bono Innovation Fund in Congress so programs like this can continue the pursuit of equal access to justice."

Philadelphia Legal Assistance is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."


Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. 

Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. Awarded $158,815 Pro Bono Innovation Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation today announced Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. as the recipient of an 18-month $158,815 Pro Bono Innovation grant to provide free online legal services to single parents in rural areas and small towns.

Prairie State Legal Services will collaborate with Illinois Legal Aid Online to leverage online recruitment and intake, and will develop on-demand e-learning modules that can be used by pro bono attorneys throughout the state.

"I’m excited and hopeful that this Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant will benefit low-income families and single parents in McLean County who are seeking legal advice on family law issues," Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13) said. "This funding within the Legal Services Corporation can make a true difference in our communities."

The project will recruit volunteer lawyers – including corporate and other attorneys in suburban areas and other surrounding Chicago counties – to provide legal information, advice and brief services on family law issues. Volunteers will also teach legal information classes and lead pro-se assistance clinics to aid eligible clients with limited-scope legal services.

Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."

 


Utah Legal Services

Utah Legal Services Awarded $190,000 Pro Bono Innovation Grant 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today Utah Legal Services’ 24-month $190,000 Pro Bono Innovation grant to provide family law legal services to low-income pro se clients in rural areas.

Utah Legal Services will partner with the Self-Help Center of the Utah State Courts, local Utah State Bar pro bono committees, Timpanogos Legal Center, and volunteer law students and pro bono attorneys to provide a continuum of service for clients representing themselves in family law matters in isolated parts of the state.

"I'm pleased that Utah Legal Services was selected to receive a grant to partner with other legal providers in Utah," Representative Chris Stewart (UT-02) said. "The legal industry needs creative approaches to decrease the costs and barriers to legal services for rural Utahns, and I’m hopeful we’ll see some of that innovation at work through the grant."  

The project will expand a successful collaboration between these partners that provide tiered services to pro se clients in virtual and in-person sites. Eligible individuals in need of legal assistance at pilot sites will immediately access an online meeting and document-sharing platform to receive advice and assistance from on-call pro bono attorneys. Clients who need additional assistance preparing documents will be referred to document clinics hosted in rural areas and using the online platform for pro bono law students and attorneys to provide document preparation assistance virtually.

Utah Legal Services plans to pilot the project in two judicial districts to replicate the project in other parts of the state.

Utah Legal Services is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid," LSC President Jim Sandman said. "As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point."

 


Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association

Volunteer Lawyers Project of The Boston Bar Association Awarded $158,045 Pro Bono Innovation Grant

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation today announced the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association as the recipient of a 24-month $158,045 Pro Bono Innovation grant to develop new legal aid clinics and technology to provide bankruptcy legal assistance to low-income clients.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project will test and prototype “pop-up” bankruptcy clinics, a customized virtual law firm platform, and cost-effective videoconferencing to train and mentor pro bono attorneys in parts of the state where there are no volunteer bankruptcy attorneys available. Boston-area volunteers will also be able to remotely reach and represent more eligible clients in areas where there are no pro bono bankruptcy attorneys available. The innovations proposed in this project will bring greater efficiency to evaluating, preparing, and referring pro bono bankruptcy cases.

“I congratulate the Boston Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project on its Legal Services Corporation grant for its dedication to providing pro bono legal assistance to low-income clients,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said. “This grant from the Legal Services Corporation’s new Pro Bono Innovation Fund will help the Volunteer Lawyers Project continue its much-needed work, especially in pairing bankruptcy attorneys with those who most need their help.”

The project will leverage the expertise of Boston-area bankruptcy attorneys to benefit clients and other pro bono volunteers statewide.

“The award of one of the first Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants to the Boston Volunteer Lawyers Project  underscores that VLP stands not just for Volunteer Lawyers Project but also for Vision, Leadership and Promise,” Senator Edward J. Markey said. “Boston VLP’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund project will allow Boston-area bankruptcy attorneys to multiply their talents and presence throughout the state by deploying innovative technology to meet a critical need. It will make an important difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents and reflects the combination of creativity and compassion that characterizes the Bay State legal community.”

The Volunteer Lawyers Project currently has over 330 active and experienced bankruptcy volunteers, including law professors, partners at large law firms, bankruptcy trustees, and solo practitioners. Boston-area volunteers will also be able to remotely reach and represent more eligible clients in areas where there are no pro bono bankruptcy attorneys available.

“I am pleased that the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association has been selected to receive a pro bono grant from the Pro Bono Innovation Fund to the Legal Services Corporation,” Representative William Keating (MA-09) said. “The VLP has a long history of providing essential, pro bono legal services to Massachusetts residents and of partnering with regional pro bono organizations to spread these services throughout the state. This funding will allow Boston-based bankruptcy experts to mentor and train local attorneys and to represent low-income clients in bankruptcy matters. As a former District Attorney of Norfolk County, I understand just how vital pro bono legal services are to those in need, and I thank the VLP for all that it has done for the people of Massachusetts.”

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association is one of 11 inaugural recipients of LSC’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects that identify and promote replicable innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.

"We are grateful to Congress for funding this new competitive grant program to increase pro bono support for civil legal aid,” LSC President Jim Sandman said. “As a former antitrust lawyer, I believe that competition promotes innovation. The number and quality of the applications for our new Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants proves the point.”

 

 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.