The prosecutor’s office had plans to develop such a tool since last year. While the rules of the Wisconsin Supreme Court encourage all Wisconsin attorneys to volunteer 50 hours each year, many don’t know where to look for such volunteer opportunities.
“Civil aid programs in the state tell us that pro bono aid is critical to achieving our common goal of equality for all,” said prosecutor Kathleen Brost.
With a record number of people seeking help with civil law problems, a new tool from the State Bar of Wisconsin allows lawyers and law students to volunteer where they are most needed.
With the pandemic, the professional association wanted to connect those in need with those in need. Students who have graduated from a certain number of law schools can practice if they are supervised by a lawyer. Law school staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University contacted Brown to investigate opportunities for their students.
“It was getting harder and harder for people to reach volunteers because there wasn’t so much that they could reach and network with,” Brown said. “This was a chance to reach people where they are: on their computers, phones and tablets.”
It looked like such a tool would take six months to a year to develop, but when Brown discovered legal technology company Paladin, which would license the technology to the prosecutor for a fee, it took only six weeks to open the portal was finished .