CHICAGO, March 15, 2022 —The American Bar Association web program ABA Free Legal Answers, which gives income-eligible users the ability to pose civil legal questions to volunteer attorneys, has released a nationwide list of lawyers, law firms, corporate law departments, law schools and other legal organizations who last year handled the most online questions.
In less than six years, 45 states and more than 10,000 attorneys nationally have committed to participating in ABA Free Legal Answers (FLA), which serves as a virtual legal advice clinic. Of those, more than 140 attorneys in 2021 — the most ever — handled at least 50 civil legal questions each and are recognized as 2021 Pro Bono Leaders.
“For those who cannot afford an attorney and have nowhere else to turn, ABA Free Legal Answers serves as a critical resource,” ABA President Reginald Turner said. “We are proud of the more than 10,000 volunteer lawyers nationwide who are helping to meet these important legal needs, and particularly pleased about the efforts of our FLA Pro Bono Leaders. We urge other attorneys to step up and assist as well.”
Geared to expand legal services for low-income communities, users of the service must meet income eligibility guidelines applicable to each state. While expanding access to legal services, ABA Free Legal Answers also expands pro bono opportunities for attorneys in a convenient way to match their schedules.
“ABA Free Legal Answers offers a flexible online platform, even in pandemic conditions, to do this important pro bono work from our offices, homes, makeshift workstations at the courthouse and on our own time,” attorney Brandon A. Robinson of North Carolina said. “Participating on the platform with hundreds of North Carolinians has been one of my daily joys during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Earlier this year, ABA FLA exceeded a total of 200,000 inquiries, doubling its volume in two years, in part because of the pandemic. Additional details on the initiative through February can be found here.
In 2016, the national program began through a collaboration between the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the law firm Baker Donelson, consolidating the web-existing programs in Tennessee and other states. It then expanded by inviting other states to participate through the national platform. Nationally, attorneys can volunteer their services by navigating to www.ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org and selecting “Attorney Registration.”