Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Alissa Gomez (Houston), Learning to Love Pro Bono: A Practical Recipe for Engaging Law Students:
In April 2019, our Lawyering Skills & Strategies Department at the University of Houston Law Center brought together law students, faculty, practitioners, and UH law librarians, to help low-income clients across Texas using the virtual legal advice platform provided by the ABA’s Free Legal Answers website. Launched in September 2016, Free Legal Answers allows members of the public who income-qualify to post civil legal questions to a secure website and have those questions answered by a licensed attorney in their state. Pairing law students with practitioners, faculty, and law librarians, we were able to answer several real-time client questions, in the span of less than three hours, on issues ranging from family law and landlord-tenant to consumer disputes. The experience brought legal research and writing to life for our law students, and helped remind everyone about the importance of pro bono service to our profession.
We hope you will read this article and consider hosting a virtual legal advice clinic at your law school. It requires minimal set-up and has the potential to affect individuals that otherwise might be well outside the reach of a law school. Below is our simple recipe for success.