COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in our system. Health and education are discussed heavily, but just as broken is access to our justice system. Law is complicated and yet every area of life is impacted by it. The confusion and uncertainty surrounding legal issues fuels anxiety and stress. Our neighbors need help now more than ever. What if that help was as available as ordering something on Amazon? It can be.
Now is the time for all good lawyers to come to the aid of their country!
Are you an attorney? Do you know an attorney? You can immediately expand access to justice with just one hour of volunteering. No commute time – just open up your computer. The problem is serious. Providing clarity and alleviating confusion is easier than you think.
The most recent American Time Use Survey reveals the average person spends 2.81 hours a day watching TV. I’m not opposed to TV, but that’s 19.67 hours a week. How about sharing one of those hours with a neighbor in need?
Just imagine. There are 1.3 million lawyers in America. Take four weeks off and simply share one hour a week for 48 weeks. That would provide 62,400,000 hours of service! And you never need to leave your office or couch. With one hour of training in systems and support, you can make a significant difference during this time of crisis.
Lawyers: Be an oasis in America’s legal deserts
The American Bar Association just released the Profile of the Legal Profession Report demonstrating large swaths of the United States are legal deserts. There are 3,141 counties in the U.S. and 1,272 have less than one lawyer per 1,000 residents. 40% of counties are legal deserts. In Illinois while a high concentration of lawyers exist in Chicago even in those communities there are zip code deserts with no true access. And much of the state has no help available.
COVID has taught us how to use technology. Now you can reach these communities virtually. Let us help. All it takes is clicking a button to sign up for a convenient one-hour training and we will schedule the client and support you with another volunteer. Learn more from Judy Miller’s blog post.
Change the legal landscape
Lawyers are uniquely qualified to assess legal issues and provide empowerment prescriptions for self-help assistance. Yet the 2019 Illinois ARDC Annual Report reveals only 1/3 (33.7%) of lawyers report any pro bono hours and only 57% of those hours are for direct client service. The average attorney volunteers 11 hours – a year. Only 13 minutes a week. We can do better for our neighbors struggling in this pandemic.
Just imagine if the 94,662 attorneys in Illinois volunteered one hour a week. Suddenly 4,543,776 hours of service would flood our communities. It starts with you. Will you give one hour of justice for a neighbor in need?
Maybe you are prohibited from volunteering by an employer. Maybe there are other reasons you cannot serve. Will you help us by donating one hour of your billable time? We will use those resources to expand our virtual intake process so more people can receive the guidance and clarity they need in these overwhelming times.
John F. Kennedy said,
“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”
Will you try? Share one hour a week or four hours a month with vulnerable neighbors in need. Together we can immediately expand access to justice. With liberty and justice for all.