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PILI is a National Leader in ABA Free Legal Answers 2023 Summary Report

The American Bar Association 2023 Summary Report indicates PILI in Illinois remains a national leader for the virtual online legal clinic.

Over 330,000 civil legal questions have been answered since the launch of the ABA Free Legal Answers website in 2016 according to the ABA’s 2023 Summary Report. The site, which allows low-income people to post civil legal questions for lawyers to answer, was an especially important resource during the pandemic and the effects of the pandemic are still being felt today as increases in questions is a reminder of the unmet legal needs in the country. Over 13,000 volunteer attorneys across the country have made an incredible impact in expanding access to justice by assisting those in need in underserved and underrepresented communities providing over 72,000 hours of pro bono time.

ABA Free Legal Answers offers, for some, the only opportunity to get assistance to a legal question for those who cannot access legal services for a number of possible reasons whether it be financial, geographical, or transportation constraints. Over 19,600 questions were submitted by veterans and over 16,700 questions were submitted by seniors since the website was launched. The most common types of questions submitted pertained to Family and Children (38%), Housing and Homelessness (16%), Other (18%) or Consumer/Financial (10%). Additionally, people may now get responses to questions about two federal areas of law, immigration and veterans’ benefits. According to the 2023 ABA Impact Report, ABA Federal Free Legal Answers responded to 153 immigration questions thanks to 12 volunteer attorneys. The ABA Commission on Immigration provides training and resources to the attorney volunteers, who may answer one or several questions.

PILI is the statewide administrator in Illinois, which remains the state with the most volunteers on the site with 1,269 registered volunteer attorneys. PILI continues to focus on volunteer recruitment and training across the state, regularly working with law firms, corporations and law schools to set up both in person and virtual clinics to train volunteers to use the site and then answer questions together. In 2023, Illinois Free Legal Answers volunteers answered 3,565 civil legal questions to help those in need.

PILI already works with many law firms, corporations, bar associations and law schools in Illinois to host Illinois Free Legal Answers clinics for their volunteers. PILI can provide a training on how to use Illinois Free Legal Answers for participants. PILI can also provide a CLE program with Illinois MCLE credit for volunteers. This is also a great partnership opportunity for these groups to come together for a joint clinic. Learn more »

If you would like to volunteer to answer questions for those in need, please visit our website or reach out to PILI Managing Attorney Abigail Causer by email or at 217-693-6017.

Posted in News, Pro Bono Opportunities.