For 23 years, Pro Bono Net has been working to harness the potential of technology to connect pro bono attorneys to those most in need of their services and to provide legal tools to help individuals advocate for themselves. In 2021 alone, the non-profit helped more than 8.4 million people connect to a legal resource and helped self-represented individuals create more than 900,000 legal documents and court forms.
It does this through state-level programs such as LawHelp.org, which connects people to legal aid programs and self-help tools, and TenantHelpNY.org, which helps tenants avoid eviction; national programs such as Citizenshipworks.org, which helps people apply for citizenship, and OlmsteadRights.org, which provides legal resources for people with disabilities; and tools such as LawHelp Interactive, which is used by programs across the country to help individuals create legal documents.
Our guest today, Mark O’Brien, cofounded Pro Bono Net together with Michael Hertz, and has been its executive director since 2005. They saw the potential for technology to be a “force multiplier” for solving the problems of delivering justice in the United States, O’Brien says in the interview, but it was never just about the technology, but rather about how technology could be an enabler of human capacity.
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