CBA Pro Bono Connect Responds to the Legal Services Needs as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) has launched CBA Pro Bono Connect to help meet the anticipated increase in the civil legal needs of Connecticut’s low-income residents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will allow volunteer attorneys to sign up to receive case referrals from Connecticut’s civil legal service providers.  CBA Pro Bono Connect also provides those attorneys with on-demand webinar trainings and materials to support their legal representation.

“In Connecticut, we have a significant access to justice gap. This gap will now be amplified by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cecil J. Thomas, CBA vice president, Pro Bono Committee vice-chair, and 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force Legal Aid Subcommittee co-chair. “Every day, thousands of Connecticut families face serious housing, family, consumer, education, and immigration legal issues without an attorney to help them navigate those complex legal systems. It is our hope that CBA Pro Bono Connect, by leveraging capable pro bono volunteers, will help shrink our access to justice gap.”

To participate in the program, interested attorneys can sign up online to be matched with one of Connecticut’s civil legal service providers, based upon their expressed pro bono interests.

On-demand webinars have been developed by members of the subcommittee to provide training support to participating attorneys.  These trainings are available in the CBA’s Education Portal. To receive the training for free, attorneys can take the Pro Bono Pledge, agreeing to take on a pro bono case assigned by a legal service provider. Alternatively, attorneys may elect to pay for the trainings, which provide continuing legal education credits.  All of the resulting training revenue will be donated to benefit Connecticut’s legal service providers.

CBA Pro Bono Connect is a project of the Legal Aid Subcommittee of the CBA’s 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force.  The task force, chaired by Barbara J. Collins of The Law Office of Barbara J. Collins, Monte E. Frank of Pullman & Comley LLC, and Dana M. Hrelic of Horton Dowd Bartschi & Levesque PC, was established at the onset of the pandemic to respond to the growing legal issues and needs in Connecticut arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. “CBA Pro Bono Connect will increase the legal profession’s capacity to provide pro bono services to Connecticut’s low-income residents during and after the pandemic,” said CBA President Ndidi N. Moses. “The infrastructure and relationships enhanced as a result of the task force’s collaborative effort on this initiative will be a continued effort of the CBA to assist the legal service providers in meeting the legal needs of Connecticut’s residents.”

Attorneys can learn more about CBA Pro Bono Connect and sign up to be matched with a legal service provider, based upon their area of interest, at Members of the public may also visit the site to learn how to access pro bono legal services.