CBA Provides Pro Bono Legal Services in Libraries

Written Monday, January 4, 2021

The CBA has established the Lawyers in the Libraries program to provide free pro bono legal services to members of the public in a community setting. The program, which began on December 3, allows members of the public to register for a 20-minute appointment and receive free legal advice in the areas of landlord/tenant, immigration law, family law, employment, consumer rights, and personal injury at the Public Library of New London and Ferguson Library in Stamford.

"With the COVID-19 restrictions in place, the CBA is thrilled that we are able to provide in-person and virtual legal services through our Lawyers in the Libraries program," said CBA President Amy Lin Meyerson. "Many thanks to Kyle LaBuff and CBA Executive Director Keith J. Soressi for conceptualizing and establishing this CBA pro bono legal services program and Vice President Dan Horgan for taking the lead in running the program in the New London area. We welcome the participation of more attorney volunteers in the CBA Lawyers in the Libraries program." 

The Lawyers in the Libraries program was established by CBA member and Presidential Fellow, Kyle J. LaBuff. Attorney LaBuff actively recruits attorneys to staff the program and coordinated the use of space and sign up of clients with the library representatives. CBA Vice President Daniel J. Horgan is assisting Attorney LaBuff with recruiting attorneys and staffing the New London location. This pro bono program is an initiative of the CBA’s Pro Bono Committee and was originated as Attorney LaBuff’s presidential fellowship project.

“These clinics are a great way to help those who are struggling in these tough times. Between the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, pro bono opportunities have helped those with evictions, family matters, and immigration cases. In addition, it gives young attorneys a chance to gain experience where needed. The moment I was sworn in, I started volunteering all over Connecticut,” shard Attorney LaBuff. “In the upcoming months, we plan to expand the Lawyers in Libraries program to more libraries throughout Connecticut. By the end of 2021, we hope to have participating libraries and attorneys in all of the counties of Connecticut.”

The program is currently meeting in-person and following all recommended social distancing guidelines. The program will continue to meet unless it is unsafe to do so and/or the libraries are closed.

Members of the public interested in receiving free, brief legal advice must register in advance with the library, bring all necessary paperwork related to their matter, and sign a waiver. To sign up for the program on Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Public Library of New London (63 Huntington Street in New London), contact the Information Desk at (860)447-1411 x 105. To register for the program on Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Ferguson Library (1 Public Library Plaza, 2nd Floor Study Room, Stamford), contact associate director for community engagement, Elizabeth Joseph, at (203)351-8224.

Attorneys who wish to provide pro bono services through the Lawyers in the Libraries program should e-mail probonoclinc@ctbar.org.