Hiring a lawyer when one is already financially stressed can feel like the classic Catch-22. To make yourself financially whole, you need to pursue a claim; perhaps for unemployment or medical benefits, to contest an eviction or unlawful job termination, or something else; but the very stress you’re under makes paying a lawyer an impossible prospect.
And since the start of the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic, people have definitely been under real and imminent forms of financial stress.
Fortunately, attorneys around the United States regularly supply services free (“pro bono”) or at low cost. The trick, however, is getting in touch with them.
That’s why the American Bar Association (ABA), along with various tech companies, have created the online “Disaster Relief Pro Bono Portal,” through which volunteer attorneys can sign up and check out service opportunities by practice area, community, type of case or issue, and the ability to work remotely.
The portal is more for lawyers to connect with organizations linking them to people needing services than for individual persons who are seeking disaster-related legal assistance. However, the latter can connect to pro bono attorneys from another direction, by contacting their state hotlines via the Disaster Legal Services Program (DLS’s) national hotline at 888-743-5749.