From the President: Members Respond to Survey About Pro Bono.
by Ilene Lin Bloom
hank you to everyone who responded to the survey recently sent out by the Denver Bar Association about pro bono legal services. As you may recall, the DBA is exploring a new member service to assist members in identifying pro bono opportunities that suit each individual’s needs. To do this, the bar would like to work one-on-one with our members by utilizing trained volunteers to help members find a pro bono matter that is right for them. Members may be able to receive such assistance via phone, in person, or online. The purpose of the survey was to determine whether our members would use such a service, and if so, what type of service would be preferred.
I am pleased to report that we received 411 responses, which represents 5.5 percent of our membership who are attorneys. This is a fairly good response rate in terms of the history of DBA surveys.
Eighty percent of respondents had previously handled a pro bono case or participated in a pro bono opportunity. This is significant in light of the rest of the survey responses, including the high number of people who would use the service, because although they already know about pro bono, have done it, and are somehow linked to the pro bono world, they are still interested in the service.
The majority of people (60 percent) who had not handled a pro bono case reported they had not done so because of "lack of skills or experience in practice areas needed by pro bono clients." Next in line, at 35 percent, was lack of information about the range of pro bono opportunities.
Interestingly, although 70 percent of the people who had done pro bono said they found the pro bono matter, more than half of the respondents said they would use such a service if offered by the DBA.
Additionally, more than half of the respondents (228) indicated they would use technology or an online service to locate available pro bono opportunities. One hundred fifty-one people indicated they would prefer to speak on the phone about opportunities, and 73 said they would meet in person with someone to discuss opportunities.
About half of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that it would save them time and effort if the DBA assisted in personally identifying pro bono opportunities. More than half indicated that education regarding the range of volunteer opportunities would facilitate greater participation. Mentors and co-counsel also are important to the respondents, as are free trainings, CLEs, manuals, and forms related to a pro bono case.
The DBA Pro Bono
I am excited to announce that the DBA Pro Bono Initiative Pilot Project will start soon. Through this program, trained volunteers will assist members one-on-one with identifying potential pro bono opportunities. You will be notified in the New Year when the program is up and running. We hope you will use this program to find a pro bono opportunity that is right for you.
Please feel free to email me directly with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. D