DOJ Launches Pro Bono Portal to Expand Access to Justice
On October 21, 2023, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco joined Justice Department employees at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center Advice & Referral Clinic at Bread for the City to kick off Federal Government Pro Bono Week 2023.
At the clinic, she announced the launch of the DOJ Pro Bono Portal, a new initiative to expand the DOJ Pro Bono Program, led by the Office for Access to Justice (ATJ).
The DOJ Pro Bono Portal is an online platform that will deliver screened pro bono opportunities directly to every Justice Department attorney.
It is an innovative approach to encouraging pro bono engagement that will make it easier for Department attorneys to participate in volunteer legal services in their individual capacities, by providing quick and simple access to pro bono opportunities.
The platform will include opportunities which do not pose conflicts of interest for Justice Department attorneys and will include guidance about the rules governing their involvement.
ATJ Director Rachel Rossi thanks Justice Department attorneys and other volunteers for their pro bono service
ATJ houses the DOJ Pro Bono Program, which connects Justice Department employees with pro bono opportunities, and leads the Federal Government Pro Bono Program, which facilitates pro bono engagement by all federal attorneys government-wide.
ATJ Director Rachel Rossi thanked the Department attorneys and other volunteers who donated their time and experience to provide pro bono service to the Washington, D.C., community.
Deputy Attorney General Monaco emphasizes the importance of pro bono work
In her remarks, Deputy Attorney General Monaco emphasized the importance of pro bono work. She said, “All attorneys bear a unique responsibility to use their expertise, skills, and training in service for those most in need.
As we modernize and expand access to the DOJ’s Pro Bono Program, the Department strengthens its commitment to what Attorney General Reno started. Engaging in pro bono work and serving the communities around us are in the best tradition of this Department.”
Federal Government Pro Bono Program celebrates 20th anniversary
The Deputy Attorney General’s announcement of the DOJ Pro Bono Portal coincides with the 20th anniversary of Federal Government Pro Bono Week, an annual celebration and promotion of pro bono work by federal government attorneys and legal staff.
Over 50 federal agencies participate in the Federal Government Pro Bono Program, working together to bring the talent and skills of their attorneys to Americans who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance.
The theme of this year’s Government Pro Bono Week is Expanding Access to Pro Bono and features a keynote address by Legal Services Corporation President Ronald Flagg, opportunities to volunteer in legal clinics around the country, and panel presentations highlighting pro bono opportunities for federal legal staff and ways that attorneys can provide legal assistance to victims of disasters.
The launch of the DOJ Pro Bono Portal is a significant step forward in the Department’s efforts to expand access to justice for all Americans.
The Portal will make it easier for Justice Department attorneys to find and participate in pro bono opportunities, and it will help to ensure that more people in need have access to the legal help they deserve.