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New law school challenge platform will match students, lawyers on pro bono cases

The Florida Bar Foundation’s pro bono program will launch the Florida Pro Bono Law School Challenge on Jan. 7, 2019. Using an online platform to match students with alumni mentors, Florida’s 12 law schools will compete to see which can take the most pro bono cases during the spring semester.

“A core part of the Foundation’s mission is to promote public service among lawyers by making it an integral part of the law school experience,” said Claud B. Nelson III, pro bono program director. “By connecting students with alumni to partner on a pro bono case from a legal aid organization, we hope to inspire both to continue volunteering as pro bono lawyers.”

At FloridaLawSchoolChallenge.org, students will use a new, cutting-edge interactive platform developed by SavvySuit to pick a pro bono case and be matched with an alumni mentor. Cases posted by legal aid organizations on FloridaProBonoMatters.org will populate the law school challenge site. The law schools with the most student and alumni participation will be recognized at The Florida Bar’s annual convention in June.

According to the ABA Center for Pro Bono, more than 58% of lawyers who provided pro bono legal services as law students said doing so made them “more” or “far more” likely to provide pro bono services after graduating.

“With more than 6,000 law students in Florida having access to available pro bono cases and mentors at their fingertips, we hope to see a noticeable increase in the number of cases being taken,” Nelson said. “Florida’s most vulnerable populations – the elderly, the poor, children – will have more lawyers and advocates in their corner.”

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