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News & Press: The Iowa State Bar Association News

Virtual, pro bono legal clinic launching in Iowa this month

Thursday, April 13, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Chris Fritz
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Looking for the opportunity to provide short-term, pro bono legal service from anywhere at your convenience? IA Free Legal Answers is part of a nationwide, ABA pro bono initiative called ABA Free Legal Answers. Since August 2016, over 2,200 attorneys in the 30 participating states have registered to respond to questions. Last month, the ISBA Governors approved the launch of IA Free Legal Answers via the ISBA’s Find-A-Lawyer website.

IA Free Legal Answers is designed like a virtual walk-in legal clinic where qualified clients post questions to the secure website. Then, volunteer attorneys log in to the site, preview questions and select questions to answer. After questions are answered, clients receive an email telling them to log back in to see their answers.

Prior to launching this service, volunteer attorneys are needed to sign-up to answer questions in family law, housing, consumer debt, work issues, public benefits, probate and guardianship. Experienced practitioners with substantive knowledge in their practice area(s) are highly desirable volunteers for this opportunity.

Attorneys who want to volunteer:
• Remain anonymous to clients (with limited exceptions)
• Are covered by the ABA's malpractice insurance
• Perform limited scope representation (just within the website)
• Commit to about one hour a month, which provides legal help for two to five people
• Spend 10-25 minutes to answer one question based on reports from volunteer attorneys
• Count volunteer hours as pro bono publico service pursuant to Iowa Supreme Court Rule 32: 6.1.

For more information about this service or to see how it works, watch this 14 minute video. If you are interested in signing up to help, please send an email to

From the Iowa Lawyer Weekly

The Iowa State Bar Association • 625 East Court Avenue • Des Moines, IA 50309
Ph. (515) 243-3179 • Fax (515) 243-2511