The Bar News

Spotlight on pro bono: Pro bono case pairing and mentor matching system

By Lisa Colpoys

Looking for Pro bono case pairing and mentor matching system? If so, the brand new Pro Bono Case Pairing and Mentor Matching System found at is here to help you! This system connects pro bono volunteers with one another as mentors and mentees or as case partners. Ultimately, the system is designed to make pro bono work more accessible, efficient and effective for pro bono attorneys and the clients they serve.

Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) and the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) developed this new system, which was partially funded by the Illinois Bar Foundation, to promote pro bono throughout Illinois in two ways. First, the system matches newer pro bono volunteers with experienced pro bono volunteers who will serve as general pro bono mentors. Second, the system pairs volunteers with one another to work on a specific pro bono case or matter. Users of this system include attorneys, law students, paralegals, and legal secretaries from around the state who are handling pro bono matters through existing public interest law organizations in Illinois.

The Pro Bono Case Pairing and Mentor Matching System offers pro bono practitioners four options, two each for mentoring and case pairing:

  1. Find a Mentor – Those who are new to pro bono can complete a "Find A Mentor" request to look for someone to provide general guidance and direction as they consider taking a pro bono matter, or look for someone to provide general guidance relating to handling pro bono matters and working with pro bono clients.
  2. Become a Mentor - Experienced pro bono practitioners who are willing to mentor one or more newer pro bono volunteers can complete a “Mentor Profile”, and will be matched with a mentee who is seeking someone with their experience.
  3. Find Assistance with a Case - Licensed Illinois attorneys may complete a request to "Find Assistance with a Case" to seek help from another attorney, law student or paralegal in handling a specific pro bono case or matter. (The request is to be used for initial contact only, not for the sharing of confidential case information.)
  4. Become a Case Partner - Attorneys, law students, paralegals or other legal professionals may complete a "Case Partner Profile" to be matched with an attorney seeking assistance with a pro bono case.

Pro bono volunteers can access the system by clicking on the “Mentor/Case Match” tab on the website. The system is available to all legal professionals who register on the website. Registration is free and provides website users with access to training and practice support in 26 areas of law. Legal resources available on the website include practice manuals, legal articles, sample pleadings, automated documents, MCLE programs, training webcasts and a volunteer opportunity search tool.

To find your Pro Bono Match, stop by our table at the ISBA Annual Meeting on Friday, June 25 to register, or visit starting July 1!

Lisa Colpoys is Executive Director of Illinois Legal Aid Online.

Posted on June 26, 2010 by Hon. Douglas Knapp
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