Spotlight on Pro Bono: Become a Legal Content Volunteer with Illinois Legal Aid Online
by Hannah Lee
If doing more pro bono is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) can help. We know that pro bono can be daunting, especially for transactional attorneys. If this resonates with you, ILAO has a unique opportunity for your consideration.
Each day, ILAO helps over 10,000 people understand their civil legal issues, like evictions, unemployment, and domestic abuse with actionable legal tools. We distill complicated legal concepts into simple, easy-to-understand resources, available 24/7 at IllinoisLegalAid.org.
ILAO offers more than 3,500 legal resources across 500+ discrete legal issues. We rely on pro bono legal professionals to help us review and update these resources. Our Legal Content Volunteers ensure the accuracy of our legal tools. They are crucial to ILAO’s mission to simplify the law so that people can get justice.
The Legal Content Volunteer (LCV) opportunity is remote, accessible, and flexible and has an enormous impact. For example, our resource, Am I eligible for Medicaid? is viewed nearly 3000 times per month on average. Our tool on Becoming Emancipated was used by over 25,000 people last year. Where else can you contribute a few hours of research and editing, and know that your efforts will help hundreds or thousands of people each month?
Our LCVs work from the comfort of their homes or offices. Assignments are sent by email. You choose your own hours, and select your own assignments. You can also take a break and resume volunteering as time permits. There are no cases, court appearances, negotiations with opposing counsel, or client contact.
You do not need special technology, software, or knowledge. You do not have to be an expert in the topics you are assigned to review. You just need a laptop, access to the internet, and the ability to research and comprehend laws, to verify that our content is accurate and up to date.
Last October, we launched our gamification platform to incentivize our volunteers’ editorial contributions. Similar to Wikipedia contributors, our LCVs earn points and badges for the resources they review. There are individual and organizational leaderboards for good old-fashioned fun and competition. See how you stack up against other LCVs and organizations!
We are a small organization making a big impact, and our work would not be possible without you!
Hannah Lee is ILAO’s Legal Content Manager. She ensures that legal information on ILAO’s website is accurate and up to date. She leads the Legal Content Volunteer Program and supervises ILAO’s interns. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of California, Davis School of Law.