Florida Free Legal Answers generates impressive numbers
Florida Free Legal Answers continues to rack up strong numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic for Floridians posting legal questions and Bar members giving answers.
The ABA-sponsored program provides a platform where people with legal problems can post questions and lawyers in their home states can log in at their convenience and answer questions anonymously, earning credits toward their pro bono requirements.
Bar Programs Division Assistant Director Frank Digon-Greer recently updated the Bar’s Pro Bono Legal Services Committee on the program’s performance.
Overall, since it started in May 2017, Florida Free Legal Answers has responded to 85% of questions posed by Floridians. But since the pandemic hit in March, that has risen to 95%.
Also, the number of monthly questions more than doubled from 216 before the pandemic to well over 400 after March. There were 481 queries in August, 483 in September, 523 in October (the first state program to exceed the 500 mark), 448 in November, 484 in December, and 202 in less than two weeks in January 2021, according to Digon-Greer.
He noted because of the pandemic, the ABA raised the income qualification for participants from 250% to 400% of the poverty level.
A total of 926 Bar members have volunteered for the program, including 67 who have signed up since the pandemic hit, Digon-Greer said.
“It’s just taking off,” he said. “Our volunteers are doing a very good job here to help Floridians.”
Around 36% of questions posed involve family law issues and around 18% involve housing, property, or landlord/tenant matters.