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May 4, 2021

Long before Florida lawyers had heard of “COVID-19,” or imagined participating in a Zoom trial, Free Legal Answers was pioneering the remote access frontier.

As the online legal clinic celebrates its fourth anniversary, with more than 900 Florida Bar members serving more than 12,000 low and no-income clients pro bono, ABA President Patricia Lee Refo reflected on the program’s success.

Helping people in need is what lawyers do,” she said. “Thousands of attorneys have given their time to this important program to answer questions to civil legal matters for people who would not otherwise have access to legal advice.”Nationally, ABA Free Legal Answers has recruited more than 8,000 volunteer attorneys from partnering states to answer more than 150,000 questions posed by low-income clients.

“It has become an important program for the ABA and our access-to-justice efforts,” Refo said.

And Florida remains a frontrunner in terms of volunteer attorneys recruited and clients served, says Florida Bar Assistant Programs Director Frank Digon-Greer.

But Digon-Greer is still not satisfied.

“Right now, we’re at an 86% answer rate, from the beginning until now, and during the COVID time frame, we were at 94%,” he said. “So that means there’s space to bring on more clients, more users to the website.”

The Free Legal Answers concept is simple. Eligible participants register, open an account, post questions about their civil matters, and wait for a response from a volunteer lawyer.

Read more about Florida Free Legal Answers in the Bar News story.