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New Pro Bono Portal Aims to Connect Legal Services Organizations with Clients

U.S. Army

A new website will help organizations offering free legal services connect with clients in need of civil representation.

The Oklahoma Pro Bono Opportunity Portal launched Monday. It’s a partnership between justice tech company Paladin and the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation.

While having an attorney is a right in criminal trials, it is not one for civil matters.

"And that means in most of our common issue areas — like housing, and divorce and custody, and debt — more than 80% of Oklahomans right now go to court without a lawyer, if they go at all," said Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation Executive Director Katie Dilks.

The portal will centralize pro bono opportunities in a statewide database free for all Oklahoma attorneys and law students to access.

"I’m really inspired by Oklahoma’s efforts around criminal justice reform. I think those have shown that change is possible when dedicated people come together, and this pro bono portal is just one piece in the puzzle to make similar efforts on the civil side," Dilks said.

The website will also let legal services organizations post pro bono opportunities related to COVID-19 to a national portal. OKprobono.org is supported through commitments from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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