What We Do
CONNECT. COUNSEL. SERVE.
The mission of the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation is to expand access to Justice through mobilizing, training, and connecting attorneys to pro bono clients. In central Virginia, GRBF serves as the hub of pro bono service and outreach to the community. Through strategic planning, centralized communications, and support, we assess priority needs for pro bono services and then connect lawyers to these opportunities to serve.
Good Advice for Those Doing Good. The Pro Bono Clearinghouse (& General Counsel program) is a referral service, linking experienced volunteer attorneys with nonprofits in need of legal counsel. Our virtual law firm of 350 attorneys from 75 different law firms & corporate legal departments assist nonprofits each year with a variety of transactional legal matters, like personnel issues, contract negotiations, bylaw review, mergers, & intellectual property issues, so our nonprofits can focus more of their resources on their charitable purpose.
Eviction Diversion Program
After research conducted by the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, the City of Richmond was noted to have the second-highest eviction rate of any city in the country. To address a critical piece of this Eviction Crisis in Richmond, we launched a pro bono program for volunteers to serve as Third Party Neutrals in eligible unlawful detainer (eviction) cases filed in the City of Richmond General District Court. Volunteers facilitate a payment plan for eligible tenants and willing landlords to keep people in their homes, to connect tenants to financial assistance and financial literacy education, as well as to avoid an Unlawful Detainer judgment. Landlords get back rent paid, tenants stay in their residences, and learn how to stay afloat in the future. Win-Win. Since October 1, 2019, GRBF staff and volunteers have assisted hundreds of tenants in the halls of the General District Court, secured over 100 payment plans, and worked with HOME to keep even more in their homes. Stay tuned for more updates! If you would like to volunteer contact Hannah Brechlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (804) 780-2600 ext. 7. Read more here.
The Triage Project
Launched in 2017, The Triage Project is the country’s first effort to create a second ring around Legal Aid, with private pro bono attorneys taking on matters in nine practice areas so that Legal Aid can concentrate its limited resources on core specialties. To expand the capacity of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, GRBF helps recruit private bar Champions in various practice areas in which CVLAS cannot provide full representation. These Champions manage virtual law departments of volunteers able to take referrals for low-income individuals. JusticeServer is utilized to connect the volunteers to eligible CVLAS clients. Read more here.
Firms In Service
Firms In Service is a collaborative effort of sixteen law firms and businesses to increase the availability of pro bono legal services for the underserved the Richmond community. Since 2007, the pro bono leadership of these firms have met regularly for the purposes of sharing information about their respective pro bono and community service programs and seeking ways in which, working together, they can enhance the availability of quality legal services to needy citizens in the Greater Richmond area. Read more here.
JusticeServer™ is an all-inclusive case management system that has revolutionized case management assignments by pro bono providers in central-Virginia. By reducing redundancy and combining the resources of various pro bono providers, the maintenance and upkeep costs are reduced. Equally important, JusticeServer is completely scalable throughout all of Virginia or even nationwide. Given the ease with which lawyers can take cases within the wheelhouse of their expertise and the streamlined case management that enables real-time access to documents, we believe that this allows lawyers to spend more time helping clients than dealing with archaic administrative tasks. Moreover, we hope that the prospect of a better system will enable firms throughout the Commonwealth to contribute even more lawyers and more time to indigent clients needing legal services. Read more here. Contact Shane Harper at email@example.com OR at (804) 780-2600 ext. 1. and register on JusticeServer for volunteer opportunities.
Pro Bono Promise
To support the critical needs of our community, GRBF urges firms and law departments to join the Pro Bono Promise with a pledge to commit a percentage of time to the provision of pro bono legal services to the disadvantaged, and/or to include financial support of the legal service entities each year. When a culture of pro bono service is fostered, then pro bono service can truly make a difference. The Pilot participants of the Pro Bono Promise have contributed 1000’s of service hours and over $100,000 to support pro bono service delivery. Join the growing list of firms & corporate legal departments who have already committed to the Promise: Capital One, Christian & Barton, Dominion, Eckert Seamans, Goodman Allen Donnelly, Hirschler Fleischer, Hunton & Williams, McCandlish Holton, McGuireWoods, Richmond Bar Pro Bono Committee, Sands Anderson, Spotts Fain, ThompsonMcMullan, Troutman Sanders, Williams Mullen, and more.
For information on any of these programs, please contact the Foundation office at (804) 780-2600.