JusticeServer: Collaborative Solutions to the Justice Gap

JusticeServer_colorlogoJusticeServer is an on-line pro bono case management system used by legal aid and pro bono volunteers.  With JusticeServer, we can highlight critical unmet needs for legal assistance and recruit volunteer attorneys to serve these low-income clients.  Currently, Legal Aid needs more volunteer attorneys to handle the caseload of No Asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions.  Where better to find local volunteers than in the Bankruptcy Section of the Richmond Bar Association? Thanks to the work of Jennifer West, Jennifer McLemore and the continued commitment of the Bankruptcy Judges, this Section is demonstrating how the private bar can collaborate with GRBF and Legal Aid to tackle problems.

First, the Bankruptcy Bar worked with the Eastern District Richmond Bankruptcy Judges to create a local rule that clarifies that attorneys who handle pro bono cases do not classify as “debt relief agencies.” See Local Rule 2090-1 (M). Thus, removing administrative hurdles from volunteering to help legal aid clients in these matters. Second, the Section invited GRBF to provide two training sessions to its members on JusticeServer and the critical needs.

Thanks to sponsors and fundraising by the Bankruptcy Section, the most recent training was a free luncheon CLE held at the Hilton on October 16, 2014 with over 50 bankruptcy attorneys in attendance.  The session featured a joint presentation by Alexandra Fannon, Esq., Executive Director of the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation, and Martin Wegbreit, Director of Litigation of Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS) on “JusticeServer: Critical Needs & How to Access.” This session outlined the CVLAS screening process and pre-qualification requirements for debtors, and provided a road map of the JusticeServer platform.

Due to tremendous community need, all attorneys with significant bankruptcy experience were urged to accept at least one no asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy case each year.  The Bankrutpcy Bar will continue to monitor the progress of this pro bono endeavor.  Thanks to all who attended, all who have registered in JusticeServer, and all who take a bankruptcy case! We are on track to make a difference.

For more information please contact Ali Fannon at afannon@grbf.org.

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