Over the years we’ve seen some very interesting pro bono programs and projects, particularly those created or modified in response to the global economic crisis. It seems that many lawyers and other people involved understand the importance of creativity and scalability when approaching access to justice issues.
We at the PBEye think this column on the astounding growth of Bet Tzedek legal services from one to 31 offices in just a year illustrates just that. Aaron Hurst, president and founder of the Taproot Foundation, examines how the project essentially became a national organization without the hassle of a large, cumbersome infrastructure. And the model has produced truly remarkably results:
“Now, the organization leverages a small staff of paid lawyers to manage roughly 1,800 pro bono attorneys and paralegals, who have provided upwards of 61,000 hours of counsel to more than 10,000 people annually.”
Kudos to Bet Tzedek, a friend and supporter of PBI (and a past PBI Award Winner), on their expansion and thoughtfulness about how their program can thrive while avoiding the pitfalls of growing too large and centralized.
We’re also excited for what the future has in store for the organization after hearing from its Pro Bono Director Lauren Teukolsky. In the interview below, Lauren spoke with us about two emerging trends in pro bono and what Bet Tzedek is doing to get involved.