The next choice would be clinic work set in various locations such as a church or homeless shelter where an individual can come in either by appointment or off the street and speak to a volunteer lawyer about their legal problem, which again could range from possibly a housing matter, to how to get proper identification to appealing a denial of a social security benefits claim.
Next are two options that may be more appropriate for the especially busy lawyer strapped for time. One allows young lawyers handling cases pro bono, perhaps in an area of law they are somewhat unfamiliar with, to call a mentor lawyer who has more experience in that specialty to get help with the case. The session would be two hours long and the experienced lawyer could field the questions from home or a designated location.
Lastly, is a program at SLS called Call4Law, which lets prescreened callers talk to a lawyer for up to an hour about their legal issue. Since it's prescreened the lawyer has an opportunity to research the topic briefly ahead of time, if need be. This, too, could be done at home or at the office.
"You can do it once, twice a week, once a month, it really is anything from a one hour session on the phone to live and in person appeals in whatever court you want to take it too and this is just with Statewide Legal Services," said Rutkowska.
Pullman & Comley was the first firm to sign up for the officially titled $1 Million Pro Bono Service Campaign.
According to Adam J. Cohen, the firm's coordinator of its pro bono outreach programs, it was a no-brainer to sign on.
"We thought it was a great idea," said Cohen. "Pullman's been very active in pro bono for decades so we were very excited about the chance to participate."
Cohen said the firm has pledged to do 225 hours of work over the three-month period. He said the firm will promote the initiative internally and get volunteers from there.
"We'll encourage as many people to do it as possible with the goal of meeting or exceeding that pledge," said Cohen.
Helen Harris, a partner at Day Pitney's Stamford office who also serves as the chair of the firm's pro bono committee, said they also quickly agreed to participate in the campaign.