OneJustice Blog

Bring life-changing legal help to Californians in need.

Tag Archives: Video

Bridging the justice gap with technology

Rural Immigrant Connect launches its first pilot case.

Over the past few years, the number of human beings fleeing horrifying violence in parts of Central America and Mexico for the U.S. has escalated dramatically. In 2014, the number of women crossing the U.S. border multiplied by more than three times compared to 2013, while the number of separated or unaccompanied children reached over 66,000 in 2014, up from an average of 6,775 children in the years 2003-2011. This stream of refugees fleeing Central America and Mexico has not ceased, and many arrive in California on a daily basis.

IMAGE: Image explaining to clients how Rural Immigrant Connect works.

Image explaining to clients how Rural Immigrant Connect works.

Unfortunately, arriving in the U.S. is only half the battle — not only do immigrants face constant worries about family left behind, but many are placed into deportation proceedings in immigration court, where even very young children are not guaranteed a lawyer. It’s even worse for immigrants who reside in California’s Central Valley, a region with few legal organizations offering services within its vast geographic expanse.

The need for innovative models to connect pro bono attorneys with immigrant clients in rural California has never been greater. Through a generous Equal Justice Works fellowship sponsored by the law firm Fenwick & West LLP, OneJustice recently launched the project Rural Immigrant Connect, putting technology to creative use by connecting pro bono attorneys in the Bay Area with immigrant clients in need in the Central Valley.

Rural Immigrant Connect addresses the dearth of legal representation for low-income immigrants in the Central Valley by tapping the resources of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, home to law firms and corporations that can provide an incredible amount of resources to serve Central Valley clients. To bridge the geographic gap, the project uses videoconferencing for the majority of communication between pro bono attorneys and clients, following an initial in-person meeting. In addition, OneJustice places laptops at community organizations in the Central Valley to provide clients with easy access and in-person technology support.

Thanks to the wonderful work of Fenwick & West LLP attorneys Vikram Iyengar and Rajendra Panwar with support from Partner Lynn Pasahow and the mentorship of Director and Immigration Attorney Emily Abraham of Social Justice Collaborative, Rural Immigrant Connect took on its first pilot case this spring — leading the way for the marriage of pro bono and technology to bridge the justice gap for immigrant communities throughout the Central Valley.

UPDATED_Rural Immigrant Connect Pro Bono Attorneys_061316_SMH

Rural Immigrant Connect is more than simply a means through which we can connect more Central American and Mexican refugees in the Central Valley with vital pro bono legal representation. This innovative project also provides us with a means of gathering data regarding the efficacy of videoconferencing to demonstrate a model that can be replicable throughout the U.S. A project like this can bridge the often daunting urban-rural divide separating many rural low-income communities from access to affordable legal services.

Rural Immigrant Connect is at its core a collaborative project that has only been made possible through incredible partnerships with legal services organizations Social Justice Collaborative and Centro Legal de la Raza; community organizations El Concilio and Centro La Familia; the law firm Fenwick & West LLP; and national organization Equal Justice Works. Thanks to the dedication of pro bono volunteers like Vikram and Rajendra, partnerships like those mentioned above, and the collaboration of the OneJustice network, we can work together to bring help, hope, and justice to individuals escaping the violence that continues to plague our neighbors in parts of Mexico and in regions of Central America.

IMAGE: Image explaining to pro bono attorneys how Rural Immigrant Connect works.

Image explaining to pro bono attorneys how Rural Immigrant Connect works.

To view the full infographic presented above, please click here.


Renee_Grid PicRenée Schomp is an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Fenwick & West LLP and Staff Attorney at OneJustice. She currently spearheads the Rural Immigrant Connect project in California’s Central Valley.

Taking pro bono trainings to a national level

Pro Bono Training Institute receives national attention at the White House Forum!

IMAGE: M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina of Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Mark O'Brien of Pro Bono Net, James Sandman of Legal Services Corporation, Phong Wong of Legal Aid of Foundation of Los Angeles, and Julia R. Wilson of OneJustice at the White House Forum on April 19, 2016

M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina of Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Mark O’Brien of Pro Bono Net, James Sandman of Legal Services Corporation, Phong Wong of Legal Aid of Foundation of Los Angeles, and Julia R. Wilson of OneJustice at the White House Forum on April 19, 2016

How would you evaluate your most recent experience at a training? Was it interactive, engaging, high energy — and dare we even ask…FUN? Well, believe it or not — the need for interactive and innovative training for pro bono volunteers got national attention last month!

The White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice included a panel on innovation that featured the California Pro Bono Training Institute, a joint project of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), and OneJustice. The Training Institute offers online, on-demand bite-sized training videos on areas of law commonly used in pro bono clinics and cases.

“Trainings are a crucial element to pro bono work, and the Pro Bono Training Institute provides legal services organizations with the tools to effectively train volunteers — for legal clinics and to take cases — in a short period of time. We’re excited to continue developing and expanding this training platform with our partners, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and OneJustice,” said Sharon Bashan, Director of Pro Bono and Operations at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County.

IMAGE: M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Mark O'Brien, Phong Wong, and Julia R. Wilson after the White House Forum on April 19, 2016.

M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Mark O’Brien, Phong Wong, and Julia R. Wilson after the White House Forum on April 19, 2016.

Thanks to the amazing efforts and collaboration of California’s legal community, trainings are helping increase pro bono and meet the needs of pro bono stakeholders. Over the last three months, two different legal services nonprofits, including another Legal Services Corporation grantee, have used these trainings to prepare volunteers to staff five mobile legal clinics for low-income veterans throughout Central and Southern California.

LAFLA’s Pro Bono Director Phong Wong said, “PBTI is such a wonderful project that will help support pro bono efforts statewide. This project would not happen without partners, OneJustice and NLSLA.”

To ensure that the training format and content truly meet the needs of our audience and are effective in preparing them for their volunteer experience, volunteers are being asked to evaluate the trainings immediately following their volunteer experience. Already, 91% of volunteers using the trainings reported they felt better prepared to do pro bono after watching them!

Our most heartfelt thanks to Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, as well as all the legal services organizations, for participating in the Training Institute and all the volunteers who are using the trainings and providing feedback! We know it takes a village to provide life-changing legal help to those in need, and we look forward to continuing to work with you all to create engaging, effective online trainings.

Watch the presentation on the Pro Bono Training Institute at the White House Forum:

LSC 2016 White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice – Panel: Pro Bono & Technology Innovations from Legal Services Corporation on Vimeo.

Great news for 2016 – all because of you

Thank you for bringing hope, help, and justice to those in need.

Once again, you did something simply amazing.

And you did it for people whom you will probably never meet.  That is truly remarkable.  Thank you.

You see, your continued support for OneJustice will bring life-changing legal help to people in need.  Veterans who are struggling – right now – to access medical care and employment. Women who are – at this very moment – experiencing horrific abuse.   Teenagers who – as you read this – are living in fear of deportation because they cannot apply for the federal immigration relief they deserve.

Thousands of Californians are suffering – right now – from solvable legal problems.

And because of you – help is on the way.

Veterans will get jobs and medical treatment. Women will escape abusive relationships.  Young adults will get immigration relief, driver’s licenses, and jobs.

You will transform their lives in 2016.  So, here at OneJustice, we think you are pretty amazing.

I am so inspired and moved by your steadfast support that I made a short video to try to express how very grateful I am – we all are – for your generous support.  I hope it conveys how much your donation means to me, to the OneJustice Board and staff, and most of all, to the people whose suffering will end this year – because of you.

Thank you.  Thank you for bringing hope, help, and justice to those in need.

Yours,

Julia

2016 Thank You Video from OneJustice on Vimeo.

 

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