Today, we are thrilled to announce that in partnership with Akin Gump and Clifford Chance, Paladin is expanding its pro bono platform to the United Kingdom to connect even more lawyers and business professionals with those seeking legal assistance. These firms, with whom we already work in the U.S., have demonstrated a strong commitment to pro bono innovation and have been thought partners in scaling pro bono technology.

In the past, efforts to connect lawyer and business services professionals with volunteer opportunities were managed through emails, spreadsheets, and siloed referral portals across jurisdictions. Now, partner NGOs, charities, and clearinghouses in London and Newcastle can use a free version of Paladin’s platform to post pro bono and community outreach opportunities as they arise to be referred out through a central dashboard. Volunteers will be able to filter opportunities across organizations by practice area, communities served, the type of engagement, and the ability to work either in person or remotely. The platform will also provide a personalized weekly email digest for volunteers to more readily meet their interests.

“Leveraging technology to increase access to justice globally has always been Paladin’s vision,” said Kristen Sonday, Paladin’s Co-Founder and CEO. “We’re thrilled to take the next step towards building global pro bono infrastructure with our U.K. launch. By partnering with these six innovative firms and their NGO, charity, and clearinghouse partners, we’ll streamline legal aid workflows and more efficiently place volunteers on pro bono cases around the world.”

Clifford Chance, which nearly doubled its annual pro bono hours in the first year of partnering with Paladin in the U.S., will be a key partner in the launch. Their Pro Bono Director Tom Dunn explains: “Pro bono work has never been more important, both for its impact on society and how it can turn a good legal workplace into a great one.

“We believe it is important not only to do good, but to be smart about how we do it, and Paladin is the perfect partner for any law firm chasing the same goals. With just a few clicks, Paladin better matches those with skills they want to offer to those in need, leaving everyone better off.”

Between COVID-19’s devastating impact on legal needs for low-income individuals and the charities that serve them, and last summer’s racial justice events, the need for pro bono assistance has sharply increased. “With pro bono help in high demand and the time demands on our attorneys substantial, the Paladin platform facilitates our attorneys’ ability to identify appropriate opportunities in an expeditious manner. Ultimately, this increases capacity for our legal services partners,” says Greg McConnell, Pro Bono Counsel at Winston & Strawn.

“Our partner firms in the U.S. have been asking to expand Paladin’s platform globally, which is a testament to the value they’re seeing in streamlining their volunteer programs through Paladin, as well as the need for innovation in the pro bono ecosystem. With higher engagement and lower administrative costs, pro bono teams are now freed up to work on higher leverage projects, which in turn creates greater impact,” said Sonday. “Clifford Chance in particular has long been a global leader in social impact and responsible business, and a thought partner in how we consider and measure volunteer contributions to global development goals. We could not be more honored to be working with them on this expansion.”

Through the collaboration, attorneys and business services professionals will more effectively champion causes and NGOs their firms have long supported, as well as connect with new organizations on timely issues like COVID-19 relief and racial justice. The partnership helps meet volunteers where they are today — online — while also deeply connecting them with those in need during such a trying time.

Kristen Sonday Pic Headshot

Kristen Sonday

Kristen is the Co-Founder and CEO at Paladin. As a first generation-college Princeton graduate, Kristen first witnessed how complicated our judicial system is to navigate while at the U.S. Department of Justice conducting international criminal work in Mexico and Central America. As one of the few Latinos on the team, she saw the immense value of having an advocate with you throughout the legal process, which inspired her to want to build something to increase access for those in diverse communities. After DOJ, she joined the Founding Team of YC-backed Grouper, where she learned how to build a startup from the ground up. In addition to Paladin, Kristen Co-Chairs the Legal Services Corporation’s Emerging Leaders Council and is a partner at LongJump, investing in overlooked founders in the Chicago area.

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