The collaboration will support the Office for Access to Justice’s initiative to bring pro bono opportunities to every DOJ lawyer across the country.

Today, Paladin and the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice launched a partnership called the DOJ Pro Bono Portal that will provide every DOJ attorney with access to Paladin to boost pro bono engagement as a part of the DOJ Pro Bono Program.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) officially launched its Pro Bono Program in 1996. Since that time, the DOJ Pro Bono Program has also coordinated the Federal Government Pro Bono Program, which is comprised of over 50 federal agencies. While these Programs initially focused on Washington, D.C., they have expanded over the last 25 years to include branches in other cities, including Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, and Atlanta. In each of these cities, the Programs have found appropriate pro bono opportunities for federal government attorneys and recruited volunteers to help meet the great need for legal assistance. Federal government attorneys volunteer in their personal capacities outside of their official duties.

The Office for Access to Justice (ATJ) manages the DOJ Pro Bono Program. Integrating Paladin across the Department will amplify programming in the existing branches and will scale the program more quickly across the country. Through the tech platform, prospective volunteers will be able to search for local opportunities that are vetted for federal employees, sign up for individual matters or clinics, and connect with both legal services organizations and the ATJ pro bono team more quickly to get started. Legal services organizations will also be able to reach a wider pool of volunteer attorneys. Lastly, Paladin’s platform will provide real-time data insights about volunteers’ interests and pro bono engagements to inform the DOJ Pro Bono Program’s evolution.

With Paladin’s current network of over 250 legal services organizations, top AmLaw firms, Fortune 500s, and bar associations, working with the Department of Justice is a powerful next step to amplify pro bono legal services across the country and bring a unified tech platform to each state. “Laura Klein has been a trailblazer in building out the Federal Government Pro Bono Program, and it’s an honor to work with her and Lara Eilhardt to involve even more government attorneys in pro bono work. The impact of this partnership will be monumental,” says Kristen Sonday, Paladin’s Co-Founder and CEO.

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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