This month’s featured resource is Providing Legal Services Remotely: A Guide to Available Technologies and Best Practices by Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) (@mburnett), New Perimeter/DLA Piper (@AndrewValentine @skandrews), and the Legal Empowerment Network (@marlonmanuel )!
Legal Services Providers (LSPs) often face challenges in effectively and efficiently providing legal services to their clients. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, conditions existed that made providing services remotely a desirable alternative to face-to-face meetings. Work schedules, caregiving responsibilities and barriers to transportation can all make meeting face-to-face difficult or impossible. Sometimes the nature of the meeting simply does not require an in-person encounter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to confront the reality that providing legal services remotely is not only necessary to meet the needs of clients, but it is also in the best interest of public health and reducing the risk of infection. Meeting with a client in-person is now often impossible. And even when it is possible – is it wise? In- person meetings might not only threaten the health of the client and legal services staff, but also their families and communities.
The purpose of this guide is to highlight some of the ways to provide legal services remotely. Technology has evolved to allow for remote “meetings.” Videoconferencing – until recently available only to large corporations – is now commonly available to anyone with a computer or mobile phone through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting and other accessible platforms.
This guide will introduce many of those platforms, as well as good practices for using them. It is meant to serve as a practical resource for LSPs around the world, particularly those operating in rural areas.
The pandemic will pass, eventually. However, the challenge of providing effective and efficient legal services is ever present. This guide is intended to assist in navigating the current pandemic and to provide a framework for remote legal services in the future. Finally, this guide does not specifically address issues related to working with clients in custody, and thus is primarily targeted at LSPs working on civil matters.
You can access this resource in our library at the following link:
As always, please let us know your thoughts on this resource by commenting below.
The Featured Resource is a short profile of a key resource found in the resource library of the Legal Empowerment Network. These resources can be older or brand new, but they all touch on important themes within legal empowerment. If you have a resource you would like to profile with the network, upload it directly at this link or email it to [email protected]