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Though often portrayed as greedy and self-serving, many lawyers unselfishly and routinely pro-vide services on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged-understanding pro bono work to be part and parcel of the privilege of practicing law. For these lawyers, the Web provides critical support, including practice guides, advocacy tools, legal updates, and even services to match pro bono lawyers with needy clients. Here are a few noteworthy sites: When it launched in 1998, ProBono.net (www.probono.net) created a genre all its own, one that seemed indispensable overnight. Developed as a means of enlisting Internet technology in efforts to enhance legal services for the poor, the site was spearheaded by Michael Hertz, then a lawyer with the New York firm of Latham & Watkins and now ProBono.net’s executive director, working under a fellowship from the Open Society Institute. ProBono.net is a virtual network over which pro bono lawyers can exchange practice materials, volunteer opportunities, and more. Initially it focused on New York City, and on family law, domestic violence, disability rights, community development, and criminal appeals. It now also includes Minnesota, San Francisco, and Rochester, New York, as well as two national sections for asylum and death penalty cases. Each section provides training and practice materials, listings of cases needing volunteers, message boards, and other resources. Lawyers interested in a particular section must first register in order to gain access, but there is no cost. Matchmakers Another innovative program is CorporateProBono.org, designed to match in-house counsel with pro bono opportunities in legal services and public interest programs. Created jointly by the American Corporate Counsel Association and the Pro Bono Institute at Georgetown University Law Center (www.probonoinst.org), it helps corporate counsel search for volunteer opportunities and locate tools, information, and resources. It features a database of pro bono opportunities, supplemented by a library of publications such as best-practice guides. The Equal Justice Network, located online at www.equaljustice.org, de-scribes itself as an online meeting place, information source, and connection mechanism for lawyers who provide civil legal assistance to low-income people. Its site has nine main components (training, changing needs, innovative services, state level advocacy, technology, resource development, and state planning partnerships, visions, and communication center), each with linked articles and original materials. The “Communication Center” hosts online discussion boards, e-mail discussion lists, and online conferences. The technology area includes a survey of innovative ways in which legal services organizations are using the Web. The links page is a comprehensive Web guide to legal services and advocacy groups. Part think tank, part advocacy group, the Center for Law and Social Policy (www.clasp.org) is a national organization with expertise in both law and policy affecting the poor. Its Web site features CLASP Update, a monthly report on welfare reform developments, and maintains an extensive library of articles on legal services for the poor. The National Center on Poverty Law (www.povertylaw.org) is perhaps most widely known for its bimonthly legal publication, Clearinghouse Review, featuring in-depth articles and analysis on topics such as civil rights, family law, disability, domestic violence, housing, elder law, employment, health, and welfare reform. The Review also features abstracts of case reports in poverty law cases from across the country. Those case reports are available here, through the site’s Poverty Law Library. Visitors to the site can read many of the case abstracts, but access to the full texts of the cases and to articles from the Review requires a subscription. Browse the abstracts by area of law, search them by keywords, or view only the most recently added cases. The Web site also offers a series of practice area pages focusing on food programs, health, housing, immigration, and welfare. Planning A Campaign A national association of environmental, civil rights, mental health, women’s, children’s, and consumer advocacy organizations, the Alliance for Justice (www.afj.org) works to strengthen the capacity of public interest groups to influence public policy. Its Nonprofit Advocacy Project produces legal guides to help nonprofits plan advocacy campaigns while navigating the laws that govern lobbying, fund-raising, and related issues. These guides can be ordered from the site, some free, some not. The alliance’s Judicial Selection Project monitors the judicial selection process nationwide, and, through this site, provides a database of federal judges that can be sorted by race, gender, and court. Named for the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr., New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice (www.brennancenter.org) seeks to promote equality and human dignity through its work in four areas: democracy, poverty, civil liberties, and criminal justice. Its programs tackle campaign finance reform, judicial independence, community justice, and more. In the legal services arena, it has produced a series of fact sheets designed to illuminate how restrictions on legal services programs interfere with zealous advocacy. Its Legal Services E-lert summarizes news articles and opinion pieces from the media that discuss legal services for the poor. The Southern Poverty Law Center (www.splcenter.org) uses education and litigation to combat hate, intolerance, and discrimination. It is widely known for its Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups and extremist activity throughout the U.S., and its Teaching Tolerance program, which supports educational efforts to tackle hate crime among young people. Visitors to its Web site can read about current litigation and courtroom victories over the years. The site includes a list of hate groups categorized by type-for example, Klan, neo-Nazi-and searchable by state, and a similar list of “patriot” groups. Hate incidents are also listed, sorted by state. The Legal Services Corporation (www.lsc.gov) is a private, nonprofit corporation established by Congress in 1974 to assure equal access to justice for all Americans. It does this primarily through its support of some 300 legal aid programs serving every county in the U.S. Through this Web site, users can read LSC’s governing statutes, bylaws, and regulations; review its budget and case statistics; and see the text of its reports to Congress and testimony it has given to congressional committees. Visitors can locate local legal aid programs by clicking on a map of the U.S. or searching by county name. Robert J. Ambrogi is the author of The Essential Guide to the Best (and Worst) Legal Web Sites, available through www.lawcatalog.com. E-mail: rambrogi @amlaw.com.

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