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Dentons-Atlanta Photo Credit: John Disney/ALM

International law firm Dentons announced last week that it is partnering with workflow platform provider Paladin to develop a system which will allow attorneys at law firms to discover pro bono opportunities without having to seek them out themselves.

Benjamin Weinberg, a U.S.-based Dentons partner focusing on pro bono, told Legaltech News he was on the look out for something that would make getting attorneys access to pro bono work easier. The connection to Paladin, a company Weinberg had heard little about, came via Nextlaw Labs, Dentons’ technology affiliate.

Weinberg, whose role includes finding delivery systems for lawyers to connect with pro bono efforts, said that traditionally, the firm would filter pro bono opportunities to a single partner in each of its office. However, “The challenge is, depending on the size of the office, and the realities of that partner of the office is that sometimes they may be in the middle of a deal or the middle of a trial and as a result, opportunities don’t get circulated.”

As part of the partnership, Paladin will be working with the firm in developing a version of its product, typically fit for in-house counsel, that’s more in tune with law firm needs.

“The important part of the partnership is that we are working with Paladin to develop the law firm version of their product,” Weinberg said. “We’ve had our partners, associates and legal aid organizations that we work with meet with Paladin. We have regular development meetings.”

The product will allow lawyers interested in doing pro bono work to find what kind of specific work is available to them. In turn, lawyers will be able to give their preferences on what kind of pro bono work they would like to do. The system will direct opportunities to the lawyer who is interested in a particular area.

“Historically, [our lawyers have] just been on the look out for opportunities to come,” Weinberg said. “The Paladin system envisions a multipronged approach to reaching people who have developed expertise and passions as well as those who don’t have that yet. They may be new or just like to volunteer in different ways.”

Weinberg said that the product is planned to be rolled out in three of Dentons’ offices sometime in the fall as a pilot project. He noted that he believes this kind of technology is the future of pro bono work and volunteering, as while the desire for such work exists, there needs to be an organizational structure to make it work.

“I think that harnessing technology to advance the efficiency and effectiveness of pro bono work is very much at the forefront of a movement that is going on around the world with respect to law firm pro bono work, but also with respect to volunteerism,” Weinberg said.

Dan Clark

Dan covers cyber security, legal operations and intellectual property for Corporate Counsel. Follow him on Twitter @Danclarkalm.

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