Impacts of COVID-19 are expected to increase need for free legal services. Paladin platform aims to enhance Zurich attorneys’ ability to help communities.
Zurich North America, one of the largest providers of insurance products and services to businesses and individuals, announced today that it is collaborating with Paladin, a justice tech company, to connect Zurich’s attorneys with pro bono service opportunities in a time of increasing need. Approximately 97% of respondents to a recent survey by Legal Services Corporation expected a sharp increase in legal needs arising from COVID-19, involving matters such as evictions, foreclosures and unemployment assistance.
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Through the collaboration, Zurich lawyers will be able to seamlessly search and sign up for pro bono opportunities across Illinois, including from legal services organizations such as Equip for Equality and the Center for Disability and Elder Law. The arrangement is meant to enhance the operation and impact of Zurich’s pro bono program, which it established in 2011. Zurich attorneys engage in projects ranging from representing clients in immigration proceedings to staffing hotlines and legal aid clinics. In 2019, Zurich worked with its outside counsel at Seyfarth Shaw LLP to present a session on job interviewing to dozens of leaders of Chicago-area nonprofits attending Zurich’s annual SkillShare Summit.
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“A defining feature of Zurich’s culture is how it encourages its employees to share their skills with their communities through skills-based volunteering,” said Brian Budzicz, Chair of Zurich North America’s Pro Bono Committee. “We are excited by the opportunity that Paladin presents to enable our colleagues to share their legal skills with clients in need, especially during a year in which public health, economic and social justice crises have converged.”
Zurich will leverage Paladin’s technology, its own legal services projects and Paladin’s connection to the Chicago Bar Foundation’s digital Pro Bono Opportunity guide to access more than 100 pro bono opportunities across more than 30 legal services organizations. Paladin will regularly alert Zurich attorneys to opportunities that match their interests and background while logging data about attorneys’ pro bono engagements for easy tracking.
“Zurich’s dedication to legal pro bono work is a reflection of its values and commitment to volunteerism and strong corporate citizenship,” said Kristen Sonday, Paladin’s Co-Founder and COO. “We’re thrilled to be working with Zurich’s Pro Bono Committee to strengthen ties to their communities during such a critical time of need.”