Initially the Friday Blitz was designed to address a backlog of questions on SC Law Answers, the SC Bar Pro Bono Program’s project that allows low-income members of the public to post civil legal questions online. This site is now called SC.FreeLegalAnswers.org.
From the law school perspective, it is an opportunity to give students experience working directly with attorneys solving and analyzing issues while researching and drafting responses to real problems. It is also a chance to gain first-hand knowledge of the resources available to clients and the Bar all within a positive pro bono atmosphere.
Volunteers are recruited from the Bar and the USC School of Law and asked to bring a wi-fi enabled laptop to a designated location. Prior to the Friday Blitz event the lawyer must have signed on and been approved for the SC.FreeLegalAnswers.org program. All SC licensed lawyers are welcome to help. Malpractice insurance is provided for the limited scope relationship that exists when an attorney accepts and responds to a question. In most situations the questions are posted anonymously but it is possible that an attorney may deduce that they have a conflict either from the contents of the question or the email address. Confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.
First year law students were not allowed to participate until April when it has been determined that they had enough knowledge to be comfortable and useful.
The Friday Blitz has become an effort to show that pro bono work can be fun, efficient and effective. Whenever a backlog problem occurs the Friday Blitz volunteers step up and address this issue as well as continuing to meet in order to keep the queue of questions down to a manageable number. This allows the SC Bar opportunities to promote the website and increase the public service outreach of pro bono attorneys. This is especially important after television and clinic events.
The goal is to maintain the success of the existing program and to explore using this model in other areas of the state with the primary goals of the Friday Blitz project being supplemented by a secondary goal of increasing the number of attorneys for more traditional pro bono efforts.