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Strategic Assessment

Pro Bono Center Strengths

During the strategic assessment process, the Pro Bono Center's key stakeholders identified its strengths, which will be used to progress the organization's mission of providing needed legal services to the low-income community. 

High capacity to fill critical, unmet needs of thousands of individuals seeking access to justice.
Overall, participants noted that the Pro Bono Center is filling critical unmet needs in the community. The clinics and resource centers in general were described very positively, including by clients surveyed from the Advice & Referral Clinic and Advocacy & Justice Clinic. Clients surveyed described their experience as “being treated with respect” and having their cases placed “in a timely manner.” Volunteers described the Pro Bono Center as being “vital,” “excellent,” and “effective” and were pleased with the opportunities available. Other legal services providers noted that the Pro Bono Center is meeting critical service gaps in the community.

Wide range of volunteer opportunities being fulfilled by hundreds of attorneys across all segments of the legal profession.
Ninety-eight percent of all survey respondents agreed that the Pro Bono Center offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. Furthermore, members of all of the focus groups and many of the interviewees described the breadth of the program as a major strength, as it enables volunteers to find the right opportunity to fit their personal interests. The Pro Bono Center was also noted as one of the only legal services providers offering opportunities for transactional legal work in the community.

A strong and extensive network of partners, particularly with large law firms, legal services providers and the courts, and positive reputation in the community. 
The internal stakeholders, including the staff and Pro Bono and CED Advisory Committee members, and the legal services providers that participated in the assessment noted that the Pro Bono Center is unique in its relationship with large law firms and the courts. This was attributed, in part, to its positive reputation in the community and the affiliation with the D.C. Bar, which gives the Pro Bono Center legitimacy in the legal profession. The Pro Bono Center was also noted as being a strong facilitator of relationships among nonprofits, clients, and pro bono lawyers.

High level of satisfaction from the D.C. Superior Court with the Pro Bono Center’s impact.
The D.C. Superior Court’s judicial officers and staff overwhelmingly described the Pro Bono Center’s services as positive. Many of the resource centers were described as “invaluable,” “absolutely essential,” a “central part” of the court’s operating system, and as making “amazing contributions to justice.” Both judges and court staff requested more frequent assistance and longer hours for the resource centers.

Excellent, responsive, dedicated and competent staff.
Participants across all stakeholders commended the Pro Bono Center’s staff as being excellent. Staff members were described as “strong subject matter experts,” “collaborative partners with the community,” “highly responsive” to volunteers, and as having the “drive,” “initiative,” and “commitment” to make the Pro Bono Center run efficiently. Ninety-four percent of survey respondents agreed that they received adequate support from the Pro Bono Center staff to provide the best possible service to the client.