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While lawyering out of a food truck may not be something lawyers in private practice are clamoring to do, one Legal Aid office in Kentucky is breaking the mold and getting mobile.
Legal Aid of the Bluegrass received a $50,000 grant to start a mobile "Justice Bus" to bring Legal Aid's services directly to the communities that need it most. The "Justice Bus," as the vinyl wrap proudly declares, has already served up some justice for the traditionally underrepresented as the ABA Journal recently reported.
Notably, the "Justice Bus" isn't an actual bus, which means it doesn't require a commercial driver's license, which means that any of the Legal Aid staff with a regular driver's license can drive the bus around. However, what it lacks in actual bus status, it makes up for it in what it does provide: a desk, computers, video conferencing capabilities, wifi, and access to legal help.
The grant was funded through the American Bar Endowment's Opportunity Grant program, which gave out nearly $300,000 last year to legal services organization with innovative ideas. The ABE also provides millions in annual funding to the American Bar Foundation and the ABA Fund for Justice and Education.
Before this self-proclaimed Justice Bus hit the open road, another group of legal do-gooders, OneJustice, started the Justice Bus Project. That project busses lawyers and legal professionals to rural areas to provide legal services to individuals who would likely be unable to access legal services otherwise.
This idea of bringing the needed legal services directly to the legal consumer is nothing new, but hopefully as technology improves, more and more Justice Buses will hit the streets, and private lawyers might even find a way to make it economical too.
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