Legaler Aid, an Australian and US registered charity, has launched to crowdfund social justice legal cases, as well as rolling out a virtual legal clinic across the globe with major partners such as the nonprofit arm of the world’s largest law firm network, Lex Mundi, and Neighborhood Legal Services, the largest legal clinic in the US, among others
The idea is that Legaler Aid will highlight key causes and then crowdsource funds to help the fight for justice. One cause they are focusing on is supporting Alvin Cole’s family, after several protesters were arrested in Wisconsin when authorities declined to charge the police officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Alvin Cole. The teen’s mother, Tracy, was one of the dozens of protesters arrested in Wauwatosa.
Legaler Aid will then connect litigants in social justice cases with lawyers, along with the funding the platform has generated.
With regard to the legal clinic aspect, Lex Mundi’s Pro Bono Foundation will be working with the Legaler Aid Justice Alliance.
The platform is also supporting donations to Whistleblower Aid, a legally focused group that has been central to several important investigations in the US. Their site says: ‘[We are] a non-profit legal organisation that helps government employees and brave, private sector workers report and publicise their concerns, safely, lawfully, and responsibly.’
The Legaler Aid project has been created by legal tech founder, Stevie Ghiassi, who launched Legaler, the video coms platform for lawyers.
Ghiassi told Artificial Lawyer: ‘We are about to face the greatest justice crisis of our times. Many people are already unable to access legal help and this is only set to grow from the compounding effects of the pandemic. We are seeing an eviction, employment, bankruptcy and family law crisis like we’ve never seen before, right across the globe.
‘This is all set against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, and racial injustice. Our hope is that technology will provide everyone access to legal services in some shape or form.’
Donors can provide tax-deductible payments via credit card, using Stripe and also cryptocurrency, using Bitpay. And, talking of things like Bitpay, there is also a blockchain element to the platform.
Ghiassi explained: ‘Our blockchain network is live to the public (currently testnet). Payments will be trackable against the law firms’ work, so you have ‘donor to recipient’ transparency over where your money went and its impact – we call it ‘Proof of Justice’.
‘We hope this will increase trust over existing options like GoFundMe, where anyone can start a case on anyone’s behalf with no idea where your money goes and to whom.’
If you’d like to find some of the cases currently raising funds, please see here.