Pro Bono Clearinghouse FAQ

  1. What is the ELI Pro Bono Clearinghouse?

    The Clearinghouse is an easy way for communities that need pro bono support for their environmental legal issues to connect with attorneys and experts willing and able to help them. The major goal of the ELI Pro Bono Clearinghouse is to address our nation’s vast “legal deserts” where communities do not have ready access to the legal support they need.

  2. What role does ELI itself play?

    ELI does not engage in litigation of any kind. ELI will not be the lawyer on any pro bono matter and ELI does not vet the viability of the pro bono matters posted to the Clearinghouse. ELI acts solely as the space where communities, clinics, and environmental attorneys can coordinate to engage in pro bono matters.

  3. Who can participate in the Clearinghouse?

    • Communities can use the Clearinghouse to connect with general practitioners or specialized experts.
    • Clinics can submit to the Clearinghouse any viable pro bono environmental matters that they are unable to take on due to resource limitations or because they are outside their scope of work. Clinics can also post requests for ELI member lawyers to expand their capacity or provide expertise that they lack in-house.
    • ELI member attorneys can offer their skills and take on new matters, whether as a long term legal ally of a community or for a discrete legal task.
       
  4. How can a law firm partner with ELI for the Clearinghouse?

    ELI’s law firm members can access the Clearinghouse to find matters in their jurisdiction and subject matter. If your law firm is not currently an ELI firm member, join today.

  5. How can a community best engage with the Clearinghouse?

    The first step a community must take is to connect with an environmental law clinic that can review their matter. If that clinic determines that the matter is viable but is unable to take it on, the matter can be posted to the Clearinghouse. 

    There are two forms that the community can fill out, or that the law clinic can fill out on the community’s behalf, to submit the matter for posting on the Clearinghouse. One is a short form that asks for basic information and is intended for communities seeking general legal assistance. The other is a more detailed form to request specialized legal support; a lawyer’s assistance may be helpful for communities filling out the latter form. 

    Both forms are meant to provide just enough information for an attorney to connect with the community about the matter; ELI will not post legal documents, extensive legal analysis or information. ELI will also not review any matter for legal viability; that is the job of the environmental law clinics and the ELI attorney member who eventually connects with the community to determine if it is a good fit.

  6. What if an environmental clinic exists but is not on ELI’s list?

    If your clinic is not listed on our site, please email us at probono@eli.org with your information. We did our best to be exhaustive, but know that clinics are being created every year.

  7. What technology do I need to have to access the Clearinghouse?

    A web browser and computer or cell phone.

  8. How else can I support this Clearinghouse?

    If you are not already an ELI member, join today! You can also donate to the Environmental Law Institute and encourage communities, clinics, and attorneys to get involved.

  9. What if my environmental matter is international (outside of the United States)?

    Review the list of international clinics and connect to see if they can take on the matter. If not, that clinic can refer your matter to us if they believe it is viable. We can then post it just like all other matters.

  10. I'm an attorney with an environmental background. How can I get involved in the Clearinghouse?

    If you are already a member of ELI, visit our Clearinghouse opt-in page to get started. If you are not a member, please join today for access.