than we have over the preceding twenty years. In-person hearings have value, but they are sometimes a high-cost substitute for justice that can be achieved through other means. The ubiquity of the web and ever-improving machine translation services for both written and oral statements should mean that useful information can be efficiently provided in a variety of languages without great expense. My other hope is that the nonprofit sector partners with the judiciary to facilitate efficient delivery of legal services. The past thirty years have seen the injustices that come through underrepresentation in a world where individual litigation is deemed necessary and the high costs of resulting under-deterrence deemed less concerning than the errors that inevitably come when litigation is done en masse. Greater repositories of law and fact relating to landlordtenant litigation could mean that there is not a need to engage in costly litigation of every case. One hundred years ago, we chose approximate justice over the tort system in the area of workplace injuries. And, frankly, we need to get more comfortable with approximate justice in other areas as well. My hope is that in the next twenty years we will do so. I imagine the best pro bono work will go into insisting that those automated systems be more intelligent and responsive than today’s automated systems.
in school, in church, and in the profession itself, voices speak up, aggressively, for a vision—one in which we are together in a society far more fragile than often acknowledged. And in that world, the barriers to effective pro bono representation that seem insuperable in today’s environment will come tumbling down. Anne Chandler is Executive Director of Houston Volunteer Lawyers.
Endnote 1. BILL GATES, THE ROAD AHEAD (rev. ed. 1996).
Changing Hearts Changes Lives The main change in pro bono services over the next twenty years has to come not from software or even the rule of law, but from a change of heart. Yes, those hearts might feel freer were they not being tugged at by levels of student debt that I hope will not persist in twenty years or by obligations to family that assuredly will. Ultimately, however, we will need to develop a broader sense of community that extends beyond the people in one’s immediate neighborhood and that persists beyond natural catastrophe. The best pro bono work comes not out of noblesse oblige but when we see the person being helped as our brother, as our sister, or as our neighbor. Let this pandemic remind us that we stand together with intertwined fates. I hope that at home, thehoustonlawyer.com