Your Name: Donna Peel, Sheila Pont, & Heena Musabji

Business Name: Pro Bono Network (Legal), a free legal assistant service for those in need

Type of Business: Social Enterprise/Legal Aid

Business Location: Oak Park, Illinois, United States


Reason for starting
There is a critical need for legal services by the poor, a shortage of attorneys to serve them, yet there are interested, available, and experienced attorneys at home raising children who, up to now, have remained an untapped volunteer force. This disconnect seems unconscionable and inefficient given that legal services include protection of basic human rights such as safety, housing, and the ability to create an end-of-life plan. We identified the hurdles for both the attorneys to volunteer and the agencies in recruiting them, and developed a model to enable both to work together efficiently.

How do you define success?
By the number of attorneys, who, but for the Network’s existence, would not be working in pro bono at this time.

Biggest Success
Our enormous growth and attraction of incredibly dedicated attorneys who are committed to their community despite the pulls of other obligations. Also, that our model has worked with little altering.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Conveying why we exist to those who work full-time and to the legal-aid agencies. We now work with a branding professional who is helping us to convey our message in a streamlined way.

Who is your most important role model?
We each have different ones.