Succession to Service: Colorado's Pro Bono Pipeline


Across the profession, courts and bar associations are seeking ways to engage lawyers in pro bono service. Recognizing the need to address the changing legal profession and striving to create innovative and meaningful opportunities to improve access to justice, the Succession to Service Program seeks to catalyze Colorado’s lawyers and law students to provide service to nonprofit organizations, courts, and other legal service entities.


Founded in 2020 through a collaborative effort of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program, the Colorado Bar Association, Metro Volunteer Lawyers, and the Colorado Access to Justice Commission, Succession to Service is a structured, statewide platform for Colorado’s lawyers and law students to partner with nonprofit organizations, courts, and other legal service entities to influence the continuing need for equal access to justice.


Through the portal, Colorado lawyers and law students are matched with nonprofit organizations, legal services programs, and the courts to provide essential legal assistance to underserved populations. Using the specialized skills and experience of over 40 Colorado lawyers to do engaging pro bono work, the pilot year of Succession to Service resulted in partnership and service to 22 legal service providers in the Denver Metro Area.


Succession to Service is about relationships. We are a program that brings good lawyers and good causes together. We believe that the health of our community can be measured by the relationships formed between volunteer lawyers and the nonprofits they serve. Our aim is to build a program that overcomes barriers that may keep volunteer lawyers and nonprofits from finding each other, working together, and developing strong relationships.


Succession to Service is also about cooperation. We are a network that is only as strong as the partnerships that support it. None of us can build a community alone. We take partnerships seriously and seek to work with nonprofit, court, and bar association leaders committed to building stronger relationships with their constituents around pro bono service.


Building off its successful pilot year and in collaboration with Paladin, a justice tech company, Succession to Service has relaunched itself into Colorado’s only statewide online portal designed to help lawyers find volunteer opportunities and assist Coloradoans with their legal needs. Through the free portal, volunteer lawyers and law students now have a centralized location to search and sign up for pro bono opportunities across the state.

The portal is designed to make it easy for lawyers and law students to search, learn about, and volunteer for matters suitable to their interests and skills, and to connect directly with the referring agency to get started. For legal services organizations, the portal allows them to manage and track pro bono interest and engagement in real time. In addition to providing legal services organizations with a simple and free tool to post pro bono opportunities, the portal has features that may be valuable to help legal services organizations manage their pro bono program more broadly.


This marks the seventh portal Paladin has helped launch over the past year. Since April 2020, Paladin has launched the Disaster Relief Pro Bono Portal in partnership with the American Bar Association; the Unemployment Insurance Relief portal launched by the New York State Bar Association; and statewide pro bono portals in Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, and Wisconsin.


The site relaunched on August 25th with a special event featuring speakers from the Colorado Supreme Court, Colorado Access to Justice Commission, Colorado Bar Association, and Metro Volunteer Lawyers. The event also included an overview of the new website and its impact on our legal community. A recording of the event can be viewed at https://youtu.be/J7YUnC2pPxY.


To join as a volunteer lawyer or as a participating legal service provider, visit www.successiontoservice.org or e-mail Succession to Service co-founder Ryann Peyton at r.peyton@csc.state.co.us.

Ryann Peyton serves as the Director of the Colorado Attorney Mentoring Program (CAMP). A former litigator and a seasoned consultant and advocate on professionalism, diversity, and equity in the legal field, Ryann is a frequent commentator, presenter, and lecturer. Prior to joining CAMP, Ryann focused her law practice on civil litigation with an emphasis on LGBT families and civil rights. Ryann earned her law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and holds an LLM and undergraduate degree from the University of Denver.


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