Free Legal Answers Year in Review

It’s been remarkable to see how Wisconsin Free Legal Answers has grown in scope and importance during 2020. We are a virtual brief legal advice service for people who have questions about civil (non-criminal) problems. So, when almost everything else shut down in the spring, our volunteers were often the only resource left for people who couldn’t afford to hire a lawyer when they faced a civil legal problem. We saw our monthly questions double in the spring and then continue to rise over the summer before finally settling down in the fall.  Here is a closer look at our 2020 numbers.

Questions

  • 1,901 questions asked (90% increase over 2019)
  • 1,812 questions answered (91% increase)
  • 1,646 people helped (84% increase)
  • 163 coronavirus related questions 

The pandemic related questions were heavily employment related but our overall question mix for the year was again dominated by family law issues (41% of the total). The other top areas for questions were housing (13%), employment (9%), and consumer (9%), with  significant numbers of questions on real estate, probate, and civil rights. 

Chart of questions by month and year

Volunteers

  • 321 volunteers are signed up
  • 54 volunteers answered at least one question in 2020
  • 466 volunteer hours were recorded (.25 hrs/question average)
  • 753 questions answered by our top volunteer! (with help from Marquette Law School students)
  • 5 the median number of questions answered (among those who answered questions).

Wisconsin Free Legal Answers a project of the Access to Justice Commission with support from the State Bar of Wisconsin. We are part of the national ABA Free Legal Answers network.

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