On The Move

Pro Bono Partnership Introduces IPhone App

, Daily Report


Rachel Spears says the Pro Bono Partnership also wants to create an app for Android phones.
Rachel Spears says the Pro Bono Partnership also wants to create an app for Android phones.

The Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has launched a new iPhone app that allows prospective volunteers to check current volunteer opportunities at the touch of a button.

"It's all about making it as easy as possible for people to volunteer," said Rachel Spears, the executive director of the legal nonprofit, which connects volunteer attorneys with Georgia nonprofits in need of free business legal services.

The group matched about 500 projects last year, Spears said, and she hopes the iPhone app will increase that number. "We never have enough lawyers to do all the contracts and employment work we have," she said.

Spears said the group places a lot of matters by sending out a monthly email to interested lawyers which lists pending volunteer opportunities. Last year it started posting the list on its website.

"We wanted to make it even easier. You can just press a button and see what's available," Spears said. To indicate interest in a particular matter, one simply clicks a box to send an email to Spears.

Current projects include a request from the Refugee Women's Network for help on an employee benefits matter and another from Global Paint for Charity for assistance revising its bylaws and drafting board policies and procedures.

Spears said the Pro Bono Partnership hopes to create an app for Android phones as well, funds permitting. The technology law section of the State Bar of Georgia gave the group a $1,000 grant to develop the iPhone app. TechBridge, a local nonprofit that connects nonprofits with technology services, helped Spears find a developer.

To download the app using an iPhone, go to the iPhone app store and use “PBPA” as the search term, or go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/volops/id779669138?mt=8

Smith, Gambrell & Russell has recruited patent attorney J. Gibson Lanier from Ballard Spahr as counsel. Lanier has a doctorate in microbiology and immunology, and he handles biotech patents. Smith Gambrell recruited another Ballard Spahr patent lawyer, Greg Kirsch, last year to head its intellectual property practice. Kirsch said Lanier is the firm's first biotech patent attorney in Atlanta and the first with a Ph.D., a draw for clients. "It's a good thing to have. We do a fair amount of university patent work, and university clients like having people on board with Ph.Ds," he said.

Kirsch said Lanier brings some university and corporate clients but declined to name them.

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