Spotlight on Patrick Fodell



Can you tell us about your role at OneJustice?

My role at OneJustice is first to lead OneJustice’s efforts with the Pro Bono Training Institute (PBTI) which is an on demand online training library for pro bono attorneys. Additionally, I work with OneJustice’s new Inland County Small Business Transactional Clinic project. This project will create new transactional clinics in the Inland Empire with two partners, Catholic Charities of San Bernardino and Riverside County and Inland Counties Legal Services. 

Can you tell us more about the Pro Bono Training Institute, and what work you do as the Training Institute Manager?

My role at PBTI is two fold. The first is to collaborate with our PBTI partner the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as PBTI, at its core, is a collaboration between OneJustice and LAFLA. Together we listen to the legal services community and come up with timelines and goals that will address the training needs of pro bono attorneys. LAFLA has been an excellent partner from the start and has really helped PBTI gain a better understanding of the legal services community and the training needs of the pro bono community. Additionally, I serve as the primary tech person for PBTI. This means that I’m the point person for training modules edits and any website edits. However, I do not do this all alone. I work with staff at both OneJustice and LAFLA to ensure that the training modules are edited, uploaded, and updated over a period of time. We treat each training module as a living breathing training that can easily be edited as case law and other factors change. 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the work of the Pro Bono Training Institute?

PBTI’s work has always been driven by the needs of the California legal services community, and the start of the pandemic was no different. Before the pandemic, the PBTI team was already in the midst of a total website overhaul. This overhaul involved recreating all 100+ training modules in order to move them to a more accessible platform. The initial plan was to have this website overhaul done sometime in the middle of 2020, but once the pandemic hit staff realized that the need for remote training would be needed now more than ever. Therefore, PBTI staff updated the timeline to sometime in mid-April about a month after the initial shutdown and several months before the initial goal. It was tough work but the website was overhauled and now more people than ever can easily access our on-demand training library. Additionally, staff developed a whole resource page dedicated to COVID-19 resources which can be found here. PBTI continues to listen to the legal services community and welcomes any and all training needs specifically related to COVID-19. Staff are currently in the process of developing a robust housing training module program that will cover housing rights under COVID-19. We hope that this will be launched by the end of 2020. 

Can you tell us about any upcoming trainings/ projects that you are excited about?

We are particularly excited about our revamped housing training modules that will be available in the fall of 2020. Housing has always been a training course that PBTI staff have wanted on our website. Due to the vast and complex nature of housing law it was hard to determine what should be included and when. PBTI staff have reached out to several trainers and will be launching our new revamped housing series later on this year. 

As a recent graduate of the 2020 Executive Fellowship cohort, did the program help to prepare you for the challenges and changes the legal aid community is facing now? If so, how?

The Executive Fellowship has greatly helped me prepare for the challenges of the legal aid community. It gave me a great background regarding nonprofit management so I, along with the PBTI staff, were able to pivot during the start of the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that the legal services community was met. It also gave me an excellent opportunity to learn about program management and execution that helped us move our new website development up several months to ensure the community would be able to training its pro bono attorneys.