A pro bono program to help address local civil court matters delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been established by a group of San Diego attorneys and retired judges, it was announced Monday.
The RESOLVE Law San Diego program will connect clients with retired judges or qualified local attorneys to hear matters free of charge, which otherwise might face lengthy delays amid a court system still grappling with the logistics of operating during a pandemic.
Those behind the RESOLVE program say COVID-19 court closures have created a backlog of more than 8,000 missed hearings and dozens of rescheduled trials.
The program, said to be the largest legal pro bono effort in San Diego history, will be in effect until Sept. 15 and give attorneys and clients a temporary, free venue for dispute resolution outside of court. Hearings will be conducted by telephone or video conferencing.
"Our community's access to justice is in jeopardy while the court struggles to reschedule hearings and pushes jury trials out to 2021. Parties can agree to use RESOLVE Law for mediation, discovery disputes or law and motion and have their matter resolved within weeks," RESOLVE Law San Diego chair Amy R. Martel said.
"We created this program to make it as easy as possible to help our colleagues who need cases acted upon expeditiously."
More than 240 volunteer lawyers and retired judges are taking part in the program, which was created by San Diego County Bar Association members.
"I am very gratified by the outpouring of support we have received from lawyers and retired judges who have enthusiastically agreed to volunteer their time to RESOLVE Law San Diego," said RESOLVE committee member and civil defense lawyer William M. Low.
"This confirms, once again, my belief that San Diego has been blessed with one of the finest and most selfless collection of lawyers and judges in the state."
More information on RESOLVE Law San Diego can be found here.