Robert Pennell answers 1,000 questions on Missouri Free Legal Answers
When Robert Pennell hit “send” on an answer through Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org in June, he achieved an impressive mile marker – answering 1,000 questions on the online platform, becoming only the second volunteer lawyer to hit such an outstanding goal.
Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org is a free virtual legal advice clinic where low to moderate income Missourians can ask up to three non-criminal legal questions each year, answered by volunteer Missouri lawyers. Produced in partnership with The Missouri Bar and the American Bar Association, Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org launched in January 2017.
Pennell is one of 288 registered volunteers with the program. He became a volunteer in early 2017 because he wants to help Missourians even better improve their lives by answering residents’ legal questions and explaining how the law applies to their situations.
“So many Missourians misunderstand how the law works or have gross misconceptions as to what the law actually provides,” Pennell said. “When I outline things for a Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org client, most are extremely appreciative – even if it isn’t favorable – as they generally want to know where they stand to make the best decision going forward.”
Since January 2017, more than 9,000 client questions have been answered through Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org.
Pennell founded The Law Offices of Robert Grant Pennell, LLC in Manchester, where he has represented companies of all sizes in business, employment, and unemployment legal matters. Because of his background, Pennell gravitates towards questions involving business, landlord-tenant, employment, and basic litigation issues in the virtual clinic.
Prior to volunteering with Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org, Pennell was active on other legal forums. When he heard of the virtual clinic, he said it made sense to extend his expertise to that platform so he could more directly and privately help Missourians with their legal needs.
“Unlike the public forums I had been using, Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org allows me to engage Missourians needing assistance in an almost traditional fashion – not merely providing a quick answer but actually going back and forth to address all concerns,” he said, adding he has offered to speak with clients on the phone in some circumstances.
Of the more than 10,500 questions that have been submitted to Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org since its launch over five years ago, Pennell has answered more than 1,000 of those, helping hundreds of Missourians.
“Quite frankly, I had no idea I had answered that many questions,” he said. “I do it because I enjoy helping folks. It seems like a fairly cool milestone.”
Any licensed Missouri lawyer can volunteer to answer questions on Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org, which provides an opportunity to perform pro bono work in a completely flexible way. Visit Missouri.FreeLegalAnswers.org and click on “Volunteer Attorney Registration” to volunteer today!