ABA ROLI Addresses the COVID-19 Pandemic

Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic is already posing a threat to the rule of law and human rights around the world, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative is shifting more of its focus to address this development. One of our principal lines of approach is the preparation of a capability paper, Addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic, to serve as a guide to ABA members and entities, our funders, and foreign partners.

During a pandemic, the rule of law is just as vital — indeed, even more so — as during times of normalcy. Many, if not most, of ABA ROLI’s government, civil society, and justice sector counterparts will lack the resources and capacity to provide comprehensive responses to the anticipated growing legal needs of their citizens arising from the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, we anticipate that the COVID-19 pandemic will wreak havoc on justice systems and institutions around the world, restricting access to justice for marginalized and vulnerable populations, threatening human rights, and increasing instability and violent extremism in some countries.

As outlined in the paper, ABA ROLI can quickly deploy its considerable field-based assets to respond to meet the needs of citizens and governments affected by the pandemic. ABA ROLI will also harness the resources and specialized expertise of the American Bar Association’s practice groups, remote training technology and infrastructure, and 400,000+ members to support the needs of the moment and the developing world’s public-health future.

ABA ROLI can leverage a number of critical resources the ABA has developed to assist American lawyers, including:

  • the newly appointed Task Force on Legal Needs Arising Out of the 2020 Pandemic;
  • the ABA Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness to develop programs to educate lawyers, bar associations and the justice system to help them prepare for and respond to the pandemic and provide resources to assist lawyers and the public recover from the pandemic;
  • the ABA's practice manuals that can be adapted to ROLI’s counterpart institutions overseas; and
  • the ABA's crucial resources and CLE webinars related to legal implications of the pandemic including contracts, compliance, insurance, supply chains, cybersecurity, and human resources.

Learn more about ABA ROLI's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.