2003 Gordon Overview by Student team
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2003 Gordon Overview by Student team

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2003 Gordon Overview by Student team 2003 Gordon Overview by Student team Presentation Transcript

  • EQUAL JUSTICE AND THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION: USING TECHNOLOGY TO MEET THE LEGAL NEEDS OF LOW-INCOME PEOPLE
      • A REPORT BY JULIA GORDON
      • On the
      • Project for the Future of Equal Justice
  • We know Technology has changed the way we do everything including work, play, communicate, learn and obtain goods and services
  • The pace of change has not been the same for every part of society
  • IN THE MID-1990s, ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDING CIVIL LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO LOW-INCOME PEOPLE WERE BEGINNING TO USE NEW TECHNOLOGIES ON AN INCREASINGLY REGULAR BASIS
    • Word processing
    • Accounting software
    • Early computerized case management systems
    • Few programs had their own websites
    • Only a minor portion of those few websites had legal or practice information for staff and clients
    • < 1/2 of advocates used outside email or computerize legal research tools and less than that had access to the internet
  • THE PROJECT FOR THE FUTURE OF EQUAL JUSTICE, A JOINT EFFORT BY NATIONAL LEGAL AID AND DEFENDER ASSOCIATION AND THE CENTER FOR LAW AND SOCIAL POLICY 1997-2001 (NLADA AND CLASP) THE PROJECT’S GOAL WAS TO HELP LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAMS INCREASE AND IMPROVE THEIR USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES
  • THE PROJECT FOR THE FUTURE OF EQUAL JUSTICE, A JOINT EFFORT BY NATIONAL LEGAL AID AND DEFENDER ASSOCIATION AND THE CENTER FOR LAW AND SOCIAL POLICY 1997-2001 (NLADA AND CLASP)
    • To help legal services programs improve and increase use of new technologies…
      • Setting up websites devoted to increasing use of new technologies
      • Training and education on new technologies
      • Modeling the use of innovative technology
      • Disseminating information about best practices
      • Pushing increased funding for technology
      • Convening advisory groups to plan and provide a vision
  • IN 2002…
    • Almost every legal services advocate has access to the internet and email and uses both daily
    • Legal aid programs have sophisticated case management systems
    • Many legal aid programs have document assembly software to generate correspondence and pleadings
    • Most legal aid programs have some sort of website
    • More than 30 states have state websites with information useful to both advocates and clients and other states are in the process of building such a site
    • National websites have substantive legal information and information on delivery, management, and technology
    • States have a central phone number for client referral or to obtain brief advice about their legal problems
  • THE TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES OF 2002 HAVE HAD A HUGE IMPACT ON THE LEGAL COMMUNITY
    • Expanded access to legal information for both client and advocates through internet and email technologies
    • Expanded access for clients by using telephones for screening, obtaining basic client information, referrals, and providing brief advice and services, and also by posting information on the internet
    • Better case management and data collection, along with automated templates for document creation
    • Improved communication between lawyers and clients through new telephone technologies, cell phones, and videoconferencing
    • Easier staff and volunteer recruitment through email and internet
    • New Avenues for outreach to clients and the public
    • Increased training opportunities for advocates
    • The result is a greater sense of community through technology
  • 8 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE LEGAL SERVICES COMMUNITY TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE ITS USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO PROVIDE EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL
  • NEW TECHNOLOGIES ALLOW LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROVIDERS TO
    • CONDUCT BETTER RESEARCH
    • WORK MORE COLLABORATIVELY WITH OTHER ADVOCATES
    • LEARN MORE READILY
    • WHICH WOULD RESULT IN:
      • HIGHER QUALITY WORK PRODUCT
      • SERVING CLIENTS MORE EFFICIENTLY
  • A FEW EXAMPLES OF HOW TECHNOLOGY COULD IMPROVE LEGAL SERVICES
    • CLIENTS COMMUNICATING ATTORNEY USING VIDEO-CONFERENCING
    • INEXPERIENCED PRO SE LITIGATORS VISITS COURT WEBSITE WITH INSTRUCTIONS, VIDEO TOUR, HELP WITH HIS CASE, HELP FEEL LESS INTIMIDATED
    • NEW FORMS CAN GET IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTED
    • CHECKING FOR CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS INSTANTLY, EVEN BETWEEN SATELLITE LEGAL AID OFFICES
    • EMAIL COMMUNICATION BETWEEN ATTORNEYS OF DIFFERENT JURISDICTIONS
    • A PRO BONO ATTORNEY ACCESSES A STATE-WIDE WEBSITE TO ASSIST HIM IN AN AREA OF LAW HE IS UNFAMILIAR WITH
  • STATISTICS
    • 1997-18.6% HOMES HAD INTERNET ACCESS
    • 2001-54% HOMES HAD INTERNET ACCESS
    • ON-LINE SALES WERE $13.8 BILLION DURING 2001 HOLIDAY SEASON
    • BUT, WHILE OVERALL INTERNET USAGE HAS INCREASED, THE NON-PROFIT COMMUNITY LAGS BEHIND THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN ADOPTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES
  • STATE’S TECHNOLOGY PLANNING PROCESSES COVER:
    • Software acquisition
    • User training and technical assistance
    • Case management systems
    • Free on-line informational resources
    • New technologies for pro se delivery
    • New technologies for intake
    • Communications among legal services and social services
  • WHAT CAN BE DONE ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL?
    • Establish a national support network to link the specialized websites providing targeted information
    • Establish a national technology-based support center to fill support gaps and improve access to information for low- and moderate-income people
  • FOCUS ON ADVOCATES
    • What do advocates want?
    • What can advocates do to increase the flow of technology?
    • On-line resources for advocates
  • WHAT DO ADVOCATES WANT?
    • ADVOCATES WANT TO FEEL MORE CLOSELY CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER AND THEIR CLIENT COMMUNITIES
    • ADVOCATES WANT TO LEARN HOW NEW TECHNOLOGIES CAN HELP THEM PROVIDE BETTER AND MORE SERVICES TO THEIR CLIENTS
  • WHAT CAN ADVOCATES DO?
    • SHARE YOUR WORK-USE AND CONTRIBUTE TO COLLECTIVE KNOWLEDGE BASES
    • THINK CREATIVELY ABOUT TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS YOU ENCOUNTER AT WORK, AND TELL YOUR MANAGERS AND IT STAFF ABOUT NEEDS YOU IDENTIFY
    • TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR UNDERSTANDING THE SOFTWARE YOU USE, AND ASK FOR MORE TRAINING IF YOU NEED IT
    • USE TECHNOLOGY, SUCH AS THE INTERNET OR VIDEOCONFERENCING WITH CLIENTS WHO HAVE TROUBLE COMING INTO THE OFFICE FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER
  • WHAT CAN ADVOCATES DO? (continued)
    • COLLECT STORIES ABOUT WAYS IN WHICH TECHNOLOGY HAS HELPED YOU HELP YOUR CLIENTS AND SHARE WITH OTHER ADVOCATES
    • PROBE CLIENTS FOR TECHNOLOGY BASED OBSTACLES THEY MAY BE FACING AND EXPLORE SOLUTIONS
    • CONSIDER HOW YOUR CLIENTS COULD USE NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO ACCESS INFORMATION THAT WOULD HELP THEM PREVENT LEGAL PROBLEMS OR LESSEN THEIR SEVERITY
    • EDUCATE CLIENTS THAT YOU CAN’T REPRESENT ABOUT TECHNOLOGIES THEY COULD USE TO ADDRESS PROBLEMS ON THEIR OWN
  • ON-LINE RESOURCES FOR ADVOCATES
    • www. probono .net
      • Online tools to support poverty law advocates & pro bono attorneys
      • Allows users to share information on-line
      • Training materials, model pleadings, links, current events page
      • Member email lists
    • www. lawhelp .org
      • Geared toward the general public and people searching for assistance with legal problem
      • Referrals, community legal education programs, pro se materials, links to social service support
  • ON-LINE RESOURCES FOR ADVOCATES (Continued)
    • www. corporateprobono .org
      • Help in-house counsel find pro bono opportunities
      • Help organizations with pro bono programs to attract volunteer attorneys by posting program information
    • www. illinoisprobono .org
      • Training and practice support for Illinois attorneys
      • Directory of legal organizations
      • Volunteer opportunity search
  • CREATING EQUAL JUSTICE
    • Improving program and office management
    • Increasing access to assistance and information for advocates
    • Improving client education, preventing legal problems and assisting pro se litigants
  • IMPROVING PROGRAM AND OFFICE MANAGEMENT
    • Intake - Use telephone to weed out potential clients and provide referrals. Saves multiple trips and meeting time.
    • Case management systems - Have all client intake information entered into a database. Quicker conflict checks, easy statistics, case transferability, and a supervision benefit.
    • Data collection - simplify collecting and aggregating data. Easier for reporting to funders, tracking costs, and sorting by demographics.
  • IMPROVING PROGRAM AND OFFICE MANAGEMENT (cont)
    • Document assembly - automatically generate forms, pleadings, or correspondence, using preformatted text. Set a standard of quality and can be easily updated. Automatic calculators, child support, income tax credits.
    • Remote representation - cell phones, lap tops, PDAs has almost all information at an attorney’s fingertips. Videoconferencing- avoids traveling time for meetings.
    • Staff and volunteer recruiting - Job Postings, Legal aid providers- list serves send information quickly to those who want it.
  • INCREASING ACCESS TO ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION FOR ADVOCATES
    • Research - the switch from books to the internet has led both advocates and consumers to up-to-date informational resources.
      • Legal Research and Public Information
        • Published opinions, regulatory info, law review
        • Overcomes limited time and library resources
        • Obtaining info about opposing party is simplified
        • Instant updates about government programs and social services available to clients. (e-mail, listservs)
  • INCREASING ACCESS TO ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION FOR ADVOCATES (cont)
      • Equal Justice Information - Increase in legal aid programs. Provide advocates with resources including brief banks, training calendars, practice manuals, research material, bulletins on legal developments, and links to related sites.
        • www.nlada.org , www.ptla.org , www.helpmelaw.org , www.nwjustice.org
    • Training - legal services have begun to use technology-based tools for increasing advocate access to training.
      • See www.m-i-e.org , and state websites for registration, calendar, and syllabi.
      • Tools used in Training: Videos, Cd-Roms, Streaming videos, Online classes, Online Workshops, and Online Audio Links.
  • INCREASING ACCESS TO ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION FOR ADVOCATES (cont)
    • Communications and Community - The use of e-mail and listservs has promoted advocates to communicate and collaborate easily, inexpensively, and frequently. Ultimately achieving better representation for the client.
      • Electronic Filing- the next step. See www.ptla.org Pine Tree Legal Assistance
  • IMPROVING CLIENT EDUCATION, PREVENTING LEGAL PROBLEMS, AND ASSISTING PRO SE LITIGANTS
    • Information for Low-Income People and Communities - before people relied on an attorney which took up valuable time and resources and a client’s child care needs and work schedule.
      • Brochures and other forms of info have moved to websites eliminating: distribution issues, traveling, phone calls
        • Remaining problems- internet access, low literacy skills, little computer exposure, or mental illness.
        • Yet, information accessible to intermediaries such as friends, relatives, social service workers, librarians, and teachers.
      • Hyperlinks- interlinked sources help clients find a great deal of content.
  • IMPROVING CLIENT EDUCATION, PREVENTING LEGAL PROBLEMS, AND ASSISTING PRO SE LITIGANTS (cont)
      • Tools Include:
      • Website tools:
        • Zip code/county searches which locate services near clients
        • Pro Se websites that help litigants create properly formatted, attractive, and persuasive court forms and pleadings
          • Computerized logic templates to help analyze their case and highlight which information is appropriate info to the court.
      • Courthouse Kiosk/Library Tools/or Online:
        • Video screens- show how to navigate through the courthouse
          • How to present their case
        • Audio files- present information for clients who can’t read (due to illiteracy or disability)
  • IMPROVING CLIENT EDUCATION, PREVENTING LEGAL PROBLEMS, AND ASSISTING PRO SE LITIGANTS (cont)
    • Hotlines - Don’t forget the telephone!! Hotlines can provide advice, referrals, services, or conduct intake for legal aid programs.
      • Computerized case management systems provide easy tracking and conflict checks
  • POSSIBLE AREAS OF IMPLEMENTATION FOR KIOSKS, VIDEOCONFERENCING, INTERNET ACCESS
    • SUGGEST PLACING THESE TOOLS IN LIBRARIES, POST OFFICES, HOMELESS SHELTERS, BATTERED WOMEN’S SHELTERS, CHURCHES, POLICE STATIONS, GROCERY STORES, OTHER COMMUNITY POINTS, TARGET, WAL-MART
    • NO TRAVEL, SAVING TIME AND MONEY, FASTER INTAKE
  • RECOMMENDATION #1
    • Broaden the base of funding for technology-related work.
  • RECOMMENDATION #2
    • Address substantive issues at intersection of technology policy and low income policies (access, literacy, training, computer intelligence)
  • RECOMMENDATION #3
    • Provide community legal education and assist pro se litigants
  • RECOMMENDATION #4
    • Create a culture of information sharing
  • RECOMMENDATION #5
    • Develop better and more integrated technologies
  • RECOMMENDATION #6
    • Higher commitment to technology at organizational level
  • RECOMMENDATION #7
    • Evaluate the use of new technologies
  • RECOMMENDATION #8
    • Work collaboratively to plan, execute and support technology-based work.
  • LSC TIG initiatives
    • http://www. lscopp .com/ techsite / Linkpages /TIG%202003%20Notice.doc