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Webinar Next Week: Beyond Online Intake: Looking at Triage and Expert Systems

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Webinar Next Week: Beyond Online Intake: Looking at Triage and Expert Systems

  1. 1. Beyond Online Intake: Looking at Triage and Expert Systems December 4, 2013
  2. 2. Presenters Mike Grunenwald DC Bar Pro Bono Program Gwen Daniels Illinois Legal Aid Online Gordon Shaw Massachusetts Justice Project Liz Keith Pro Bono Net Mirenda Watkins(Moderator) Pro Bono Net
  3. 3. What We Will Cover Today • What is triage and what’s it’s relationship to online intake? • Why online intake and triage? How does it help lowincome individuals and members of the communities served by legal service organizations and courts? • How has technology and expert systems enabled and changed the way online intake and triage is approached?
  4. 4. Defining the Terms: Triage Triage- varying definitions exist, triage tools can be advocate and public facing
  5. 5. Defining the Terms: Intake Intake –can be described as the process a legal non-profit (including a pro bono project) uses to accepting or rejecting clients based on articulated criteria. It includes data collection, review, acceptance or denial, notification to the applicant, and referrals for all.
  6. 6. Defining the Terms: Online Intake Online intake= online application tool + online intake system
  7. 7. Some Technology Tools Used for Online Intake and Triage • A2J Author ( • Neota Logic ( • Form Router ( • Wufoo (
  8. 8. 2013 TIG-Funded Online Intake and Triage Projects TRIAGE • Montana Legal Services Association • Pine Tree Legal Assistance (Maine) • New Mexico Legal Aid ONLINE INTAKE • Center for Arkansas Legal Services • Legal Services of Greater Miami • Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corp • North Penn Legal Services • Legal Services Law Line of Vermont See:
  9. 9. Resources • American Bar Association’s Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid: • ABA Model Rules Revisions Include Technology - What Attorneys Must Know - See more at: • The Access to Justice “Sorting Hat” — Towards a System of Triage and Intake that Maximizes Access and Outcomes, 89 Denv. U. L. Rev. 859 (2012): • Triage Protocols for Litigant Portals: A Coordinated Strategy Between Courts and Service Providers, Prepared by Tom Clarke, National Center for State Courts. Richard Zorza, Self-Represented Litigation Network, Katherine Alteneder, Self- Represented Litigation Network • Using Technology to Enhance Access to Justice, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. Volume 26, Number 1 Fall 2012: • Previous LSNTAP/PBN Online Intake Webinar Recordings and Materials: and • Claudia Johnson, LawHelp Interactive Program Manager,
  10. 10. Two Online “Triage” Projects in Washington, D.C. Mike Grunenwald Senior Project Specialist DC Bar Pro Bono Program
  11. 11. Two “Triage” Projects in DC •DC Bar Pro Bono Program •Non-LSC funded program •Partnerships with Georgetown Law and Neota Logic to develop two apps
  12. 12. Consumer Debt/Bankruptcy App •Problem: Creditors harassing consumers •Initial solution: Document assembly app •Expanded solution: Clinic referral and prescreening app
  13. 13. Consumer Debt/Bankruptcy App •Bankruptcy Clinic pre-screening •Complete debtor checklist for user to take to clinic
  14. 14. Consumer Debt/Bankruptcy App •First draft developed by team of Georgetown Law students •Built on Neota Logic platform •Development continuing with support from Neota Logic
  15. 15. Consumer Debt/Bankruptcy App •Online intake hasn’t taken root in DC yet •Vision: App will be a model for clinic prescreening/intake for other DC providers •Works for clinic = works for organization?
  16. 16. Concierge App •Users have two ways to access resources: •Folder/subfolder search •Text search
  17. 17. Concierge App • Challenge: Is there a better way to help users find what they need in LawHelp? •Solution: “Concierge” app to help users find resources relevant to their specific situations
  18. 18. Concierge App •Started (relatively) small – 1 subtopic •Georgetown Law externship student built first draft using Neota Logic •Neota Logic continuing to support development
  19. 19. Concierge App • Lessons learned so far… •Grand long-term plans
  20. 20. Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder Gordon Shaw Executive Director Massachusetts Justice Project
  21. 21. Intake Timeline 1970s-80s - Emphasis was on face to face (by appointment) intake. Programs also put a premium on having many satellite offices. 1990s - Intake became phone-centric. The model in the 90s was the phone during set intake hours staffed by professional intake workers or screeners. This is the dawn of hotlines. Mid 2000s- Programs began offering on-line intake systems. ➢ While On-Line Intake offers a solution to the access problem that is the curse of phone-centric intake systems, it does nothing to address the problem of volume. In fact, it could potentially make it worse – as you now have created access 24/7
  22. 22. 2012 and Beyond: ➢ The dawn of client-centered web based triage tools
  23. 23. In 2012, MJP received a TIG to develop the Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder (LRF). What is it? A web-based tool that will connect low income persons to the Massachusetts legal resources that correlate with their specific legal issues
  24. 24. Why is it needed? • Every day legal aid programs are flooded with requests for assistance. The vast majority of these applicants will be turned away with nothing more than a referral to self-help resources or other sources of assistance – often after long waits in a phone queue. • Programs are stretched thin and this extends to screening, intake and hotline resources as well. • Massachusetts has a wide range of programs and resources to help low income people with legal needs. Until now, there has not been a centralized way to direct people to these resources. • The goal of the LRF is to give some relief to our over burdened intake systems while at the same time provide consumers with a quick and accessible way to find out what resources exist with respect to their legal issue.
  25. 25. How will it work? ➢ A user will complete a short on-line form with a limited number of questions about their legal problem and household demographics. The LRF will then search a database and give back to the user information that could include any and all of the following: ○ If the issue is one which a Massachusetts legal services organization accepts for legal assistance, it would provide a link to their on-line application and/or provide information on how to call to complete an intake. ○ Live links to relevant self-help resources and court forms including automated Massachusetts forms on LHI and I-CAN. ○ Additional resources that exist for obtaining legal assistance such as lawyer of the day programs and other court-based help, lawyer referral services, other non profits, and government agencies. ➢ Participating programs will set-up profiles in the database that includes selection of the legal issues they want referred to their intake systems. Programs will be able to turn issues “on or off” as needed – providing real time updates to program case acceptance/priorities
  26. 26. Who is building it and how? • The Massachusetts Justice Project received a 2012 TIG and is working with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute’s Statewide Websites Project on the design and implementation of the LRF. • Search engine is being built in DRUPAL
  27. 27. Online Intake, Triage and Expert Systems in Illinois Gwen Daniels Director of Technology Development Illinois Legal Aid Online
  28. 28. Illinois Statewide Online Access System • Beta with Illinois’ LSCfunded programs •Public Benefits • Foreclosure • “Always Divert” areas • Expanding in 2014 to 2 non-LSC-funded programs
  29. 29. Why Triage Before Intake? • Programs are tired of having to say NO • Divert people to the best AVAILABLE resource • Divert people from applying when the program will not help them (low priority) • Push high-priority cases through
  30. 30. Statewide Online Access System Three Components: • Triage and Intake on • Admin Console on • Drools Rules Engine • Fourth component coming 2014: Rules Builder on
  31. 31. Why This Approach? • Integrates with existing technologies User Profile Update user profile Set of rules Execute a rule Scan rules Find a match • Flexible to support multiple agencies with varying priorities, service areas, and requirements • Independent of website and case management platforms
  32. 32. How It Works • Pop up offers triage when available • Programs determine availability
  33. 33. Triage Example • Rule generates a question • Rule generates help display • Answer to a question: – Sends user to intake – Sends user to ILAO resources – Sends user to another question
  34. 34. Diversions
  35. 35. Next Steps • Deeper integration with systems • True statewide integration • Data analysis to refine triage rules
  36. 36. Data analysis can lead to: ▪ Better rules ▪ More automated case acceptance ▪ Less time saying no
  37. 37. Resources • On, search for public benefits or mortgage foreclosure in zip code 60602 to test; use name NTAP Tester • Drools: • Documentation will be published in early 2014 • For more information: or 312-977-9047 ext. 13
  38. 38. New Mexico Legal Aid 2014 Triage Pilot
  39. 39. Project Overview •2013 TIG to New Mexico Legal Aid • Program partners: Five other legal aid agencies in New Mexico, New Mexico Courts and State Bar of New Mexico • Technology partners: Pro Bono Net and Neota Logic System •Goal: Pilot the creation and implement of a robust statewide online triage program for the major civil legal issues faced by low income individuals and other vulnerable populations
  40. 40. Project components •Triage tool for advocates •Triage tool for individuals in need of legal assistance •New self-help and legal education content for triage system users •Data reporting service Scalable architecture to facilitate replication by other jurisdictions in the future
  41. 41. Triage Tool for Advocates •Advocates will be able to enter data about the litigant and assess relationship of case to:  Program priorities Intake requirements Broader advocacy strategies •Based on these factors, the system will provide set of recommended options
  42. 42. Triage Tool for the Public • Info about self-help resources and services, where available • Referrals to appropriate to legal aid agency for intake, including several “next actions:”  Email and printable summary with interview results and recommended actions  Option to email a standardized intake request in .csv format and interview results to a recommended referral organization • “Widgetized” for use on any website
  43. 43. Technology Approach •Triage expert platform - powered by Neota Logic System  Rules can be created and modified by non-technical agency staff • “LawHelp Triage” server at Pro Bono Net to run Neota Logic System  Extensible to host triage interviews for other states and integrate with other SWEB APIs in the future  Support for sharing and customization of rule sets •Systems to integrate SWEB API feed with Neota Logic interview and capture anonymized data for reporting
  44. 44. “Phase II” Opportunities •Deeper integration with case management and downstream systems •Ability to apply standard visualization tools to analyze interview data and make adjustments •Calls to outside data sources to help drive the interview •Calendaring integration to have user scheduled into an organization’s next available appointment •More extensive reporting interfaces to provide data to outside agencies/systems
  45. 45. For More Information: •Ed Marks Executive Director New Mexico Legal Aid •Liz Keith LawHelp Program Manager Pro Bono Net
  46. 46. THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING TODAY! More information at
  47. 47. Contact Information Brian Rowe ( or via chat on Don’t forget to take our feedback survey!