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Virtual and Remote Legal Aid Services


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This webinar will highlight examples of how virtual and remote legal services models are enabling new forms of pro bono participation and expanding the reach of services to underserved communities. Join us for this special pre-Pro Bono Celebration webinar to learn about new and emerging projects, and the staffing, technology and partnerships involved. We will also discuss resources and considerations for replication.

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Virtual and Remote Legal Aid Services

  1. 1. If you joined the training via telephone, please click on the telephone symbol and select “Call by phone” and follow the instructions. If you joined with a microphone and headset or speakers (VoIP), please click on the telephone symbol and select “Call via the internet” We will start promptly at the hour. Welcome to the Virtual and Remote Pro Bono Legal Services Models webinar!
  2. 2. A few logistics before we start…
  3. 3. LSNTAP is recording this training and will post it to their SlideShare account for the
  4. 4. Virtual and Remote Pro Bono Legal Services Models: A Special National Pro Bono Celebration Webinar October 14, 2015
  5. 5. Presenters Debra Jennings Managing Attorney, Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. Claudia Johnson LawHelp Interactive Program Manager Pro Bono Net Phong Wong Pro Bono Director, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles Liz Keith (moderator) Program Director, Pro Bono Net
  6. 6. 100% Access Vision LSC Tech Summit Report “Technology can and must play a vital role in transforming service delivery so that all poor people in the United States with an essential civil legal need obtain some form of effective assistance.” Implicit Assumptions • Continuum of services • Integrated delivery model, cutting across traditional legal aid and court roles • Anticipates the needs of income-eligible and non-income eligible individuals
  7. 7. Technology benefits Legal aid programs •New ways for volunteers to participate, regardless of location Pro bono lawyers •Enhanced access to training and support, and new forms of volunteering Clients •Expand access for underserved clients and communities
  8. 8. LEGAL AID OF WESTERN OHIO LIVE CHAT PROJECT Debra Jennings Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. October 14, 2015 LAWO is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).
  9. 9. The Challenge  7 offices serving 32 counties in northwest and west central Ohio
  10. 10. The Challenge (continued)  30 Rural Counties  315,000 persons living at, or below, the Federal Poverty Level in rural counties  How to connect those persons with legal assistance to address their legal needs?
  11. 11. Project Origins  On-site corporate attorney and attorney affinity group pro bono telephone brief advice clinic model  Positive feedback & lessons learned  Predictability of contact  Personal satisfaction with direct service delivery  Interest in exploring like a service from a remote location  Untapped potential to establish and formalize on-going relationships with private bar interested in convenient, predictable volunteer opportunity
  12. 12. Project Goals  Design a legal services delivery system to encourage Ohio’s rural attorneys – particularly those in the transactional bar – to provide pro bono assistance to eligible low-income individuals  Make brief advice and limited legal assistance services accessible to any eligible low-income person with access to an internet connection  Help bridge the justice gap so fewer legal needs go unmet
  13. 13. Project Goals (continued)  Increase & improve legal services to eligible low income persons by:  Expanding access to attorney resources to address legal questions or issues;  Providing easy access to direct service legal assistance;  Increasing the number of eligible individuals served;  Increasing the resources available to pro se litigants.
  14. 14. Project Goals (continued)  Increase efficiency & effectiveness by offering Ohio attorneys located in rural counties:  The opportunity to provide pro bono assistance in a scheduled, predictable, time limited manner;  The opportunity to provide pro bono assistance without the need to travel and its associated time commitment and expense;  The opportunity to be exposed to, and learn, an area of the law which they might otherwise be unfamiliar with;  The possibility of expanding substantive areas of practice through exposure and training.
  15. 15. Project Nuts & Bolts  Volunteer attorneys participate in poverty law substantive law training(s)  Volunteer attorneys participate in an interactive process training:  LAWO Case Management System  LivePerson Software  Volunteer attorneys communicate availability by opening LiveChat appointments
  16. 16. Project Nuts & Bolts  Legal Aid Line prescreens applicants for issue eligibility, financial eligibility, computer and internet access and comfort level using technology  Legal Aid Line schedules prescreened clients with volunteer attorneys in appointments they have set
  17. 17. Project Nuts & Bolts  Client accesses Live Chat from the Legal Aid Line website on the date and at the time of the client’s scheduled appointment.  After entering information to help the Volunteer Attorney identify the client, the session begins.
  18. 18. Project Nuts & Bolts  The Volunteer Attorney begins the chat from the LivePerson console.  After selecting the client, the session begins.  The session is supported by customizable “canned content” available from the console.  Volunteers are supported by LAWO staff throughout the process.
  19. 19. Project Outcomes  Soft launch phase  6 topics  11 volunteers trained with 6 consistent volunteers  Over 80 chats scheduled with 55 persons helped since inception  Project expansion goals  Add 2 topics  Recruit 6 additional volunteers  8-10 appointments/week
  20. 20. QUESTIONS? THANK YOU! Debra Jennings Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. October 14, 2015 LAWO is funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).
  21. 21. Legal Aid LiveHelp / LiveChat initiatives Yellow = Projects with law student and/or pro bono attorney staffing models Many other states use AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteers at least part-time Updates or corrections? Email
  22. 22. TIG-funded Iowa Legal Aid LiveHelp initiative Project Goal ILA & PBN will assess and pilot a new live chat platform for LiveHelp initiatives using the LivePerson Pro software 2015 Activities • Conduct community and product research • Pilot test the new solution on IowaLegalAid • Develop a plan to educate, train and migrate interested states to the new solution FMI: Eve Ricaurte –
  23. 23. LHI-Connect A new way to share and create documents between lawyers and clients remotely and asynchronously Claudia Johnson Program Coordinator LawHelp Help Interactive 509 396 7372
  24. 24. The Problem
  25. 25. The Solution LHI Connect
  26. 26. Step 1. • End user finds an interview and answers it. • Agrees to share answers with legal aid group staff for placement with pro bono lawyer
  27. 27. Step 2. Pro Bono Coordinator • Assigns the answer to a specific lawyer (from assigned lawyers to the clinic/pro bono drive)
  28. 28. 3. Advocate is assigned a case • Notification lets the advocate know they have a shared document in LHI • Advocate can open with SRL interview or Advocate interview
  29. 29. Can be assigned to advocates working in that clinic, drive or project
  30. 30. Advocate can open with either interview(s) used for this Connect/clinic or pro bono drive
  31. 31. Connect Coordinator • Can create events, assign interviews, assign advocates to work as part of the team staffing the clinic or pro bono drive
  32. 32. LHI Connect access point • All accounts working on a Connect point will have access to it after log in
  33. 33. Additional information • Being piloted in Oklahoma (LASO) for expungement pro bono project (statewide) • Evaluation will start in December • Contra Costa County will use for pre-efiling project (clerks and self help staff personas) • Open to LHI community tentatively Q2 2016 • Requires well tested interviews
  34. 34. For more information For more information on LHI Connect please contact: Claudia Johnson, LawHelp Interactive Additional information on the Oklahoma project:
  35. 35. LAFLA/Library Videoconferencing Project Expanding Services through Library Partnerships and Videoconferencing 35
  36. 36. Project Goal Enhance Client accessibility and work productivity by bridging geographic barriers between LAFLA’s offices, community libraries and other partners
  37. 37. Componentsof LAFLA’s VideoconferencingProgram •Partners and Volunteers •Technology •Outreach •Funding •Others 38
  38. 38. LAFLA/Library VideoconferencingProgram LAFLA/PB LAFLA/PB PB at office/home PB at Clinic/LAFLA Library/LAFLA/Orgs Client at library Client at SH Center Client at Clinic/LAFLA Client at home or Community Org Library/LAFLA/Orgs Documents 39 GoTo Meeting
  39. 39. LibraryAppointmentCoordination
  40. 40. 41
  41. 41. Levering Technology to Connect Pro Bono Attorneys to Pro Bono Opportunities Through Interactive Trainings
  42. 42. Goals of the Institute 1. Create a centralized and more efficient statewide pro bono training system. 2. Expand pro bono in the state by • increasing access to trainings and • reducing duplicative trainings. 3. Facilitate easier recruitment and support of private sector attorneys by providing an online portal to connect private attorneys and volunteer opportunities.
  43. 43. Legal Services Organizations (LSO) Pro Bono Attorney Collaborate to create uniform pro bono trainings. Pro Bono Attorneys watch trainings and receive a certificate allowing them to volunteer at a local legal clinic. Pro Bono Attorneys attend legal clinics and are immediately able to start volunteering. LSO Pro Bono Attorney LSO LSO Pro Bono Training Institute How It Works
  44. 44. How We Can Help You • Incorporate interactive training methods • Incorporate E-learning best practices • Draft agendas and learning Objectives • Develop training resource materials • Export your training module to
  45. 45. Training Timeline
  46. 46. LEGALAID FOUNDATION OF LOS ANGELES Phong Wong Pro Bono Director (213) 640-3859
  47. 47. Resources • LSC Tech Summit Report Report_2013.pdf •Colorado Lawyer article – the Virtual Pro Se Clinic Concept • LiveHelp replication resources available in • 2014 and 2015 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant awards  grantees-awarded-pro-bono-innovation-fund-grant  pro-bono-innovation-grant-recipients
  48. 48. Contact Information • Debra Jennings, • Claudia Johnson, • Phong Wong, • Eve Ricaurte, • Liz Keith,
  49. 49. THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING TODAY! More information on additional trainings at
  50. 50. Contact Information Brian Rowe ( or via chat on Don’t forget to take our feedback survey!