Doing More with Less:
How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
NCBF Annual Meeting
August 9, 2014
Robert J. Ambrog...
20%All the programs and resources devoted to
ensuring access to justice address only 20%
of the civil legal needs of low-i...
So how do we
do more
with less?
 1996
LSC report: ‘Order-of-
magnitude increases in
capacity’ through tech
 1998
First LSC summit on use of
technology t...
“Technology can and must play a
vital role in transforming
service delivery so that all poor
people in the United States w...
1. Statewide legal portal where triage directs users to
the most appropriate form of assistance.
2. Document assembly to s...
Web Portals
“A single, statewide mobile web access
portal in each state to which a user will be
directed no matter where h...
Triage
“We simply have to find a better way to
triage legal services — to allocate the
available services so they have the...
Social Media
“Legal aid organizations and courts can
use social media to expand their outreach
to the community by posting...
Document Assembly
“Plain language forms will be produced
through plain language interviews for all
frequently used court a...
A software tool that enhances access to justice for self-represented
litigants by enabling non-technical authors from the ...
Mobile Technologies
Access-to-justice services will be
location-independent and accessible using
smartphones, tablets, and...
Mobile friendly website
iProBono, Arkansas Access to Justice
Pocket DACA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTUm1dRezB8
A text and phone system that informs nannies, housekeepers and caregivers
nationwide about workplace essentials.
Workers c...
http://vimeo.com/81213105
Video
“Videos posted to websites like YouTube
and Vimeo can help litigants learn how to
complete forms, prepare for court,...
http://youtu.be/MjK4HdBSE0w?list=UUinIQe1Ql9zKjbc88YuTW7A
http://youtu.be/0z5SYm26QJ4?list=UUinIQe1Ql9zKjbc88YuTW7A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebA_lESQas0
Using Games
“There are ways we could use
gamification and game mechanics to
create meaningful connections between
the publ...
www.changeville.ca.gov
Estate Quest teaches estate planning basics
http://youtu.be/H6WbRLc8mmI
Expert Systems
“Expert systems emulate the decision-
making ability of human experts. In legal
services, these systems can...
Role of Bar Foundations
“This report proposes a national vision
that must of necessity be achieved locally.
The proposal i...
• LSC’s TIG program for essential initial activities.
• The State Justice Institute.
• State legislatures and courts.
• IO...
“Substantial initial funding was
provided by The Chicago Bar
Foundation …”
• In 2009, acquired and deployed statewide case
management software used by 27 of 30 grantees.
• Currently exploring expan...
• With funds so limited, should any go to technology?
• With direct services so limited, should they take priority
over te...
Further Reading
“Report of The Summit on the Use of Technology to
Expand Access to Justice,”
http://tig.lsc.gov/resources/...
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services
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Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services

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With escalating demand for legal services for the poor and dwindling funding, how can technology help bridge the gap? This is a presentation I gave on Aug. 9, 2014, at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Bar Foundations. Note that where the presentation included embedded videos, I have included the URL to the video online.

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Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services

  1. 1. Doing More with Less: How Technology is Helping Deliver Legal Services NCBF Annual Meeting August 9, 2014 Robert J. Ambrogi, Esq.
  2. 2. 20%All the programs and resources devoted to ensuring access to justice address only 20% of the civil legal needs of low-income people in the United States.
  3. 3. So how do we do more with less?
  4. 4.  1996 LSC report: ‘Order-of- magnitude increases in capacity’ through tech  1998 First LSC summit on use of technology to improve access to justice.  2000 LSC creates Technology Initiative Grant program.  2012 LSC convenes second summit.  2013 Second summit issues report
  5. 5. “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.”
  6. 6. 1. Statewide legal portal where triage directs users to the most appropriate form of assistance. 2. Document assembly to support the creation of legal documents by service providers and by litigants. 3. Mobile technologies to reach more persons more effectively. 4. Business process/analysis applied to access-to- justice activities to maximize efficiency. 5. Expert systems to assist lawyers and other service providers. Five components of implementation:
  7. 7. Web Portals “A single, statewide mobile web access portal in each state to which a user will be directed no matter where he/she comes into the system. The portal will support computers, tablets, and smartphones.”
  8. 8. Triage “We simply have to find a better way to triage legal services — to allocate the available services so they have the greatest impact on the greatest number of people.” -Bonnie Rose Hough, Managing Attorney for the California Administrative Office of the Court’s Center for Families, Children & the Courts, and Richard Zorza, consultant on access to justice issues
  9. 9. Social Media “Legal aid organizations and courts can use social media to expand their outreach to the community by posting information about the availability of legal clinics, as well as videos, self-help resources, court information, and online intake programs.”
  10. 10. Document Assembly “Plain language forms will be produced through plain language interviews for all frequently used court and legal forms. Users will answer questions regarding their legal matter, and the intelligent forms system will use the information to generate the appropriate form and display it for review.”
  11. 11. A software tool that enhances access to justice for self-represented litigants by enabling non-technical authors from the courts, clerks’ offices, legal services programs, and website editors to rapidly build and implement customer friendly web-based interfaces for document assembly. A2J Guided Interviews remove many of the barriers faced by self- represented litigants, allowing them to easily complete and print court and legal documents that are ready to use. A2J Author
  12. 12. Mobile Technologies Access-to-justice services will be location-independent and accessible using smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
  13. 13. Mobile friendly website
  14. 14. iProBono, Arkansas Access to Justice
  15. 15. Pocket DACA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTUm1dRezB8
  16. 16. A text and phone system that informs nannies, housekeepers and caregivers nationwide about workplace essentials. Workers can call in using any kind of phone at any hour to hear humorous and informative episodes hosted by Clara. They can also subscribe to receive related weekly tips via text message. Spearheaded by REV-, with partners including NuLawLab, the MIT Center for Civic Media, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and others.
  17. 17. http://vimeo.com/81213105
  18. 18. Video “Videos posted to websites like YouTube and Vimeo can help litigants learn how to complete forms, prepare for court, and understand their legal rights.” -Jane Ribadeneyra, “Web-Based Legal Services Delivery Capabilities,” Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Fall 2012.
  19. 19. http://youtu.be/MjK4HdBSE0w?list=UUinIQe1Ql9zKjbc88YuTW7A
  20. 20. http://youtu.be/0z5SYm26QJ4?list=UUinIQe1Ql9zKjbc88YuTW7A
  21. 21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebA_lESQas0
  22. 22. Using Games “There are ways we could use gamification and game mechanics to create meaningful connections between the public and legal services providers and/or legal information for self-help purposes.” -Stephanie Kimbro, Virtual Law Practice blog
  23. 23. www.changeville.ca.gov
  24. 24. Estate Quest teaches estate planning basics
  25. 25. http://youtu.be/H6WbRLc8mmI
  26. 26. Expert Systems “Expert systems emulate the decision- making ability of human experts. In legal services, these systems can be used to help self-represented litigants navigate an unfamiliar legal process or support legal services professionals by augmenting existing systems and practice tools.”
  27. 27. Role of Bar Foundations “This report proposes a national vision that must of necessity be achieved locally. The proposal is ambitious. It must overcome challenges not only of technology, but of leadership, funding, and resistance to change.”
  28. 28. • LSC’s TIG program for essential initial activities. • The State Justice Institute. • State legislatures and courts. • IOLTA programs. • Private foundations. • Corporate sponsors. • Individual donors. • Private venture capital investment. Key Part of Funding Strategy
  29. 29. “Substantial initial funding was provided by The Chicago Bar Foundation …”
  30. 30. • In 2009, acquired and deployed statewide case management software used by 27 of 30 grantees. • Currently exploring expansion of strategic investment in technologies. • Reimbursed registration cost for grantees to attend national TIG conference. • Facilitated discussion of statewide technology planning. • Considering creation of technology advisory council. Florida Bar Foundation
  31. 31. • With funds so limited, should any go to technology? • With direct services so limited, should they take priority over technology initiatives? • Can and should IOLTA funds go to technology? • If we are to fund technology, then how? • TIG-like grants targeted specifically at technology? • Tech innovation as a factor in program assessment? • One-time seed funding? • How should we evaluate technology proposals? Questions for foundations
  32. 32. Further Reading “Report of The Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice,” http://tig.lsc.gov/resources/grantee-resources/report- summit-use-technology-expand-access-justice “Using Technology to Enhance Access to Justice,” Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Fall 2012, http://jolt.law.harvard.edu/articles/pdf/v26/26HarvJLTe ch241.pdf

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