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Connecting Justice Communities

Live LawHelp Interactive (LHI) Developer Training: July 11-12, 2016

Posted in Announcements, Resources, Seminar, Technology

Developer Training LHIWe are excited to announce that the next live LawHelp Interactive (LHI) developer training will take place July 11-12, 2016 at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.

Why Attend? Participants in this free training will learn how to author interactive interviews for self-represented litigants, volunteer attorneys or advocates. For those already familiar with the development process, we will go beyond the basics so you can take your statewide websites and online forms initiatives to the next level.  In addition to learning how to create our forms, you’ll also learn about new LHI features to support innovative uses of online forms in pro bono and remote legal services. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with a network of peers around the country working on similar projects.

Who Can Attend? The training is free for legal aid organizations and their eligible partners. Participants are responsible for their hotel and travel costs where applicable.

Training Details: We will hold a beginner’s track where emphasis will be on HotDocs template development and A2J Guided Interview development is also covered. The beginner track training faculty include trainers from Capstone Practice Systems as well as Center for Access to Justice & Technology at Chicago-Kent College of Law. In addition, we will hold a second track covering advanced/intermediate or project management topics if there is sufficient interest.  We will also highlight new LHI functionality to support innovative uses of LHI by pro bono and remote services, and opportunities to more deeply integrate LHI with systems such as legal aid CMS’s and statewide websites.

How to sign up: Registration is available here. It’s first-come, first-served and will close July 1, 2016. If you have any questions, please let us know. You can reach me at mmeghelli@probono.net or you can reach out to LHI Program Manager Claudia Johnson, cjohnson@probono.net.

More about LHI : LHI was developed to make implementing document assembly initiatives easier and less costly for legal aid organizations as well as pro bono and court-based access-to-justice programs. Participating programs use HotDocs Corporation’s HotDocs Professional, and can also use Center for Access to Justice and Technology’s A2J Author, to create online forms and documents. Templates are uploaded to the LawHelp Interactive server and made available to advocates, pro bono volunteers, and self-represented litigants through legal aid and court websites. This training is an opportunity for in-person, hands-on expert guidance on how to develop forms.

Thanks and we hope to see you in DC!

Iron Tech Winners: Immigration Healthcare Eligibility Application Liaison, iHeal

Posted in Announcements, Conferences, Immigration, Pro Bono, Staff News, Technology

Spring 2016 Winners of the Iron Tech Lawyer Competition

Pro Bono Net’s Executive Director, Mark O’Brien co-teaches an experiential course at Georgetown Law called “Technology, Innovation and Legal Practice– Access to Justice” with Professor Tanina Rostain and Adjunct Professor Kevin Mulcahy. Students in the seminar hear from a range of experts on legal technologies and access to justice. For their projects, student teams collaborate with legal service providers and public interest law organizations to build legal expert systems that promote access to legal processes and the legal system. The course culminates in the Iron Tech Lawyer Competition.

Hear from the winners of this year’s Iron Tech Lawyer Competition, Immigration Healthcare Eligibility Application Liaison, iHeal, below.

Iron Tech Lawyer Competition Winners - Team iHeal

Left to Right: iHeal Team – Taryn Smith, Jennifer Llano, Lauren Wiefels, and Arvind Miriyala; Judges – Paul Ohm, Dean Garfield, James Sandman; Professor Tanina Rostain

Early February, we—the students of Technology, Innovation, and Law—were separated into teams. Each team was paired with an organization and given the task to “fill a hole” for the organization by building an app. Our team (Arvind Miriyala, Lauren Wiefels, Jennifer Llano, and myself, Taryn Smith) was paired with the National Immigration Law Center, and the “hole” we were to fill was informing immigrants about healthcare benefits for which they may be eligible based on their status.

We began by dividing the labor. The question, “So, who considers themselves tech-y?” was initially met with radio silence. Eventually, however, we managed to designate two app builders and two information researchers. After that, all we had to do was take two complicated areas of law—Immigration and Healthcare—and make them digestible in order to create an app for an audience whose first language would likely not be English.

Fortunately, we had the help of Alvaro Huerta, an attorney at NILC, who helped us detangle the law and better understand how to interact with our target audience. We had to keep in mind that, for immigrants, there is a very understandable fear attached to providing information about yourself or your family, especially when that information concerns your immigration status, and especially when you are giving that information to a lawyer or a government entity. It was important to us that our users felt comfortable throughout their interaction with the app and not overwhelmed or threatened.

The final application, iHEAL, has both an English and a Spanish version. It is comprised of short, simple questions that mostly appear on the screen one at a time. There are numerous “Why We Ask” pop-up links to let our users know how exactly we plan to use each piece of information they give us. The app takes into account each answer, and when the users reach the end, they are told for what benefits they may be eligible and why. It also provides the location and contact information of the nearest help center, as well as a transcript of their responses to save and take with them.

There are a number of “holes” in the current legal system. Technology is a promising way to fill those holes whether it is used to complete menial tasks, allowing lawyers to spend time on more difficult issues, or to streamline a complex processes, or to simply educate the public. By embracing technology, we can create a much more efficient, user-friendly legal system.

Iron Tech Competition Judges panel

Panel of our esteemed judges left to right: Dean Garfield, Paul Ohm, James Sandman


This year’s Iron Tech Lawyer Competition was judged by Dean Garfield, President and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and Pro Bono Net Board member; Paul Ohm, Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center and faculty director for the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown; and James Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation, chair of the DC Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services and member of the DC Access to Justice Commission.

 

Click here to learn more about the other teams or watch the competition!


 

NeotaLogic-Logo_opt

Neota Logic provides the software used by the students, as well as generous support in the event. 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources for Advocates Working with Immigrant Families

Posted in Announcements, Pro Bono, Resources, Technology

The Immigration Advocates Network
Author: Abigail Krusemark, Immigrant Youth Resources Coordinator (AmeriCorps VISTA)

Newly arrived, undocumented Central American children and families face many challenges in the United States: understanding their rights, finding a lawyer, and enrolling children in school, among others. The increase in arrivals has also put pressure on the courts, nonprofit legal and social service providers, and volunteer attorneys. Recent developments, such as the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) adjustment cap, an Associated Press report on the failure of some school districts to enroll immigrant children, the licensing fight over family detention in Texas, and concerns about raids, have compounded the challenges in assisting this population.

The Immigration Advocates Network is the largest network of nonprofit and pro bono immigration advocates in the United States. Do you work for a nonprofit? Represent a client pro bono? You are eligible for membership! On the Immigration Advocates Network you will find resources to help immigrant children:

An advocacy best practices manual for legal service providers from the National Immigrant Justice Center, with guidance on a range of issues including building a program, leveraging pro bono, and working with children.

A practice advisory by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) on how the SIJS visa bulletin works and how to represent your clients facing adjustment delays.

An overview of a child’s right to go to school, regardless of immigration status, and guidance on filing a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), by the Women’s Refugee Commission, Georgetown University Law Center’s Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic & Human Rights Institute.

A Texas state court’s temporary restraining order that blocks Texas from licensing the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX as a childcare facility.

Resources from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) on new California state laws protecting immigrant children, which took effect January 1, 2016.

Statistics from FY2016, through 3/31/2016 on apprehensions of unaccompanied children at the southwest border.



Unaccompanied Children Resource CenterUCRC
Our UAC Resource Center offers training and information for volunteer lawyers, as well as plain language resources for immigrants, including a new section on “Adults with Children” at http://www.uacresources.org.

The Immigration Advocates Network is currently looking for an Immigrant Youth Resources Coordinator (AmeriCorps VISTA). Find us on Idealist.org:
http://www.idealist.org/view/job/WbJPMc2p4fsP/

Pro Bono Net Staff Shares Expertise at 2016 Equal Justice Conference

Posted in Announcements, Conferences, Legal Services, Press Release, Staff News, Technology

Equal Justice ConferenceFor Immediate Release
May 9, 2016
CONTACT: Jax Gitzes, Pro Bono Net
212-760-2554 x462 | jgitzes@probono.net

Strengthening Partnerships among Key Players in the Civil Justice System

At the 2016 Equal Justice Conference (EJC) this week, several Pro Bono Net staff members will be presenting at multiple sessions on a variety of equal justice issues. The Conference takes place May 11-14th in Chicago and is hosted by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.

Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit leader in increasing access to justice through innovative uses of technology and collaboration. Pro Bono Net’s staff is made up of a cross-disciplinary team from legal, technology, and community engagement backgrounds who are committed to finding innovative, sustainable solutions for expanding access to justice.

The Equal Justice Conference brings together all components of the legal community to discuss equal justice issues as they relate to the delivery of legal services to the poor. Pro Bono Net will present on a wide range of topics, including innovative uses of online document assembly and technology to expand pro bono participation.

Staff attending the conference includes Liz Keith, Program Director; Claudia Johnson, LawHelp Interactive Program Coordinator; Mike Grunenwald, Program Coordinator; Niki De Mel, Pro Bono and Special Initiatives Coordinator; and Jessica Stuart, Pro Bono Manager Product Manager.

Pro Bono Net staff are participating in the following pre-conference activities and conference workshops. For more details on each workshop, please visit the EJC website here.

Wednesday, 7:30 AM to 5 PM: Self Represented Litigants Network  (Preconference)

  • E-filing and online document assembly roundtable: Claudia Johnson

Wednesday, 12:45 to 2:15 PM: Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grantee Meeting Lunch

  • Lunchtime table talk: Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net

Thursday, 11:45 AM
LawHelp / probono.net / LawHelp Interactive Affinity Group Table
Art Institute of Chicago
Programs are invited to share project highlights and connect with others around the country working on LawHelp.org, probono.net and LHI online forms projects. Look for our table at the Art Institute of Chicago networking lunch! Contact Liz Keith at lkeith@probono.net with any questions.

Thursday, 1:45 PM:
The Bread and Butter Tools and Service All States’ Legal Delivery Systems Should Have to Increase Access to Justice

  • Terri Ross, Illinois Legal Aid Online
  • Angela Tripp, Michigan Legal Help
  • Niki del Mel,  Pro Bono Net
  • Claudia Johnson, Pro Bono Net

Thursday, 3:30 PM:
Civil Gideon in D.C. and San Francisco: Challenges, Solutions, and Looking Ahead

  • Lise Adams, DC Bar Pro Bono Center
  • Mike Grunenwald, Pro Bono Net
  • Mairi S. McKeever, Justice & Diversity Center, Pro Bono Legal Services Program, The Bar Association of San Francisco
  • John Pollack, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel

Friday, 10:15 AM:
50 Tech Tips

  •  David Bonebrake, Legal Services Corporation
  • Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net
  • Glenn Rawdon, Legal Services Corporation
  • Jane Ribadeneyra, Legal Services Corporation
  • Brian Rowe, Northwest Justice Project

###

About Pro Bono Net
Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, Pro Bono Net transforms the way legal help reaches the underserved. Comprehensive programs including www.probono.netwww.lawhelp.org and www.lawhelpinteractive.org, enable legal advocates to make a stronger impact, increase volunteer participation, and empower the public with resources and self-help tools to improve their lives.

About the Equal Justice Conference
NLADA & ABAThe Equal Justice Conference, hosted by the American Bar Association and NLADA, brings together all components of the legal community to discuss equal justice issues as they relate to the delivery of legal services to the poor and low-income individuals in need of legal assistance.

The emphasis of this Conference is on strengthening partnerships among the key players in the civil justice system. Through plenary sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and special programming, the Conference provides a wide range of learning and sharing experiences for all attendees.

Originally Published as a Press Release

Tune in tomorrow for the Georgetown Iron Tech Lawyer Competition

Posted in Announcements, Conferences, Staff News, Technology

Iron Tech lawyer
Tomorrow, students from Georgetown Law compete in the Iron Tech Lawyer Competition, made possible through the efforts of the Georgetown Law Center and Neota Logic.

The Iron Tech Lawyer competition asks students to design an application or a technology based system, such as a website, to solve a legal problem. These designs are then judged by a panel of experts in the technology and legal fields.

View the Live Stream, or RSVP to attend the event in person!

Date: April 27, 2016, 1:00-3:30 PM | Location: Gewirz 12, Georgetown Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20001 | Reception to follow.

Please RSVP by completing the form hereAttendance is free.

Iron Tech Lawyer is a competition held at Georgetown Law, at which student teams present apps built in our Technology, Innovation, and Law Practice course. Students appear before a panel of judges and compete for prizes in Excellence in Design, and Iron Tech Lawyer, all-around best app.

Judges

  • Dean Garfield, President and CEO, The Information Technology Industry Council
  • Paul Ohm, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center
  • James Sandman, President of Legal Services Corporation

The competition will be streamed live at www.irontechlawyer.com.


NeotaLogic

Neota Logic makes available its platforms to Georgetown Law Center under an educational license and provides generous support for this event.

 

National Reentry Week 2016: LawHelp Interactive online forms help people apply for expungement

Posted in Announcements, Legal Services, Resources, Staff News, Technology

LHI logoThis week has been designated National Reentry Week by the US Department of Justice. Those who have served their time and paid their debt to society, are at a disadvantage when reentering into the main stream. Pro Bono Net’s LawHelp Interactive provides access to online forms for those who qualify for expungement.

One of the ways previously incarcerated persons can minimize the complications and long term negative effects of serving time is to have their record expunged. Depending on the type of record and history, there might be an opportunity to erase or remove that record. Once the record is “expunged” then opportunities for housing, employment, and economic participation in their communities can become a reality.

In the first 90 days of 2016, 6,822 people used online interviews powered by LawHelp Interactive to learn about expungement in their states, and 2,331 documents were created for submission to the courts. These expungement tools are available online in the states of Washington, Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana.

Getting an arrest or criminal record expunged is not an easy process, and the person has to meet very specific conditions. Sometimes the process requires them not only to obtain state criminal records, but also FBI criminal records, as well as letters of support and recommendation. Completing the process is difficult, confusing and frustrating, given the lack of resources out there and the steep requirements.

Not many legal aid groups provide these services due to lack of resources. Sometimes pro bono lawyers help with these cases, and sometimes the counties set up public defender offices or units to assist, but by and large, the screening process is nuanced and time consuming.

Various states are now making online forms and tools available to help people figure out if they might qualify for an expungement and prepare the petition, either on their own, or with the help of pro bono lawyers.

Legal aid groups and their partner nonprofits interested in making online forms and tools available to meet this crucial need, please contact Claudia Johnson at cjohnson@probono.net.

More Information:

In Washington state, Northwest Justice Project and TeamChild have a project that focuses specifically on juvenile expungement, that includes videos explaining expungement and the online forms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z5SYm26QJ4 and http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/issues/criminal/record-expungement-sealing-records.

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is piloting a new program to allow those interested in clearing their records to obtain advice and counsel from a pro bono lawyer, and have the pro bono lawyer provide the documents for the case, using a new capacity in LHI that promotes sharing on the back end, called LHI Connect. http://oklaw.org/issues/expungments

Illinois also makes juvenile expungement tools available online at http://www.Expunge.io.

Sample links to online form projects that are currently live include:

http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_Content&contentID=9313

http://www.kansaslegalservices.org/node/785/free-legal-forms

http://michiganlegalhelp.org/self-help-tools/expungement

http://oklaw.org/resource/expunging-a-criminal-record?ref=0nJK2

http://www.ohiolegalservices.org/public/legal_problem/reentry/expungement-eligibility-template/qandact_view

http://www.lawhelpmn.org/resource/eviction-expungement-do-it-yourself?ref=KwO4g

Microsoft partners with Legal Services Corporation and Pro Bono Net to create access to Justice Portal

Posted in Announcements, Legal Services, Pro Bono, Staff News, Technology

5710.Dave Heiner downloaded low red
Posted April 19, 2016 by Dave Heiner, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of the Regulatory Affairs team at Microsoft

Dave leads Microsoft’s Regulatory Affairs team, which is focused on privacy, accessibility, telecommunications and computer security policy and regulation worldwide. Dave joined Microsoft in 1994 and for many years oversaw its antitrust work. He is a 1982 graduate of Cornell University, where he received a B.A. in Physics, and a 1985 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. Following law school, Dave clerked for the Honorable Thomas P. Griesa of the U.S. District Court in New York.

Imagine you are single, with two kids, one in diapers. You have steady work, but after paying for commuting, child care, food and rent, there isn’t much left over.  You speak Spanish natively, and English well enough to get by. Things are going along pretty well until the heat fails, repeatedly, in your apartment.  When the landlord doesn’t fix it despite your complaints, you withhold rent, as you are legally entitled to do. Not long after that, you are served with an eviction notice.

Where do you turn?

You are not a lawyer, you don’t know any lawyers, and you certainly can’t afford to pay a lawyer.  You’ve heard you can “represent” yourself in court – but how?  You may be able to get help from a legal aid organization, but which one?  The legal aid “system,” such as it is, is de-centralized and fragmented, making it hard to know even where to begin, much less how to solve your problem.

Millions of people in America face challenges like this every year. For better or worse, we are a highly legalistic society, but not everyone has access to the justice system. That can render people powerless – people who need help with housing, employment, government benefits or protection from an abusive spouse. In an era of increasing concern about income inequality, this is a big problem: the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) – an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans – estimates that only about 20 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income people in the United States are adequately addressed.

Technology can help. The same tools that businesses and people are increasingly using to shop, learn and communicate can be deployed to address the access-to-justice gap. The technological building blocks are available – we just need to get to work building solutions to address access to justice.

That is why earlier today Microsoft joined with the LSC and Pro Bono Net in announcing the development of a prototype access to justice “portal.” Microsoft will provide funding of at least $1 million and project management expertise to build out this project.

Drawing on state-of-the-art cloud and Internet technologies, this portal will enable people to navigate the court system and legal aid resources, learn about their legal rights and prepare and file critical court documents in a way that is accessible, comprehensive and easy to navigate. The ultimate goal is to help people every step of the way toward addressing their legal problem.

This first-of-its-kind system will be accessible from any device, standards-compliant and connected to legal aid organizations through open software interfaces. Once the prototype is developed, we will post it in open source form to GitHub, one of the leading sites for open-source software development projects. That way, others can build upon it or build other, comparable systems.  Over time, we hope that every state will develop a portal solution to provide a modern, efficient way for everyone to access the court system and legal aid resources.  With recent advances in machine learning, we can even imagine that within the not-too-distant future systems such as these could enable people to speak naturally and receive help in a comfortable “chat” format tailored to their specific needs.

LSC developed the vision for this portal over the past few years, working with leaders from across the access to justice community.  The National Center for State Courts recently began fleshing out the technical requirements for such a portal.  Pro Bono Net, a national non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the access-to-justice gap through technology and collaboration, has agreed to help convene local partners and provide service design expertise to execute the pilot.  We couldn’t be happier to start working with all three of these organizations to implement LSC’s vision of access to justice for all.

In addition to his role at Microsoft, Heiner is also the chairman of the board of Pro Bono Net.

Read the Press Release

Read more about the collaboration from The American Lawyer, “Microsoft To Fund New Pilot Project To Improve Legal Aid

This post was originally published via The Official Microsoft Blog


LSC logoLegal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 134 independent non-profit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

Document Assembly: An Essential Building Block for the Access to Justice Ecosystem

Posted in Courts, Legal Services, Resources, Staff News, Technology

We are delighted to announce that Claudia Johnson, Pro Bono Net’s LawHelp Interactive Program Manager, was invited to author a guest article for the Self-Represented Litigation Network entitled “Document Assembly : An Essential Building Block for the Access to Justice Ecosystem.” In this piece she not only describes the innovation and extensive reach of LawHelp Interactive, but it’s incomparable impact on the end user community of pro se litigants. Below is a short blurb from the piece.

LawHelp Interactive increases opportunities for those without an attorney to achieve justice on their own by allowing pro se litigants to create their own complete, high quality legal documents and pleadings for free. LHI also promotes innovative models of pro bono, remote and unbundled legal assistance, and supports collaborations with community organizations and libraries.

LawHelp Interactive is a program of Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit leader in deploying technology and collaboration to increase access to justice, operated in partnership with Ohio State Legal Services Association. Together they have received generous support for this work from, among others, the Legal Services Corporation’s Technology Initiative Grants program, as well as significant software donations from the HotDocs Corporation. Through trainings, technical assistance and community networking, LHI helps local programs develop interactive forms and effectively integrate them with services to help hundreds of thousands of people each year prevent or address legal problems.”

To read the piece in its entirety, click here: http://www.srln.org/node/848


SRLNSelf-Represented Litigation Network (SRLN) is a network of innovative lawyers, judges, court staff, legal technologists, librarians and other allied professionals who believe everyone deserves access to justice. They are working to transform the American legal system so that every person who faces a civil legal issue can get the legal help they need, understand court proceedings and get a decision on the merits. They accomplish this by advancing innovative, evidence-based access-oriented solutions such as comprehensive court and legal aid self-help services, simplified court rules and procedure, and integrated systems that efficiently and effectively connect people who need lawyers to lawyers.

 

 

Pro Bono Net Salutes Volunteer Lawyers in Recognition of Volunteer Week 2016

Posted in Press Release


For Immediate Release

April 11, 2016
CONTACT: Karin Romans, Pro Bono Net
212-760-2554 x496 | kromans@probono.net

NEW YORK (April 11, 2016) – In honor of National Volunteer Week 2016, which takes place this week, April 10-16, Pro Bono Net would like to recognize the thousands of volunteer lawyers who make a huge difference for those in need.

As the number of people living in poverty has risen, so has the need for legal services that allow Americans to fully participate in society without falling prey to the loss of their housing, income or even their children.  According to the Legal Services Corporation, 63 million Americans qualify for civil legal aid, yet studies have shown that only 20% of the civil legal needs of the poor are being met.  Pro bono attorneys are often the only source of hope for those who can’t afford to hire a lawyer.

Pro Bono Net is a leader in innovative programs that increase access to justice. We currently have more than 100,000 members who are committed to public service.  National Volunteer Week 2016 provides an opportunity to recognize them for their efforts.

Pro Bono Net’s online platform, at www.probono.net, makes it easy for attorneys to get involved in pro bono work, saving them time and connecting them with opportunities and substantive practice resources such as training videos, practice manuals and sample documents. Volunteer lawyers can connect to opportunities through the National Pro Bono Opportunities Guide, which was co-developed with the American Bar Association Center for Pro Bono. Special, issue-specific opportunities are also available through The National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory, the Immigration Advocates Network and DisasterLegalAid.org.

Pro Bono Net also developed and maintains LawHelp.org, a public legal information portal with state-based legal referrals, know-your-rights information and a variety of self-help tools, and LawHelp Interactive (LawHelpInteractive.org), which is used by legal aid advocates, pro bono attorneys, and individuals representing themselves to prepare legal forms and documents Pro Bono Net works in partnership with more than 200 legal services organizations around the country.

Sponsored by Points of Light, National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each subsequent year, with literally thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.

Volunteer ToolsVisit our Volunteer Tools page to learn more about the range of online resources available at probono.net to help mobilize and engage pro bono volunteers. Legal professionals wishing to get involved can join Pro Bono Net by signing up at www.probono.net. Attorneys can also search for volunteer opportunities atwww.probono.net/volunteer.

# # #

About Pro Bono Net

Pro Bono Net is a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to justice for the disadvantaged. Through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks, Pro Bono Net transforms the way legal help reaches the underserved. Comprehensive programs includingwww.probono.net, www.lawhelp.org and www.lawhelpinteractive.org, enable legal advocates to make a stronger impact, increase volunteer participation, and empower the public with resources and self-help tools to improve their lives.


Read More Press Releases HERE

The Coming of Age of Non-profit Tech

Posted in Conferences, Resources, Staff News, Technology

16-ntc-finalThis March, I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in San Jose. It was my fourth NTC – I attended ’12 in San Francisco, ’13 in Minneapolis, and ’15 online.

This year, I attended sessions on community engagement, technology project management, and systems design, and arranged a small (but mighty!) dinner for legal techies.

Between the plenary sessions, breakout sessions, and network discussions, it was a wonderful opportunity to get together with others facing analogous challenges, successes, and  goals in the non-profit technology space. Upon reflection of my previous experiences at NTC, I was particularly impressed by two things at this year’s conference:

1) The level of sophistication and creativity with which non-profits with limited resources are approaching technology projects

Sessions this year went beyond introducing tools and general approaches/best practices, into in-depth into case studies of non-profit technology projects.  It’s no longer just about learning about the latest technology trends. It’s about sharing with each other how we are implementing A/B testing, tag managers, change management plans and more. It’s about putting our heads together to come up with creative solutions to common challenges in the non-profit sector.

2) The level of sophistication and nuance with which non-profits approach technology and technology projects, more broadly speaking

Working with technology, it can be easy to get lost in the tools and to treat technology development as the end goal. Many of the plenary speakers this year, however, refocused on how technology is shaped and amplified by the forces and values that develop and utilize them. In other words, if you are part of a community that is centered on access to justice, serving the underprivileged, environmental conservation, etc. –  your technology work will reflect this. With mission-driven ethos, nonprofits can be influencers in how we conceptualize and engage with technology.

Perhaps this experience is just a proxy for the shift of my own thinking on non-profit technology development, innovation and engagement. I often hear about how we have so much to learn from other industries, but I’m beginning to think – maybe it’s the other way around?


The Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) is the nonprofit sector’s signature technology event. They assemble over 2,000 of the best and brightest nonprofit professionals from around the world. Together, they collaborate, innovate, and discover new ways to spark change with technology. The NTC is produced by NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, the membership organization of nonprofit technology professionals.