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Connecting Justice Communities

The Joi of Growth: LawHelp Interactive’s Past, Present, and Plans for the New Year

Posted in Conferences, Courts, Legal Services, Technology

Last summer, I attended a 1st birthday party for a close friend’s daughter named Joi. I remembered visiting my friend and baby Joi in the hospital a few days after Joi was born. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to watch Joi grow and am reminded of the importance of taking a moment to recognize the beauty of growth in various aspects of our lives.  Last summer, I also started working at Pro Bono Net within the LawHelp Interactive Program (LHI). LHI works with state legal aid and court partners to allow low-income people without access to a lawyer to prepare their own legal forms online for free. In 2006, LHI users assembled 47,429 legal forms through LHI. By the summer of 2012, LawHelp Interactive reported that over 1.1 million legal forms and other documents were generated and that over 1.9 million interviews were served. These numbers show, in part, LHI’s growth over the years.

Last month, I visited our New York office to attend the LHI Tech Summit where LHI’s various partners and stakeholders met to discuss the technology goals for LHI in the new year. In attendance were folks like Marc Lauritsen of Capstone Practice Systems and Chris Crownhart of Kaivo who were involved at the early stages of LHI and have seen its progress. Newbies also came to the tech summit like Greg Tenzer who will play a central role in rebuilding the technical infrastructure of LHI beginning this year. We were also honored to have John Mayer of Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) join us shortly after receiving a 2012 ‘LTN’ Innovation Award.

LHI Program Manager Claudia Johnson started things off with a presentation on LHI from a program perspective. This included sharing about the growing international community using the program. For example, there were 4,192 LHI website visits from Canada, 479 from the UK, 235 from India, and 244 site visits from Guam. There’s also been growth in usage in states where there have been LHI projects as early as 2005. This include California, Georgia, and Illinois.

The tech summit continued with presentations from LHI’s tech team and partners. It was a fantastic group of individuals who shared thoughtful and interesting ideas about how to move LHI forward. I left the tech summit energized after learning about where LHI is headed and the technical improvements and innovations that will support the growing community of LHI users and partners. I am also inspired by how LHI has grown.

Also during my visit to NYC, I was able to spend some quality time with Joi who is now walking and dancing. She is saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

A little woman after my own heart!