April 2016

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.

 

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

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.

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.

 

 


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

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.