June 2016

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!

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.