At the beginning of February, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP hosted the 2014 LawHelp Interactive Technology Summit in their New York office. The summit was organized with generous support from the Legal Services Corporation.

The 2014 LHI Tech Summit was yet another success!

As always, the summit is a wonderful opportunity to catch up with our partners [i] to discuss LHI’s 2014 objectives and sync up for the year ahead. We covered many topics at the summit beginning with a review of LHI’s accomplishments and lessons learned in 2013, a look at the technical roadmap for the year ahead, and a discussion of the long-term vision for LHI.

Here are some highlights from the day: 

  • LHI’s Accomplishments in 2013: Last year was an exciting year for LHI. It included e-filing pilots launching in New York and Minnesota, the completion of an in-house LHI reporting infrastructure, and the soft launch of LawHelp Interactive widgets. There were over 4,000 interviews and templates hosted by LHI covering a wide range of legal needs and the number of LHI interviews and documents assembled through LHI both grew 14% when compared to 2012. At the summit we discussed how to leverage the work and lessons learned in 2013 as we move forward with the technical roadmap for the current year.
  • The Technical Roadmap for 2014: One of the biggest projects for LHI in 2014 will be the rebuild of its technical infrastructure. LHI, in partnership with Blue Ridge Legal Services, will be rebuilding to make the system more reliable and scalable as well as to allow for easier integration with case management and e-filing systems in courts nationwide. Along with the rebuild, LHI will be completing the full rollout of its widgets project, upgrading the system to interface with HotDocs 11, implementing A2J 5.0 into its platform, and working with partner organizations in Idaho and Oklahoma on projects applying innovative uses of LHI.
  • The Long-Term Vision for LHI: The summit discussions ended with a conversation facilitated by Marc Lauritsen of Capstone Practice Systems examining the long-term vision for LHI. Going forward, we hope to increase legal aid organizations’ use of LHI by demonstrating the long-term benefits of LHI adoption and continue to explore innovative ways to use LHI technology to meet the needs of our partners and low-income individuals who experience legal issues. We also discussed LSC’s “Report of The Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice,” which was released last December. The report discussed document assembly as a key component of its mission to “to explore the potential of technology to move the United States toward providing some form of effective assistance to 100% of persons otherwise unable to afford an attorney for dealing with essential civil legal needs.” It is our hope that the work LHI is completing this year and moving forward will be in line with this mission and, along with the work and collaboration of our partners, get us one step closer to closing the justice gap.

Pro Bono Net’s Ahuva Shabtai contributed to this report.

[i] Attendees included LSC, HotDocs Corporation, Capstone Practice Systems, Blue Ridge Legal Services, Southeast Ohio Legal Services, and the Pro Bono Net LHI team.