The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) released its TIG Letter of Intent (LOI) invitations last week. This year the priorities are very focused and closely aligned with the Technology Summit Report of 2013.
This year the total amount of funds available to Legal Services grantees is $3.45 Million. There are two main categories: 1) innovation and improvements, which allow grantees to invest in creating new technology or enhancing existing technology projects and 2) replication projects, which could be used to replicate priorly funded projects, or replicate document assembly projects. LSC highlights multiple areas of interest, including:
- Online forms
- Mobile technologies
- Check list and expert systems
- Work flow process analysis
- Tech tools for Federal areas of legal work
LSC encourages collaborations between groups serving overlapping communities in the legal services delivery system—so if you are not an LSC grantee, you could partner with an LSC grantee and work together on an LOI. The replication category is pretty broad—and it includes projects such as developing e-filing integrations with friendly e-filing forms, integration between online forms and legal nonprofit case management systems, and multiple video tutorials including multilingual projects in past years (a growing area of need for both courts and legal aid groups).
It also includes multiple enhancements to information seeker online portals, including creating mini-portals off existing LSC funded statewide websites (visit LawHelp to find each state’s website) to push out information relevant to high volume legal programs in substantive areas of priority, such as foreclosure, divorce, and consumer law.
Here is an example of a mini-portal on divorce from Virginia and one on foreclosure from Georgia. Another example in the area of child support (not funded with TIG funds but Title IV D, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) funds) includes a broad range of technology tools, including website, videos, and forms from South Carolina could also be replicated.
It is time to put on the thinking cap—and come up with projects and models that leverage the investments. This is a chance to look at the “bread and butter” building blocks of access to justice technology and think creatively about expanding them and or/moving them into the LSC’s areas of interest. This Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project (LSNTAP) webinar is a good overview of technology in the access to justice space for anyone looking to understand where the field is and what is new and up and coming.
If any of the readers of this blog wants to pursue projects that include online forms/checklists/or federal areas of law, please email me at email@example.com and/or Mirenda Watkins at firstname.lastname@example.org, and for those of you who want to pursue expert systems projects, or attorney and statewide information and referral websites and mini portals, please email Liz Keith at email@example.com.
Court-related readers should consider some of these ideas also for the SJI funding stream for courts, which is still accepting applications for 2014 with deadlines coming in May 1st, and then August 1st, 2014. The priority areas for SJI include:
- Self-Represented Litigation.
- Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
- Reengineering in Response to Budget Reductions
- Remote Technology – e.g., innovative use of technology to improve the business operations of courts and provide enhanced services outside the courtroom (videoconferencing, online access, educational services, remote court proceedings, the electronic record, centralization/regionalization of court services, etc.).
- Human Trafficking and the State Courts
- Immigration Issues in the State Courts
- Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Elder Issues
The deadline for the LSC grants is coming soon—3/17/2014 and there is a call on 2/27 to find out more about the application process. More information on the SJI grants is available on the State Justice Initiative website. The next deadline is in August.