There is an online form available from the New York Courts which allows adults to change their name in the State of New York. The form can be used statewide and it is one of the most popular online forms in the United States, hosted by Pro Bono Net’s LawHelp Interactive. From just October to December 2016, the form was created almost 15,000 times.

Online Form Name ChangeLegal Name Changes via Online Form

Transcend Legal, https://transcendlegal.org/ – a new nonprofit that serves the needs of the trans community in NY state – reached to Claudia Johnson, Pro Bono Net’s LawHelp Interactive Program Manager, in late 2016 to find out more about the online form. The form is created and hosted by the NY Courts Access to Justice Program, and is accessible here: http://nycourts.gov/courthelp/Namechange/forms.shtml

The ability to change their legal name is an important right for transgender persons. Having a name that matches their gender identity can minimize discrimination, increase their personal safety, and make it easier to obtain and maintain employment. However, the ease of changing names can vary, affecting a great many transgender individuals.

With this in mind, Claudia connected Noah Lewis, and Charlie Arrowroot (Transcend Legal) and Milo Primeaux (Empire Justice Center) with Rochelle Klempner, Chief Counsel at the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program. A discussion ensued about the practice of some New York counties adding hoops for the applicants in addition to submitting the printed form. These hoops often require waiting periods, multiple court visits, and additional costs. The New York Access to Justice Program contacted the local courts to inquire about those additional requirements that were creating a hardship for filing pro se in those counties.

A Successful Outcome

By early February 2017, the local requirements and hurdles were removed, and the form can now be filed in all counties in NY State as is, without extra requirements. This is an important victory for the transgender community in New York and is one step further down the road of increasing access to justice for transgender and non-binary individuals.

In addition to developing innovative technologies, Pro Bono Net specializes in connecting members of the civil legal community to facilitate increased access to justice. In NY, the partnership between the New York Courts and Pro Bono Net allowed Transcend Legal and Empire Justice Center to bring the legal needs of the transgender community directly to those who could help make changes. The simplification of the process that makes it easier for adults to change their identity documents allows more people to live safely in the state of NY.

Looking to the Future

Transcend Legal, Empire Justice Center, and the New York Courts Access to Justice Program are now exploring further simplification opportunities to remove access to justice barriers to adult name changes and other forms. They will explore remote work flows and further clarifications on the instructions for those who use the form to change their name in months to come. Collaborations of this kind are crucial in ensuring that the justice system runs smoothly and is accessible to those who cannot afford an attorney.


Transcend LegalTranscend Legal cultivates equitable social, medical and legal recognition of transgender people by offering culturally competent, transgender-led legal representation, public policy advocacy, community education & organizing, and public education.

 

Empire Justice is a statewide, multi-issue, multi-strategy public interest law firm focused on changing the “systems” within which poor and low income families live. With a focus on poverty law, Empire Justice undertakes research and training, acts as an informational clearinghouse, and provides litigation backup to local legal services programs and community based organizations.  As an advocacy organization, we engage in legislative and administrative advocacy on behalf of those impacted by poverty and discrimination.  As a non-profit law firm, we provide legal assistance to those in need and undertake impact litigation in order to protect and defend the rights of disenfranchised New Yorkers.

 

NYCourts ATJ ProgramThe NYS Courts Access to Justice Program is one of the Unified Court System’s many programs and initiatives which strive to increase access, improve the delivery of justice and promote public confidence in the courts. Prior to March 2009, the responsibilities of the NYS Courts Access to Justice Program were overseen by the former Office of the Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives.

 

2017 TIG ConferenceThe 2017 Technology Initiative Grants Conference (TIG) kicks off on Wednesday in San Antonio, Texas. The TIG Conference brings together technologists, legal aid staff, courts, funders and others to explore innovative ways of using technology to promote full access to legal assistance for low-income individuals.  

Pro Bono Net will be well-represented again this year, with a cadre of our program and technology staff in attendance. We’re also presenting in workshops covering topics such as strategies to grow adoption of online forms among advocates, technology to build partnerships with non-traditional justice actors, and expanding assistance through remote services. An affinity session on Thursday will highlight the Statewide Justice Portal Initiative collaboration between the Legal Services Corporation, Microsoft and Pro Bono Net, including the RFP for pilot jurisdictions.

On Friday we’ll be convening our statewide website partners for a networking session to share recent network highlights and updates on major initiatives such as the probono.net template redesign rolling out this year.

Just prior to TIG, we’re hosting a two-day training in San Antonio for legal aid, court and other staff on how to how to author interactive court forms and legal documents for LawHelp Interactive. The training is featuring instructors from Capstone Practice Systems, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), and Pro Bono Net.

Below is a schedule of panels and sessions with Pro Bono Net staff for the TIG conference:


Wednesday, 3:30pm

Preventative Law: Using Storytelling to Engage Clients Early

  • Lisa Gavin, Iowa Legal Aid
  • Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net
  • Quisquella Addison, Pro Bono Net
  • Adam Stofsky, Briefly

Thursday, 8:30am
All Aboard with Online Forms: Getting Support from Program Leadership and Adoption by Attorneys

  • Joshua Goodwin, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services
  • Richard Granat, DirectLaw
  • Claudia Johnson, Pro Bono Net
  • Marc Lauritsen, Capstone Practice Systems

Thursday, 10am
High Touch, High Tech: Innovative Non-Attorney and Non-Traditional Justice Partnerships Using Technology

  • Dianne Woodburn, JASA
  • Rochelle Klempner, New York Courts Access to Justice Program
  • Mirenda Meghelli, Pro Bono Net
  • Renee Schomp, One Justice

Thursday, 2:25pm
Using Data to Improve your Projects

  • Haydee Alfonso, Bay Area Legal Aid
  • Claudia Johnson, Pro Bono Net
  • Mary Kaczorek, Legal Services State Support
  • Jenny Singleton, Legal Services State support

Statewide Justice Portal Initiative Discussion and Technology’s Role in 100% Access Efforts (Affinity Session)

  • Lucy Bassli, Microsoft
  • Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net
  • Glenn Rawdon, LSC

Friday, 8am
LawHelp / probono.net Networking Session: What’s New and What’s Next for 2017

  • Quisquella Addison, Pro Bono Net
  • Mike Grunenwald, Pro Bono Net
  • Sam Halpert, Pro Bono Net
  • Barbara Siegel, Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association
  • Mary Kaczorek, Legal Services State Support

Friday, 10am
Closing the Gap: Remote Service Delivery in Action!

  • Mike Grunenwald, Pro Bono Net
  • Melody Harkness, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
  • Lillian Moy,  Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York
  • Anna Steele, Legal Assistance of Western New York

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association‘s 2016 Annual Conference starts today and Pro Bono Net is participating! The NLADA’s annual training conference provides the opportunity for those in the civil legal aid, indigent defense, and public interest law communities to exchange ideas and further develop their professional skills. Mark O’Brien, Sam Halpert and Mike Grunenwald will be representing Pro Bono Net at this year’s conference. Keep reading to learn more about Pro Bono Net’s participation.

Statewide Justice Portal Initiative Update and Technology’s Role in 100% Access Efforts

Thursday, 4:15 – 5:45 pm
Speakers: Glen Rawdon, Legal Services Corporation; Lucy Bassli, Microsoft; and Mark O’Brien, Pro Bono Net

In April, the Legal Services Corporation, Microsoft, and Pro Bono Net announced a new partnership to develop up to two statewide “justice portal” pilots to designed to help ensure that all people with civil legal needs can navigate their options at each step of the process and more easily access solutions and services available from legal aid, the courts, the private bar and community partners. The technical approach will use open standards and be open sourced to facilitate replication and contributions by other technology partners in the future. This workshop will provide an update on the project thus far, the conceptual vision for the portal and the selection process for pilot jurisdictions. We will also discuss how both existing and new technology initiatives can support the 100 percent access vision and strengthen the work of state justice communities working toward it.

 

Turning Data into Intelligence: Using the Data Our Programs Produce to Improve Services and Generate More Dollars

Friday, 2:30 – 4 pm
Speakers: Ken Smith, The Resource for Great Programs; Alex Gulotta, Bay Area Legal Aid; and Sam Halpert, Pro Bono Net

Every day, our programs generate a wealth of data such as intake statistics, case outcomes data, client demographics, and on-line form user statistics. Ken Smith, President of The Resource for Great Programs, will be conducting the workshop session on this topic, joined by co-presenters Alex Gulotta, Executive Director of Bay Area Legal Aid (and chairperson of NLADA’s board) and Sam Halpert, LawHelp Program Coordinator at Pro Bono Net. This session will show three examples to demonstrate to participants how their programs can turn raw data into strategic intelligence for use in program improvement and fundraising.

 

Smart Advocates Use Smart Forms: Better Advocacy through Document Automation

Saturday, 10:30 am – noon
Speakers: Josh Goodwin, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services; Mark Lauritsen, Capstone Practice Systems; Gelnn Rawdon, Legal Services Corporation

More than 40 states have forms on Pro Bono Net’s Law Help Interactive (LHI), the national automated document server. But most of those forms are targeted for client self-help, not for advocates. Document automation has been around for more than 30 years, and yet most legal services advocates are still drafting pleadings by using search and replace or cut and paste. Evaluations of LSC TIG projects have shown that advocates can reduce the time it takes to prepare forms for their cases by more than 30 percent by using automated forms for the most common practice areas. Not only that, having automated forms ensures that changes in the law are immediately reflected in the forms of every advocate. These same forms can be provided to pro bono attorneys so that they can be more comfortable representing clients outside their usual areas of practice. This session will help you develop a strategy for introducing or expanding automated forms to support the work of the advocates and pro bono attorneys for your program.

There are several other workshops of interest to legal aid and pro bono technology initiatives listed in the full agenda: http://www.nlada.org/2016AnnualConference

 


NLADANLADA is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. Their Annual Conference is the leading national training event of the year for the civil legal aid, indigent defense, and public interest law communities. The conference offers advocates the substantive information and professional skills they need to respond to the legal needs of low-income people, provides unparalleled opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues from across the country, and helps fulfill continuing legal education requirements.

The Immigration Advocates Network Fifth Annual E-Conference FundraiserThe Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is excited to announce its fifth annual e-conference fundraiser, “Cutting Edge Issues in Immigration Law,” from October 31 to November 4, 2016. Join us for a week-long series of interactive online trainings with national experts on representing children, administrative advocacy, entry & admission, U visas, and provisional waivers. We explore the issues through the lens of current events and the latest legal developments.

IAN offers free webinars throughout the year for pro bono lawyers and nonprofit staff.  However, once a year, IAN hosts an e-Conference Fundraiser, and offers these webinars for a small fee. The e-Conference raises money to support the free online training materials for advocates who represent noncitizens in claims for asylum, changes in immigration status, naturalization and more. Resources include training materials, practice advisories, sample applications and affidavits, government-issued policy memoranda, significant case law, related articles, checklists and links to additional resources.

Join the e-Conference to support IAN and learn about the latest issues and strategies in immigration law.

E-Conference Features 

  • Listen to nationally-recognized experts from the comfort of your own office;
  • Participate in “ask the expert” sessions during each interactive training;
  • Access presentations and handouts before the training session;
  • Take interactive quizzes and polls before and during conference sessions; and
  • Obtain exclusive access to recorded trainings after the conference.

Register

The cost of each two-hour training session is $25. Your support helps IAN offer free trainings and resources throughout the year. For more information and to register, visit https://www.immigrationadvocates.org/econference.


Conference Sessions 

Representing Children in Removal Proceedings
Monday, October 31
This training will discuss legal protections for children in removal proceedings and steps to take if the government breaks those rules. The panel will focus on practice strategies for advocates.

Elevating the Case: Strategies for Helping Clients with USCIS Issues
Tuesday, November 1
This training will cover common issues with DACA and other cases such as processing delays, rejections, requests for evidence, correcting typographical mistakes and agency error. The panel will discuss points of access within USCIS, and how to engage the Ombudsman’s office.

How Entry, Admission, and Parole Affect Your Client’s Case
Wednesday, November 2
This training will review legal concepts of entry, admission, and parole into the United States. The panel will also discuss the practical effects of what happened at the point of entry on a client’s case.

Enhance Your U Visa Practice
Thursday, November 3
This interactive training is a U visa case strategy session, to troubleshoot common U visa issues, including how to frame qualifying crimes, complex inadmissibility issues, and more. Participants are invited to submit U visa scenarios on the registration form so that the webinar can discuss the issues they face in practice.

The Expanded Provisional Waiver Program
Friday, November 4
The panel will explain eligibility for the expanded program, including tips on completing the new I-601A. It will also cover the extreme hardship standard based on draft or finalized agency guidance.

If you are unable to attend a session, but would like to donate to support the Immigration Advocates Network, click here.

 


The Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is a collaborative effort of leading immigrants’ rights organizations designed to increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them. IAN promotes more effective and efficient communication, collaboration, and services among immigration advocates and organizations by providing free, easily accessible and comprehensive online resources and tools.


Jillian

Jillian Theil is the Pro Bono Net Training and Field Support Coordinator and has been with Pro Bono Net since 2011. She manages the LSNTAP/PBN Community Training series. Stay tuned for more LSNTAP blogs this summer!

 

 

Pro Bono Net and LSNTAP kicked off their 2016 LSNTAP Community Training series with the recurring favorite, “50 Tech Tips.” The training featured 50 tech tips for project management, collaboration, communication and more, along with a segment on “homegrown” tools and resources developed by and for the legal aid community. We had great engagement from the audience and some wonderful tech tips shared by the crowd, too!

Jenny Singleton of Minnesota Legal Services State Support kicked things off by highlighting some great tech tips for the legal aid community. Some of these included Grammarly, a free tool to help improve written communication by eliminating errors and enhancing clarity and meaning.

Wilneida Negron of the Florida Justice Technology Center covered a number of great security, accessibility and Google Drive tips, including HTTPS Everywhere and SocioViz.

Afterwards, Reece Flexner of the DC Bar presented some general best practice tips for working with technology, including making sure to draw up business requirements and tools for creating minimum viable products for stakeholder feedback.

Samantha Krykostas of Illinois Legal Aid Online also discussed some tools her organization has been using in the revamp of their website. Tips included the New Relic Website Performance tool and GeniusScan, an app to scan written notes.

Rounding out the tech tips was my presentation on great homegrown tech tools the legal aid tech community has created, including WriteClearly.org, a great plain language tool and LSNTAP.org’s Survey Bank. I also spoke about some great RSS tools to help legal techies stay on top of the latest information in our field.

To view the other tips mentioned on this webinar, be sure to check out materials available on the SWEB Support Site and join us for the next LSNTAP/PBN webinar, “From Investment to Impact: Recent Outcomes Evaluations of Legal Aid Tech Projects.”


 

LSNTAP helps nonprofit legal aid programs improve client services through effective and innovative use of technology. To do this, we provide technology training, maintain information, create online tools, and host community forums such as the LStech email list. Read about us, or contact us at info@lsntap.org for more information.

Statue of Liberty

This weekend as we celebrate our Independence Day, we should remember that our country was founded on the principles of freedom and justice. However, for millions of Americans access to justice is still beyond reach. Pro Bono Net seeks to increase access to justice through innovative technology solutions and expertise in building and mobilizing justice networks.

This May, the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice at New York University School of Law held its fifth annual Law School Access to Justice Conference. This year the conference focused on the role of New York’s law schools in helping meet the essential civil legal needs of low-income New Yorkers. Michelle Born, LiveHelp Coordinator for LawHelp NY, attended for the first time this year and discusses her experience below.

Access to Justice Conference, NYU 2016As I sat in the auditorium full of law school administrators and legal service providers at my first Annual Law School Access to Justice Conference, I anticipated a long day of theoretical discussions about diversifying the profession and getting law schools more involved in access to justice initiatives in New York State. Imagine my interest and surprise when the first panel of the morning, comprised exclusively of women in leadership roles in academia, government, legal services, and the judiciary,[1] quickly turned to issues of implicit bias among judges and stereotype threat in classrooms.

Questions of racism, sexism, heterosexism and transphobia undergirded the discussion, even as the panel tackled such academic questions as how to preserve students’ interest in impact litigation amid the lure of the more immediate results of what is oft-termed rebellious lawyering.  (In response, panelist Suzanne Goldberg challenged the dichotomy, believing that these two approaches to social change are not mutually exclusive and that the interplay of the two are, in fact, the hallmark of most social movements.)

As we moved from the morning panel into working groups, we homed in on the more pragmatic questions of how to efficiently deliver legal services to underserved and difficult to reach populations, and how to best engage students in narrowing the justice gap.

Pro Bono Net’s work was prominently featured in several arenas.  In the small working group focusing on New Models for Cost Effective Legal Service Delivery, Leah Margulies of LawHelpNY/PBN highlighted as examples of such models three exciting ProBonoNet initiatives: LiveHelp chat service of LawHelpNY, the DEN (Debt and Eviction Navigator) application, and Closing the Gap.  Participating in the working group on Non-Lawyers Working to Help Narrow the Justice Gap, Niki De Mel, Pro Bono and Special Initiatives Coordinator for Pro Bono Net, and Michelle had occasion to discuss LiveHelp, DEN and other PBN initiatives while emphasizing the appropriate use of technology and non-lawyers in increasing access to justice, not replacing traditional legal services. To wrap up the day, ProBonoNet’s technical design work was on display as attendees were offered a preview of the online Handbook of Best Practices for Supervising Law Student Pro Bono Work.

As a newbee to the conference and the LawHelpNY/PBN team, I was energized by the dedication of the practitioners whose work we strive to support and the academics whose students we have the privilege to engage.

Michelle joined LawHelp as the LiveHelp Coordinator in September 2015.  She worked as an Immigration Attorney at The Bronx Defenders after receiving her J.D. from CUNY School of Law. Before law school Michelle worked in Arica, Chile as a social worker with Jesuit Volunteers International, and in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina as an International Development Fellow with Catholic Relief Services. Michelle also worked in grant-writing for Human Rights Watch and recruitment for Maryknoll Lay Missioners. Michelle holds a Master’s degree in International Development from Fordham University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from St. Louis University. 

 


[1] The panel was composed of the following women:

Deborah N. Archer, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion & Professor of Law; Co-Director, Impact Center for Public Interest Law; Director, Racial Justice Project, New York Law School

Jennifer Ching, Project Director, Queens Legal Services, Legal Services NYC

Hon. Fern Fisher, Director, New York State Courts Access to Justice Programs; Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City Courts

Suzanne B. Goldberg, Executive Vice President for University Life; Herbert and Doris Wechsler Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Columbia Law School

Maya Wiley, Counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, City of New York

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Equal Justice ConferenceFor Immediate Release
May 9, 2016
CONTACT: Jax Gitzes, Pro Bono Net
212-760-2554 x462 | jgitzes@probono.net

Strengthening Partnerships among Key Players in the Civil Justice System

At the 2016 Equal Justice Conference (EJC) this week, several Pro Bono Net staff members will be presenting at multiple sessions on a variety of equal justice issues. The Conference takes place May 11-14th in Chicago and is hosted by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.

Pro Bono Net is a national nonprofit leader in increasing access to justice through innovative uses of technology and collaboration. Pro Bono Net’s staff is made up of a cross-disciplinary team from legal, technology, and community engagement backgrounds who are committed to finding innovative, sustainable solutions for expanding access to justice.

The Equal Justice Conference brings together all components of the legal community to discuss equal justice issues as they relate to the delivery of legal services to the poor. Pro Bono Net will present on a wide range of topics, including innovative uses of online document assembly and technology to expand pro bono participation.

Staff attending the conference includes Liz Keith, Program Director; Claudia Johnson, LawHelp Interactive Program Coordinator; Mike Grunenwald, Program Coordinator; Niki De Mel, Pro Bono and Special Initiatives Coordinator; and Jessica Stuart, Pro Bono Manager Product Manager.

Pro Bono Net staff are participating in the following pre-conference activities and conference workshops. For more details on each workshop, please visit the EJC website here.

Wednesday, 7:30 AM to 5 PM: Self Represented Litigants Network  (Preconference)

  • E-filing and online document assembly roundtable: Claudia Johnson

Wednesday, 12:45 to 2:15 PM: Pro Bono Innovation Fund Grantee Meeting Lunch

  • Lunchtime table talk: Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net

Thursday, 11:45 AM
LawHelp / probono.net / LawHelp Interactive Affinity Group Table
Art Institute of Chicago
Programs are invited to share project highlights and connect with others around the country working on LawHelp.org, probono.net and LHI online forms projects. Look for our table at the Art Institute of Chicago networking lunch! Contact Liz Keith at lkeith@probono.net with any questions.

Thursday, 1:45 PM:
The Bread and Butter Tools and Service All States’ Legal Delivery Systems Should Have to Increase Access to Justice

  • Terri Ross, Illinois Legal Aid Online
  • Angela Tripp, Michigan Legal Help
  • Niki del Mel,  Pro Bono Net
  • Claudia Johnson, Pro Bono Net

Thursday, 3:30 PM:
Civil Gideon in D.C. and San Francisco: Challenges, Solutions, and Looking Ahead

  • Lise Adams, DC Bar Pro Bono Center
  • Mike Grunenwald, Pro Bono Net
  • Mairi S. McKeever, Justice & Diversity Center, Pro Bono Legal Services Program, The Bar Association of San Francisco
  • John Pollack, National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel

Friday, 10:15 AM:
50 Tech Tips

  •  David Bonebrake, Legal Services Corporation
  • Liz Keith, Pro Bono Net
  • Glenn Rawdon, Legal Services Corporation
  • Jane Ribadeneyra, Legal Services Corporation
  • Brian Rowe, Northwest Justice Project

###

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 including www.probono.netwww.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.

About the Equal Justice Conference
NLADA & ABAThe Equal Justice Conference, hosted by the American Bar Association and NLADA, brings together all components of the legal community to discuss equal justice issues as they relate to the delivery of legal services to the poor and low-income individuals in need of legal assistance.

The emphasis of this Conference is on strengthening partnerships among the key players in the civil justice system. Through plenary sessions, workshops, networking opportunities and special programming, the Conference provides a wide range of learning and sharing experiences for all attendees.

Originally Published as a Press Release

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