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This summer, I had the privilege to intern with the Self-Represented Litigation Network, a Washington, D.C. based non-profit comprised of lawyers, judges, and allied professionals. Together, they are “creating innovative and evidence-based solutions, so that self-represented litigants have meaningful access to the courts and get the legal help they need”. Continue Reading A Bold Vision for Legal Innovation: The ATJ Tech Fellows Program

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“Law is too important to be left to lawyers alone.”  Eddie Hartman, Cofounder of LegalZoom stated this past weekend at Stanford CodeX Future Law Conference as he made a compelling case for non-attonrey ownership for law firms in the U.S. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct 5.4 versions of which have been enacted in most states. Under these rules:

“Non-lawyers are prohibited from creating, owning or managing law firms, either alone or in partnership with lawyers. (Only the District of Columbia allows minority-nonlawyer ownership of U.S. law firms.)” Continue Reading A Compelling Argument for Non-Attorney Ownership of Law Firms

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Our civil justice system is facing a crisis. Millions of poor Americans have legal needs that go unmet. From domestic violence, unlawful evictions, to the loss of veterans’ health or disability benefits. Without the proper legal attention, these legal issues can have a downward spiraling effect, triggering even more legal issues. Many are left to navigate this complex legal terrain on their own, leaving them almost no chance to prevail and entrenched in poverty traps. The consequences of this bleak state has disproportionally devastated poor communities of color throughout major U.S cities.

Continue Reading Moving Beyond A Legal Solution: The Houston/Marshall Plan for Community Justice

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Great lawyers are master writers and communicators. Lawyers must translate thoughts and opinions into clear and precise English. Legal writing is a technical type of writing lawyers and others use to express legal analysis and legal rights and duties. Much of a lawyer’s role is writing legal documents, responses, briefs, letters and emails. Continue Reading Concision Course 101: Why Law Students Should Embrace WordRake!

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There’s no shortage of sitcoms and movies that fantasize the law school experience. While not as dramatic as sitcoms like “How to get away with Murder” portray, law school is time-consuming. From juggling class readings, journal obligations, student organizations, and internships. With so many moving pieces, it’s hard to ever feel a sense of control. The uneasy feeling of the next deadline is an all too common experience for many law students.

Continue Reading Life on the KanBan: What Law Students could learn from Agile Law Practice

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The Seattle Legal Innovation and Technology Meetup Group is delivering a terrific event for June. (Sound Immigration is the CLE sponsor). We’re talking hackers (the good kind), AI, design thinking for law, and Kanban. Plus, there’ll be adult beverages and networking afterward at Avvo’s new HQ in the area they like to call south-South Lake Union. Beyond the awesome topics, CLE credit (3 credits pending) will be available for attorneys but we promise it won’t be boring! CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

WHEN | Tuesday, June 7, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 7:30 PM (PDT) – Add to Calendar

WHERE | Avvo, Inc. – 720 Olive Way, Suite 1400, Seattle, 98101 – View Map

Continue Reading UPCOMING EVENT June 7th|The 21st Century Lawyer CLE

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There is much hype around artificial intelligence in the legal profession. AI, sometimes referred to as cognitive computing. Refers to computers learning how to complete tasks traditionally done by humans.

I got to see firsthand what all the fuss was about this past weekend. When I attended the CodeX Future Law Conference at Stanford Law School. The panel titled “Hot or Not- Watson and Beyond” moderated by Chicago-Kent Professor Dan Katz. Panelists included Noah Waisberg of Kira Systems; Khalid Al-Kofahi from Thomson Reuters; Charles Horowitz of The MITRE Corporation – Center for Judicial Informatics, Science, and Technology; Andrew Arruda of ROSS Intelligence; and Himabindu Lakkaraju of Stanford University.

Continue Reading Robot Lawyers: Kill Law Jobs or Augment Expertise?

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I recently sat down with Aurora Martin, executive director of Columbia Legal Services to have a conversation about technology and access to justice. The full conversation can found HERE. Thanks to the great folks at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law Clearinghouse Community.

Please also check out our upcoming Webinar “Hacking for Justice: Legal Aid and Tech Collaborations”  Join our Google Hangout for a conversation  Wednesday, May 18, 2016 1:00 to 1:30 pm Eastern/10:00 to 10:30 am Pacific Register now for this free event.

 

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Nearly ten years ago, leaders across the nation from legal services, legal education, and court administration assembled in Chicago for the Leadership Workshop on Access to Justice. The workshop hosted by Chicago-Kent College of Law and The Center for Computer-Aided Legal Instruction (CALI) set out to explore new and innovative ways to leverage law students and technology. In addressing the access to justice gap. The results and findings of the workshop that took place in 2006 can be found here. Richard Granat, Founder of DirectLaw and participant of the workshop stated:

By assembling student resources across law schools it is possible to create a national community of law student technologists who can relate to each other and support each other. This project would draw out those talented law student/programmers who see a way for them to make a public interest contribution as well as further their future careers.”

One of the proposed models at the workshop involved law students across the nation using A2J Author® to create guided interviews for legal aid organizations. A guided interview refers to an online program that gathers user information. Most often this information is used to populate web-based court documents used by self-represented litigants.

This model has been successfully implemented over the years at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where their A2J Author Student Editorial Board works in collaboration with Illinois Legal Aid Online and other participating legal service providers to create guided interviews.

Fast-forward ten years later, as CALI recently announced its new A2J Project Matching Portal. This scaled model of collaboration used to create partnerships between legal aid organizations, courts, and law schools to create A2J Guided Interviews around the nation. The matching portal creates an online national hub to leverage law students in automating legal forms for legal aid organizations and courts. Law school professors can find available projects for their students posted by the legal organizations’ and courts.

CALI believes the A2J Project Matching Portal will contribute to lowering barriers to justice. CALI’s marketing director, Scott Lee stated:

Legal aid organizations and courts can save time looking for help to automate forms. In turn, law students will have an opportunity to do important public interest work while gaining technical competencies that are crucial for professional development. Through those collaborative efforts, self-represented litigants will have access to more self-help tools covering a wide array of legal issues.”

As this model gains traction and widespread adoption in jurisdictions across the nation. The legal profession should take note, and seriously explore and invest in other innovative and collaborative solutions that engage law students and technology to increase access to justice for low-income and self-represented people.