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Advances in technology coupled with business model innovations are disrupting the legal profession to improve the legal marketplace and the provision of legal services in the U.S. While the key drivers of this movement include a wide range of tech savvy lawyers, academics, innovative law firms, legal tech companies, courts, bar associations, revamped legal education programs and clinics, and a host of non-profit legal service providers. There has been a recent trend of newly established legal networks, which serves as an catalyst for greater legal innovation.

Continue Reading These Networks Leverage Synergies for Greater Legal Innovation & Improved Access to Justice

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Every law firm, legal aid organization, law school and legal internship program claims to place a high value on diversity and inclusion, but the reality is that law is the least diverse profession in the nation. Thus, there’s huge gap between the legal professions’ diversity messaging and diversity numbers in actual practice. i.e “Talking the Talk, But not Walking the Walk.”

While my African American and Dominican American identity constantly reminds me of the lack of diversity and inclusivity in our curriculums, professors, and thought leadership in legal education. Being a heterosexual male in law school affords me a great deal of privilege in this space.

Continue Reading ATJ Tech Fellows: A Model for Diversity & Inclusion in the Legal Profession

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The Access to Justice Technology Fellowship program today named its 2017 class of ATJ Tech Fellows, recognizing 8 exceptionally creative and diverse law students from across the nation with a passion for technology and public interest law.

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Exemplifying what it means to be an innovative law student, the ATJ Tech Fellows program was created to equip the next set of leaders in the legal profession with the tools and skills to leverage technology in addressing our nation’s widening access to justice gap.

The program is split into two parts and kicks off with the “Legal Access Innovation Curriculum”, which is a series of eight competency based modular training sessions over a two-day period designed to educate fellows on the changing landscape of the delivery of legal services. Covering topics ranging from Plain Language Online Legal Forms, Online Document Assembly and Automation Tools, Mobile Technologies in Legal Services and much more.

This is followed by a 10-week host placement, where fellows work with some of the nation’s most dynamic legal services organizations in the country who are at the forefront our expanding access to justice. Fellows spend their 10-week summer working on innovative projects and initiatives that leverage technology to improve the delivery of legal services for low-income Americans.

We will be sure keep you abreast of the latest updates of the program.

 

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Every year 53% of the low-income households in Washington face at least one civil legal problem without adequate legal assistance. Problems can range from predatory lending to foreclosure to various kinds of debt. There are many legal advocates helping those in need, however, due to the difference in numbers, not everyone gets the help they need. This can be described as the access to justice gap in America.

Continue Reading The Gameification of Legal Services: The Social Justice Game Jam

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The ATJ Tech Fellows program is seeking diverse and entrepreneurial-minded law students who are passionate about social justice and want to spend the summer learning new ways to leverage technology in order to improve access to legal services for people who can’t afford a lawyer. Continue Reading Calling All Law Students!!! Apply Now to the ATJ Tech Fellows Program

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 11.25.51 PMIn 2004, The Washington State Supreme Court adopted Washington State Access to Justice Technology Principles, which now guides the use of technology in the Washington State justice system. The first of its kind in the nation, the Principles ensure that “[u]se of technology in the justice system … serve[s] to promote equal access to justice and to promote the opportunity for equal participation in the justice system for all.” Since their inception, many states around the nation have adopted similar principles to provide a framework which creators of technology products and projects may use to extend access to the justice system.

Continue Reading Revisiting the Washington State Access to Justice Technology Principles

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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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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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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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There’s a trend in the legal profession for the use of technology to enhance access of legal services. This trend aims to provide greater legal access to poor and underserviced communities. I call it the “Access to Justice Tech Movement” or “ATJ Tech Movement” for short. The ATJ Tech movement formed of legal innovators. Evangelizing the use of technology to provide greater access. Innovative law school curriculums that incorporate the use of technology to promote legal access. And legal aid organizations and non-profits who leverage technology to serve their clients.

Leaders of the ATJ tech movement have ushered a new era of the profession. Through the creation of disruptive technologies. Providing for greater access and improved delivery of legal services. Some of the technologies include self-help web portals, document assembly tools, mobile apps.

Continue Reading Access to Justice & Technology: The Elephant in the Room