It felt strange to dust off my blogging chops to collect my initial thoughts for this piece after a long hiatus. But I felt an incessant need to share my views on this topic. For the last two months I have been MIA on social media, blogging, and in the public scene for a variety professional and personal reasons that I will not divulge to much of your attention with.

In short, I’m currently up in Alaska working at the Alaska Court System under the Justice For All grant. In this role, I’m tasked to perform a statewide inter-organizational social network analysis to uncover the relationships between human and social service organizations and understand their legal referral pathways for early detection of health and social harming legal issues. If you didn’t understand what any of that meant, google “Social Network Analysis.”

Ok, back at the topic to which you were click baited to read this article.

Amongst a growing segment of the access to justice community there is an unfettered optimism that technology and innovation will hold great promise to improve the delivery of legal services and help bridge our nation’s justice gap. I consider myself apart of this community, and even founded a national fellowship program named the “Access to Justice Technology Fellows program.” Ironic I writing this piece huh?

In any event, this post will be the first of a three part piece. My goal in part 1 is to impart with you my general thoughts jotted down in bulleted form of why the current state of access to justice technologies will fall short of its goal of ushering in greater legal access for poor and marginalized communities. I hope to engage some discussion from my lack explanations. In part 2, I will expound upon each of these points and provide further explanation. Part 3, I hope to provide some practical solutions to possibly cure some of these shortcomings.

  • Lack of Diversity in A2J Technology Community (Legal Profession = White Male Dominated Technology Sector = White Male Dominated Legal Profession + Technology Sector = Super White Male Dominated, Communnities legal technologies intended to serve = Mainly Poor Communities of Color)
  • Group Think Mentality
  • Lack of Understanding of the Communities Intended to Serve
  • Lack of Understanding of How Poor Peoples Legal Problem Fit into a Much Larger Narrative of Institutionalized Poverty.
  • Lack of Understanding of How Poor People interact with institutions
  • Legal Education with the Exception of Hand Full of Law Schools are not involved
  • Model for Creation of Legal Technologies too Rigid
  • Much of the work is still done in silos
  • Build it they will come approach
  • Very catch headlines, with little thought/plan on delivery
  • Very catchy headlines, with little linkage to measurable justice outcomes
  • Current state will create Create a larger gap, ( Due to digital divide, data suggest college educated whites are largest consumes of utility technologies, create a larger vacuum at lower margins of society because legal problems compound when unaddressed.
  • Egocentricity of lawyers in planning, development and implementation of A2J Technologies.
  • Race is not in the conversation

Feel free to reach me at @miguelelcapiton or miguel@atjtechfellows.org with your thoughts or comments. Part 2 coming soon.

Day One of the inaugural ATJ Tech Fellows Program’sLegal Access Innovation Curriculum” (LAIC) is in the books. From legal design thinking to the artificial intelligence and chatbots, ATJ Tech fellows got their first dose of legal tech training for the summer program. For those following along from home or who haven’t had a chance to check out the #LAIC hashtag on Twitter, here is the recap from Day One.

The LAIC is a series of competency-based virtual webinars designed to 1) increase participating fellows’ understanding of the nature and extent of access to justice issues, 2) provide training on the varied uses of technology in delivering legal services, 3) and help fellows gain exposure to different technologies and tools they’ll leverage over the summer.

Continue Reading ATJ Tech Fellows Program “Legal Access Innovation Curriculum” Day One Recap

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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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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2017

12:00 TO 1:30 P.M.


Seattle University School of Law

Fred Dore Courtroom (Room 105)

 
1.5 CLE Credits Approved  Only $10: Register here

 Feel Free to Bring Your Lunch

 Join us for an engaging discussion with Seattle University law student, Miguel Willis, whose understanding of technology, entrepreneurial skills, and commitment to serving the underserved have made him a national leader in encouraging legal professionals to use technology in improving the legal services they provide, increasing access to justice, and connecting with like-minded colleagues.

 Many people think of “networking” as merely a referral avenue. In “Beyond Networking,” Miguel offers advice on how to cultivate professional relationships both virtually and “IRL” (in real life) through social media, blogging, project collaboration, speaking engagements, conference planning, and more. He will also offer insight into how he’s built his brand and established himself in the innovative legal technology community, and will explain the importance of customer relationship management.

The 2017 Low Bono CLE Connections Series, which is open to law students and attorneys, offers high quality CLEs to help you run a successful law practice and provides opportunities to connect with other lawyer-entrepreneurs, especially those serving the moderate income client community.  

Mark your calendars for the next Low Bono Connections CLE on Wednesday, April 19, 2017: Client Communications with Barbara Frost!

The Low Bono and Solo Initiative aims to assist our alumni in starting their own solo practices or small firms, including those whose practices are designed to serve the moderate means client community. You are receiving this email because you have attended past programs or expressed interest in our programs.

If you have any questions or no longer wish to receive these emails, please contact Suzanne Skinner, atskinners@seattleu.edu or 206-398-4455.

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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 legal profession will continue to undergo unprecedented structural and technological changes. Thus, there will be a growing demand for lawyers with the skills and ability to harness technology in the practice of law. From project management skills to modern business methods and design thinking, lawyers must adapt in order to survive the impact that the disruption of traditional legal services will have on the legal profession.

Continue Reading Sabbatical for Lawyers? Check Out These New Legal Innovation Fellowships

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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

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There is a clear case for the use of tech to improve our civil justice system. While there’s a huge legal accessibility gap in our nation, the use of tech and innovation can play a pivotal role to increase the capacity of legal services providers to address the unmet legal needs in many poor communities across the nation.

Continue Reading Legal Aid Drupal Hackathon to Address Underlying Issues with A2J Tech