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.

Some of the nation’s leading experts on technology & legal services guest lectured the sessions for day one. The LAIC was hosted by the Legal Services National Technology Assistance Program (LSNTAP) where I alongside Sart (@Sarterus) of LSNTAP, co-moderated the training sessions. All sessions were recorded and will be posted on the LSNTAP Youtube Channel in the coming days.

Session One: Design Thinking in Legal Services

by Dan Jackson, NuLawLab at Northeastern University School of Law

This first session covered the basics of user centered design in legal services. Dan explored how design thinking could be utilized to solve real life client problems. Fellows were pre-assigned “Human-Centered Legal Tech: Integrating Design in Legal Education” to follow along with his presentation. Dan stressed the importance of legal design within law school curriculums and explained the need for greater adoption of this model. You can follow Dan Jackson on Twitter at @NuLawLab.

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 9.55.15 AM

Session Two: A2J+Tech “The Changing Landscape of Legal Services”

by Glenn Rawdon, Legal Services Corporation

Glenn provided fellows a general framework on the role of technology in increasing access to justice and how the Legal Services Corporation’s Technology Initiative Grants assists legal aid organizations’ capacity’s across the nation. Glenn highlighted several of LSC’s recent initiatives, including the LSC, Pro Bono Net, Microsoft Portal Project. You can follow Glenn Rawdon at @grawdon on Twitter.

Cover image

Session Three: Plain Language  for Greater Legal Services Delivery

by Anna Steele, Just-Tech, LLC

Next, Anna explored how plain language in legal services can improve the readability of legal documents, simplify specialized terms, and more! Anna’s interactive session stressed the importance of using plain language in client correspondence and self help materials. She provided fellows with some practical takeaways by walking fellows through a step-by-step demo of OpenAdvocate’s WriteClearly & ReadClearly plain language tools. As an online exercise, the fellows had to decipher and translate a convoluted legal paragraph into plain language during the session. You can follow Anna Steele at @Anna_Hineline on Twitter. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 1.52.46 PM


Session Four: Chatbots + Expert Systems in Legal Service Delivery

by Tom Martin, LawDroid

During the last session of the day, Tom covered the use of chatbots and expert systems as force multipliers in the legal profession and dispelled the hype around legal AI. Tom provided a thorough background and timeline on AI, expert systems, and chatbots, with some very helpful visuals and examples. Tom also gave a demo on how to build a basic chatbot and discussed the implications of privacy and bias in the age of Chatbots & AI. You can follow Tom Martin at @lawdroid1 on Twitter. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 5.12.44 PM


Tomorrow is the final day of the LAIC. Tomorrow’s sessions include: Document Automation & Assembly tools, Mobile Technologies in Legal Services, and Project Management. If you are interested in joining tomorrow’s sessions, use this link to register. Be sure to follow @atjtechfellows on Twitter using the hashtag #LAIC. On behalf of the ATJ Tech Fellows Program, I would like like to thank all of today’s guest lecturers for taking the time out of their busy schedules to help equip our fellows with the 21st century skills and tools to transform our justice system. Follow me on Twitter @MiguelElCapiTon