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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.

 

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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

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Check out the latest ABA Student Lawyer! They dedicated a whole issue about the latest technology you need to know and the apps you’ll use in your education and career. Be sure to check out my feature recaping the Social Justice Hackathon “Can You Hack This” and all the other great pieces on tech.  Check them out below.

Continue Reading New ABA “Student Lawyer” Issue Dedicated to Tech

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Welcome all to the Innovative Law Student” blog on which I intend to focus on innovations in the legal industry and legal education, topics ranging from tech justice to virtual reality, in thought-provoking and insightful posts catered for an legal and law student audience. The ISL blog is a group forum to which many ISL team members contribute. Outside contributions are welcome.

Continue Reading Welcome To My New Blog

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                                         Aurora Martin                Miguel Willis
Seattle University School of Law hosted the city’s first “Social Justice Hackathon” in November 2015. The Hackathon brought together the tech and legal aid communities to create solutions that would expand access to and improve delivery of legal services.
Join our Google Hangout for a conversation with the Hackathon’s creator, Miguel Willis, and Aurora Martin, the executive director of Columbia Legal Services. We’ll talk with the two of them about the Hackathon, its results, and the potential of legal-tech collaborations.

Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar: Hacking for Justice: Legal Aid & Tech Collaborations