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2013 TIG Project Descriptions

LSC awarded funding to 33 TIG projects nationwide in 2013. The grants support a variety of initiatives, including “legal triage” tools to guide self-represented individuals through complex legal procedures, online support for pro bono attorneys, and improved access to legal assistance for people in remote areas. The table below includes project descriptions and other relevant information about each grant. Please contact TIG staff for more information about particular projects, the 2013 grant cycle, or LSC's TIG Program.

ST

TIG #

Grantee

Grantee Contact

Purpose

Grant Amount

Staff Grant Description

AR

13037

Center for Arkansas Legal Services

Jean Carter; Vince Morris

Online Intake

$32,387

This project will develop a statewide online intake system to expand services to low-income Arkansans and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of staff. Online intake allows prospective clients to apply for services at any time through the web, either at home or at a library or community center. The online intake system will be integrated into each of the case management systems of the two LSC-funded Arkansas programs. This saves significant time and reduces mistakes by allowing intake staff to simply verify user-submitted information instead of inputting it themselves.

AR

13062

Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.

Lee Richardson

Medical Legal Partnership

$31,193

Funding will support the development of an online legal assistance system for use in medical legal partnerships (MLPs) across the state. The system will direct patients in need of legal assistance to the most appropriate available resources to address their needs. Components of the system will include a legal needs assessment tool, a personalized online self‐help packet based on the users’ responses to questions, and tools to pre‐screen users for potential representation. The system will be used statewide to assist five established MLPs, as well as with additional MLPs that will be launched over the next year.

CT

13030

Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, Inc.

Janice Chiaretto; Kathy Daniels

Leveraging Technology to Increase Pro Bono Attorney and Law Student Involvement

$33,702

Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut (SLS) will produce a library of training videos to help pro bono attorneys deliver services to clients more effectively. Videos will cover the basics of divorce law, consumer debt collection issues, and other common legal problems. This project will complement the newly launched Call4Law initiative, a statewide program that matches prescreened clients with pro bono attorneys for one-hour legal consultations by telephone.

FL

13001

Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.

Marcia Cypen

Online Intake

$55,800

This project will allow Legal Services of Greater Miami to develop an online intake system to expand services to clients. Online intake allows prospective clients to apply for services at any time through the web, whether from home or at a library or community center. The online intake system will also be integrated into Legal Services of Greater Miami’s case management system, which saves significant time and reduces mistakes by allowing intake staff to simply verify user-submitted information instead of inputting it themselves. The system will be in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole in order to serve the predominant populations in the Miami area.

FL

13053

Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc.

Allison Thompson

Library Initiatives

$66,217

This project will increase access to online legal information and self-help resources in Florida through a statewide outreach and partnership initiative targeting Florida public libraries. The project will include a webinar series for library staff on free legal information and resources available to library patrons, development of customized legal information satellite sites for up to four public library partners, and enhanced technical capacities that allow librarians and other partners to keep up-to-date on new resources available through Florida’s statewide legal information website, FloridaLawHelp.org.

GA

13027

Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.

Kristen Verrill

National Projects

$90,832

Atlanta Legal Aid will create the National Olmstead Website. Olmstead is the Supreme Court decision that requires states to provide supports to individuals with disabilities in their homes rather than in an institutional setting. The National Olmstead Website will raise awareness to three essential populations that legal services traditionally work with: 1) young adults with disabilities aging out of schools and aging out of children’s Medicaid; 2) adults who are diagnosed with a disability as adults; and 3) seniors who are diagnosed with a disability late in life. The site will provide legal resources for individuals with disabilities and for their attorneys. These resources include web videos, legal advocacy toolkits and trainings, self-help tools, and guides for creating accessible website content.

ID

13033

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.

James Cook; Mary Zimmerman; Steve Rapp

Leveraging Technology to Increase Pro Bono Attorney and Law Student Involvement

$317,675

Funding will continue to enhance A2J Author, a highly successful software application used nationally for delivering web based services to low income people. This grant will build document assembly capabilities directly into the A2J software, simplifying the process of creating high-quality automated court forms and other legal documents. The project will also grow the pool of A2J developers by continuing to expand law school cyber clinics where tech-savvy students create document assembly tools for low income people.

ID

13039

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.

James Cook; Mary Zimmerman; Steve Rapp

Website Grants with National Impact

$85,200

This project will support WriteClearly Everywhere, a national initiative focused on ensuring that online tools created by legal services organizations utilize plain language to effectively communicate information to users. The project will make widely accessible an application that analyzes text from legal services websites and document assembly applications for readability and suggests better language options. Additionally, a plain language expert will help the legal services community expand its collection of plain language legal resources, including a glossary of replacement words that enhance readability.

ID

13043

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.

James Cook; Mary Zimmerman; Steve Rapp

Mobile Technologies

$185,810

This project will develop an enhanced version of the Drupal for Legal Aid Websites (DLAW) template. The DLAW template powers over 20 legal services websites across the country and is also made available as a free open source product to any legal aid nonprofit. The upgrade will focus on improving site architecture, layout, and internal reporting capacities. Additional trainings and support opportunities will be available for legal services organizations that have not yet developed a robust web presence.

ID

13060

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.

James Cook; Mary Zimmerman; Steve Rapp

Document Assembly

$104,409

This project will integrate Idaho’s statewide case management system with LawHelp Interactive (LHI), a national document assembly service. The integration will allow Idaho advocates and pro bono attorneys to send existing client information from the case system to a secure web application that returns properly formatted drafts of court forms and other legal documents. The automated process will substantially reduce the amount of time attorneys spend inputting data and drafting routine documents for clients, allowing them to serve more individuals in need of assistance.

IL

13041

Legal Assistance Foundation

Diana White; Vivian Hessel

Infrastructure Focused Grants

$76,300

Funding will support the development of a secure, enterprise-level information management system using Microsoft SharePoint. Critical features include document management, robust search, and integration with the program’s case management system. The system will allow Legal Assistance Foundation to better build and maintain institutional knowledge throughout the organization, resulting in more extended representation for clients and expanded community outreach to client groups.

LA

13032

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation

Brian Lenard; Lisa Stansky

Leveraging Technology to Increase Pro Bono Attorney and Law Student Involvement

$30,800

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) will develop online interactive training resources for new staff, law student workers and pro bono attorneys in the state. Users will progress through an interactive training program that utilizes a blend of technologies -- including online video and document assembly -- to provide a robust training experience and identify areas that may require further assistance. These resources will be available to all LSC-funded programs in Louisiana.

LA

13040

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Corporation

Brian Lenard; Lisa Stansky

Online Intake

$47,690

This project will develop a statewide online intake system to expand services to clients across Louisiana. Online intake allows prospective clients to apply for services at any time through the web, either at home or at a library or community center. The online intake system will be integrated into each of the  case management systems of the LSC-funded Louisiana programs. This saves significant time and reduces mistakes by allowing intake staff to simply verify user-submitted information instead of inputting it themselves. The system will also refer users to online resources that can help them meet their legal needs.

ME

13018

Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc.

Nan Heald; Kathleen Caldwell

Online Triage

$121,991

TIG funding will support development of an online legal triage tool for Pine Tree Legal Assistance (PTLA) in Maine. The tool will help users quickly find the most appropriate resources to address their needs from PTLA’s collection of over 700 legal information articles and its statewide network of legal aid providers. The tool will also route appropriate users to PTLA’s online application so that they can quickly and efficiently receive assistance directly from the program. PTLA will also partner with Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut (SLS) so that both organizations can develop versions of the tool for their client communities.

MI

13055

Legal Services of South Central Michigan

Robert Gillett; Angela Tripp

Document Assembly

$50,800

This grant will strengthen MichiganLegalHelp.org, a statewide legal information website for self-represented individuals. The project team will expand the number of automated document assembly interviews available to users. These web-based interviews present users with a series of questions about a document or form, allowing them to input the required information in a logical and organized manner. Answers are then used to assemble a customized document or court form for the user. These additional online resources will enable more self‐represented people to access the justice system, and will improve the ability of the courts to efficiently and effectively serve these litigants.

MI

13061

Legal Services of South Central Michigan

Robert Gillett; Angela Tripp

Use of Data to Analyze Service Delivery and Develop Advocacy Strategies

$50,800

Funding will support the production and expansion of outcomes data related to the new statewide legal information website, MichiganLegalHelp.org, and affiliated self-help centers. The project team will conduct an in-depth evaluation to assess how effectively available resources helped these users meet their legal needs. This evaluation involves both connecting with users of online legal resources after they have completed their court process and analyzing data from the public court files. The project will be promoted to the national community so that the lessons learned will inform self-help legal initiatives across the country.

MP

13011

Micronesian Legal Services, Inc.

Lee Pliscou

Videoconferencing

$90,800

Micronesian Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) serves its remote island communities from eight client services offices in four different time zones. This project will improve service to these remote communities using technology. It will build MLSC’s internal capacity to communicate between its eight offices by implementing program-wide videoconferencing than will be utilized to enhance staff training and supervision. This project will also enhance the overall technology infrastructure of MLSC.

MT

13010

Montana Legal Services Association

Alison Paul

Leveraging Technology to Increase Pro Bono Attorney and Law Student Involvement

$37,770

This project will allow Montana Legal Services Association to develop an online Montana child support calculator. This web‐based application will guide parents through an online interview to collect the financial and other information needed to complete a child support calculation in accordance with the Montana Child Support Guidelines. The resulting calculation and underlying worksheets can be printed or e‐mailed to the parent for use when filing or modifying a parenting action. This project enjoys strong support from the Montana Child Support Enforcement Division and the Montana Supreme Court Administrator’s office.

MT

13047

Montana Legal Services Association

Alison Paul

Expert Systems and Triage

$51,744

The Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) will develop a triage and expert systems tool for use by intake staff. The tool will allow staff to more effectively route cases and determine the most suitable legal information or advice for prospective clients. MLSA will also adapt portions of the triage tool into packaged online guides for use by people seeking legal information and resources on the internet. The project will explore the usefulness of these client focused expert guides as a means of providing legal information and resources for those in need.

NC

13005

Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc.

George Hausen

Videoconferencing

$58,570

This project will expand Legal Aid of North Carolina's (LANC’s) videoconferencing capacity throughout the state. LANC will adopt a cloud-based videoconferencing system that will connect all of its twenty-two offices into one integrated system. The system will allow LANC to deliver more legal clinics in rural areas via videoconference, as well as connect staff and pro bono attorneys throughout the state.

NM

13048

New Mexico Legal Aid

Ed Marks

Online Triage

$217,730

New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA) will develop a statewide online triage program for the major civil legal issues faced by low income individuals and other vulnerable populations. The system will include both advocate and public‐facing online interviews to help identify and recommend the best source of assistance for a litigant’s circumstances based on variables such as location, income, language, and other factors. The triage system will encompass services provided by New Mexico Legal Aid and five other legal aid agencies in the state, in addition to court, self‐help and pro bono resources. This ensures that low-income people are connected to the resources that will most likely help them meet their legal need, in the most cost-effective manner possible.

NM

13049

New Mexico Legal Aid

Ed Marks

Leveraging Technology to Increase Pro Bono Attorney and Law Student Involvement

$72,450

This project will create a virtual pro bono portal that will enable clients, pro bono lawyers and legal aid advocates, even when located in different parts of the state, to work collaboratively and directly exchange legal documents and information in a secure online space. This project will leverage several innovative components -- including a robust practice management platform, video conferencing, and built-in document assembly – to more effectively serve rural clients throughout the state and provide volunteer lawyers with a more convenient opportunity to assist New Mexicans in need.

NY

13044

Legal Services of the Hudson Valley

Barbara Finkelstein

Website Grants for Programs

$47,736

This project will expand the legal information resources available to low income users in the Legal Services of Hudson Valley service area by adding plain language legal guides to the program’s website as well as the New York statewide legal information website, LawHelpNY.org. Materials will  be available in both English and Spanish and will be promoted to the community through a webinar series targeted to libraries and nonprofits throughout the region.

OH

13042

Ohio State Legal Services

Jim Daniels

Document Assembly

$649,270

This project will continue the maintenance and support of LawHelp Interactive, a very successful national resource that provides high quality document assembly forms to both legal aid advocates and low-income people representing themselves. LawHelp Interactive delivers web-based interviews that present users with a series of questions about a document or form, allowing them to input the required information in a logical and organized manner. These answers are then used to assemble a customized, properly-formatted document or court form. Funding will also support a range of expanded document assembly capacities, including integrations with case management systems and court e-filing. During 2012, LawHelp Interactive was used to complete nearly 400,000 documents.

OK

13045

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.

Michael Figgins

Leveraging Technology to Increase Pro Bono Attorney and Law Student Involvement

$72,609

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma will develop a technology‐facilitated pro bono model to increase the involvement of volunteer lawyers in expungement cases. Clients in need of expungement assistance will utilize online guides and an automated interview to create court forms that are then submitted to pro bono attorneys for review. This automated process will enable Oklahoma lawyers to provide limited scope legal services over the internet. It offers a convenient volunteer opportunity for attorneys who do not currently accept pro bono cases for full representation and allows attorneys to more easily connect with rural clients in need.

PA

13003

North Penn Legal Services, Inc.

Victoria Coyle; Sheila Fisher

Expert Systems and Checklists

$32,150

Funding will support the development of an automated “Divorce Tracker” tool that will guide self represented litigants and pro bono attorneys through simple divorce cases. The tracker will analyze what tasks need to be done to ensure successful completion of the divorce process, as well as generate sets of documents for filing and service. Regular workshops based on the Divorce Tracker and associated resources will enable North Penn Legal Services to offer legal assistance to more individuals in need.

PA

13074

North Penn Legal Services, Inc.

Victoria Coyle; Sheila Fisher

Online Intake

$39,100

This project will develop an online intake system to expand services to clients of North Penn Legal Services. Online intake allows prospective clients to apply for services at any time through the web, either at home or at a library or community center. The online intake system will be integrated into North Penn's case management system, which saves significant time and reduces mistakes by allowing intake staff to simply verify user-submitted information instead of inputting it themselves. North Penn will also pilot an analytical tool that further assists staff in eligibility determinations.

TN

13066

Legal Aid of East Tennessee

David Yoder

Client Education Videos and LEP Resources

$45,800

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will improve access to legal information by creating a series of videos that
provide low income people with on demand guidance on matters such as orders of protection, foreclosure, and other common legal issues. Videos will be produced in both English and Spanish, will be captioned for the hearing impaired, and will be accessible from both standard computers and mobile devices.

TN

13075

Legal Aid of East Tennessee

David Yoder

Remote Service Delivery

$62,067

This project will utilize Microsoft Lync Server to improve communications with clients and enhance internal communications among staff. Lync will allow staff across the organization to easily conduct web meetings, exchange instant messages, and utilize Microsoft’s other telepresence features.  Additionally, Legal Aid of East Tennessee clients will be able to videoconference with their attorneys either though home computers or mobile devices or at conveniently-located community access points.

UT

13036

Utah Legal Services, Inc.

Craige Harrison

Mobile Technologies

$33,950

This project will allow Utah Legal Services (ULS) to implement the technology necessary to allow advocates serving clients remotely to securely access all of a client’s internal case management information, pleadings and other documents as well as external court records and files. In addition, ULS will create an automated process to obtain electronic signatures from clients for use with ULS’ client information sheet – making full and compliant intake screening possible at any location.

VT

13019

Legal Services Law Line of Vermont, Inc.

Tom Garrett

Online Intake and Triage

$36,800

This project will develop an online intake system to expand services to clients in Vermont. Online intake allows prospective clients to apply for services at any time through the web, either at home or at a library or community center. The system will direct online contacts to the appropriate component of the legal services delivery system through VTLawHelp.org, whether it is forms, information, referral, or intake with one of the state’s providers. The online intake system will also be integrated into the organization’s case management system, which saves significant time and reduces mistakes by allowing intake staff to simply verify user-submitted information instead of inputting it themselves. 

WA

13017

Northwest Justice Project

César Torres; Sue Encherman;

Joan Kleinberg

Mobile Technologies and Program IT Infrastructure

$188,200

Northwest Justice Project (NJP) will create a “Texting for Outcomes” system, which will gather information on the outcomes of limited-assistance legal hotline cases and use that information to improve delivery of services to clients. Technology developed through this project will automatically text outcome questions to client who have received limited assistance and have represented themselves in a legal action. The client’s texted reply will automatically populate a field in NJP’s case management record so that the program can easily collect and analyze outcomes data. In order to create this capacity and to promote sustainability and efficiency in client service, NJP will implement an upgraded call center as part of this project.

WA

13016

Northwest Justice Project

César Torres; Brian Rowe

National Technology Support Funding

$271,800

This project will allow the Northwest Justice Project (NJP) to continue its successful Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project (NTAP). The NTAP has three objectives: (1) to support and maintain a core collection of technology services and resources that play an essential role in the legal services community; (2) to provide one‐on‐one support and guidance to LSC‐funded programs on a broad range of legal technologies; and (3) to help programs effectively replicate successful TIG initiatives.