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Summit on the Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice - June 2012

Mission Statement

The Summit on Use of Technology to Expand Access to Justice will explore the potential of technology to move the United States towards providing service of some form to 100 percent of those persons with a legal need.  The Summit will address technologies to enhance all services that promote access to justice, including educational resources to inform persons of their legal rights and remedies, full legal representation (paid, publicly supported, or volunteer), limited scope representation, and court- or other entity-provided assistance for persons representing themselves, and triage tools to assist in directing persons to the most appropriate services.  The Summit will bring together selected technology experts, academics, private practitioners, and representatives of legal services programs, courts, and governmental and business entities to develop a technology vision for the future and to develop strategies that will promote the development and widespread deployment of the identified components of the technology vision.

The Summit will take place in two sessions.  The first session will focus on developing a technology vision that will:

  • Identify ways that technology can expand substantially the access that persons of limited means have to courts and legal services through the implementation of technology applications that are: i) already available, ii) feasible to create using currently available technologies, or iii) capable of development using foreseeable technologies,
  • Identify ways that technology can improve the organization and functioning of, and the relationships among, the individuals and entities providing services that promote access to justice, and
  • Identify ways that technology can change the legal system’s advocacy and decision-making processes to reduce their cost and make them more accessible to the public.

The second session will identify strategies for developing and deploying such technologies, including enhancement of leadership and coordination of technology improvement efforts within and across the entities that provide services that promote access to justice, by

  • Prioritizing technology investments to obtain the greatest return on investment;
  • Effectively communicating technology improvement activities to avoid duplication of effort and speed the adoption of promising innovations, and
  • Pooling of resources for collaborative development and deployment of technology innovations

Different groups of persons will be invited to attend the first and second sessions, with sufficient overlap to provide continuity.
The ultimate objective of the Summit is widespread deployment of the technologies identified during the first session.  In order to ensure that the findings of the Summit will have maximum impact, the Summit will produce:

  • A series of white papers covering diverse topics relevant to the Summit’s objectives;
  • A vision of how the technologies identified will enhance access to justice;
  • A strategy for enhancing leadership and coordination of technology improvement efforts to maximize the development and deployment of the identified technologies; and
  • A strategic communications plan for transmitting the Summit products to all persons and entities whose support will be important for their implementation.