LSC's Tech Download Newsletter | December 2020
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Highlighting Innovation in Legal Aid Technology

Legal Tech Leaders Preview Innovations in Technology Conference on "Talk Justice" Podcast

Host Jason Tashea and three legal technology experts discussed the Innovations in Technology Conference's value and broader questions about technology’s role in expanding access to justice on LSC’s “Talk Justice” podcast. He was joined by Bob Ambrogi, a lawyer and a legal tech journalist; Amanda Brownfounder and executive director, Lagniappe Law Lab; and Jane Ribadeneyra, LSC’s program analyst for technology. 

The speakers explored why the technology topics featured at the conference are more relevant than ever this year as the entire legal community adapts to the challenges the pandemic poses and the surge in demand for legal help. They discussed the critical importance of technology to access to justice efforts and shared examples of successful initiatives.

“Technology is not just ancillary to the effective delivery of legal services, it's a core component of it,” explained Ambrogi. “I think that's part of the reason this conference has become so important, because everybody recognizes that you're not ever going to really deliver effective assistance to all who need it without technology being part of that formula. It’s not 100% of the answer, but it’s a core component of it."

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Register for the 2021 LSC Innovations in Technology Conference

There's still time to register for LSC's 2021 Innovations in Technology Conference (ITC). The conference is coming to you virtually January 12-14 and will offer the same great content only reimagined for a new environment. ITC will include a variety of breakout sessions, including technology demonstrations, short tech talks and workshops showcasing best practices and lessons learned. There will also be affinity sessions for informal discussions around topics of interest determined by attendees. 

Follow #LSCITC for updates!
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Spotlight on Success: TIG Project Profile
Improving Statewide Legal Resources

Community Legal Aid of Massachusetts successfully overhauled the popular Massachusetts Legal Resource Finder (LRF) with support from an LSC Technology Initiative Grant. Among the many enhancements is the addition of a plain language search field. This permits the LRF to exchange information with SPOT, a tool run by the Suffolk University Law School's Legal Innovation and Technology Lab. SPOT identifies likely legal issues that are indexed with the NSMI v.2.
 
The update also includes the addition of a new GuideMe tool that helps users identity the necessary steps to take control of their legal problem. The tool is currently piloting six common housing issues. Users answer questions about their housing situation and get results tailored to their situation. Both the LRF and the GuideMe tool are currently in the process of being translated into Spanish, with a Spanish version now accessible through the homepage.
 
Other enhancements include new features and filters recommended by a UX consultant and tested by users. The tool launched on December 1 and the project team will promote it across the state’s access to justice community over the next few months.

TIME Recognizes Upsolve as One of the Best Inventions of 2020

Upsolve is featured on TIME’s Best Inventions of 2020 list. The article notes that since launching in 2018, the free bankruptcy service has helped relieve more than $250 million in total debt nationwide. LSC Emerging Leaders Council member Rohan Pavuluri is Upsolve's co-founder.

Upsolve has been supported by LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding. 
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Apps for That
Best Legal Aid Apps 

What are the latest tech tools? Which new apps are the most promising? In this section, we recommend tech resources that can benefit legal aid organizations and their clients.

Transcend Legal Icons

Having the right icons can play a key role in making a website or app easy to navigate. Transcend offers a free icon set for the legal industry. These icons are field-tested and easy to use for print and web. Use them to help make your legal information more accessible and unified.

Accessible Icon Project

The Accessible Icon Project is an ongoing work of design activism. The project began with the creation of a graphic icon and continues to support collaboration among people with disabilities and their allies. You can download the icon and learn more about the project here

LSC Grantees Share Technology Tips for Coping with Pandemic Challenges

LSC's revamped "Model Practices & Innovations" (MPI) section features evidence-based content from LSC grantees. A recent post includes case studies from Idaho Legal Aid Services and Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota, two organizations that have taken different approaches to launching COVID-19 hotlines. Another post shares case studies from Georgia Legal Aid and Land of Lincoln Legal Aid on using websites to reach clients remotely and to share timely information.

Have questions or ideas for new model practices or innovations? Contact LSC’s MPI coordinator, Airey, at aireyj@lsc.gov.
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