LSC's Tech Download Newsletter | December 2019
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Highlighting Innovation in Legal Aid Technology

IAALS Releases Guidelines for Creating Effective

Self-Help Information

The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) recently released a set of guidelines for developing effective self-help information for individuals facing legal issues without a lawyer. Created in partnership with national experts, each guide provides the information necessary to help judges, lawyers, and court administrators understand current problems facing the justice system and to make the improvements that will increase access to justice and bolster public confidence. 

While aimed at the courts, the guidelines highlight many principles that the legal aid and the broader access to justice community can apply in creating self-help tools, particularly web-based guidance and interactive applications.
Learn more

Client of TIG-Funded Upsolve Receives Robin Hood Foundation Heroes Award

Former Upsolve client Alisa Pratt was a recipient of a 2019 Robin Hood Foundation Heroes Award. The awards honor people and partner organizations that are leading the fight against poverty. 

In 2016, Pratt faced debt problems and bad credit. Unable to afford a bankruptcy attorney, she turned to Upsolve for help. Upsolve is a nonprofit technology platform that helps low-income people file for bankruptcy for free and is supported by LSC Technology Initiative Grant funding.

Her bankruptcy was resolved within two months, free of charge. At the Robin Hood Foundation's awards breakfast in December, Pratt spoke movingly about what this fresh start meant to her. "Having those debts resolved cleared the path for me to focus on what I love to do—what I love to do the most—which is helping people," she said.

Pratt works with nonprofits in the Bronx and was involved in creating and leading a girls' step team, the McKinley Clovers, based in the NYC Housing Authority development project McKinley Houses. The team has been internationally recognized for both its skill and its important role in the community.
Watch Alisa Pratt's acceptance speech at the Robin Hood Heroes Breakfast.
Learn more about the award

Spotlight on Success: TIG Project Profile
Helping Domestic Violence Survivors Through Technology

Filing protective orders is an important step for survivors of domestic violence, but the process of completing legal forms also forces them to repeatedly recount painful details of their stories. Advocates at Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma (LASO) teamed up with Pro Bono Net’s LawHelp Interactive online forms program to create a new practice of completing and sharing the information needed to apply for protective orders.

LASO developed a tool that takes a trauma-informed approach towards filling out protective orders, with the goal of minimizing retraumatization of survivors. The project was supported by funding from an LSC Technology Initiative Grant.

Pro Bono Net’s Legal Empowerment and Technology Fellow Katie Lam recently discussed the project's development with Margaret Hamlett Shinn, a lawyer and Community Education & Pro Se Coordinator at LASO, and Tara Saylor, an independent evaluator. Read the interview to learn more about the their experiences developing and evaluating this new tool for survivors.

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.


Airtable acts like an online spreadsheet, similar to Google Sheets, but with optional database elements. It’s easy to use, manipulate, and embed the finished product on websites.

There are currently hundreds of templates available for nonprofits. The free version of Airtable supports up to 1,200 records per database, two gigabytes of space, and revision history going back two weeks. 
Learn more about Airtable

Innovations in Technology Conference Agenda 

The agenda for LSC's Innovations in Technology Conference (ITC) is now available. Read it for information on this year's speakers and session topics. ITC participants are gathering on January 15-17 in Portland, Oregon, to showcase technology projects and tools that promote access to justice and high-quality legal representation for low-income people.

Learn more about the conference and register today
Read the agenda
  • LSC Innovations in Technology (ITC) Conference
    ITC brings together a broad range of professionals each year to share technology projects and tools being implemented across the country and internationally to promote access to justice and high-quality legal representation for low-income people. The conference also provides an opportunity to network with a community of colleagues and to cultivate project ideas that could lead to successful TIG applications.

    Portland, Oregon
    January 15-17
    Registration Info

  • Self-Represented Litigant Network (SRLN) Conference 
    This conference explores strategies and new thinking for providing 100% access to justice, particularly for those individuals who currently receive limited or no help from a lawyer. The SRLN has always emphasized the importance of technology solutions for meeting the legal needs of low-income Americans.

    Nashville, Tennessee
    March 4-6

    Registration Info
  • Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC)
    The NTC covers innovations in the broader nonprofit sector and has highlighted legal aid and LSC-funded technology projects in previous years. This year’s conference includes multiple sessions on IT leadership and the development of client-facing applications through practices such as user testing and inclusive design. 

    Baltimore, Maryland
    March 24-26

    Registration Info
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