Resources

The following is a collection of the most widely used resources in the legal aid technology community, as well as those that can help legal services providers leverage technology to more efficiently and effectively deliver assistance to low-income Americans.

  • LSC Baselines: Technologies That Should Be in Place in a Legal Office Today (Revised April 2015). Originally published in November 2008, this document defines the technology capacities that LSC’s grantees should have in place or have available to them through a vendor or partner in the access to justice community. It includes baselines for new technologies, including mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, and enhanced security policies, as well as updated resources, useful websites, and other tools.
  • LSC's Technology Usage Data. This resource is updated annually to provide an overview of the types of technologies that LSC grantees are employing to deliver legal services more effectively and efficiently.
  • Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project (LSNTAP). LSNTAP is a web portal to technology services and information tailored to a legal services audience. It conducts numerous trainings and webinars each year, and the upcoming ones are posted on LSNTAP’s website.
  • Online Document Assembly through LawHelp Interactive, A2J Author, and HotDocs. LSC grantees can create online forms using LawHelp Interactive, the legal aid community's national online document assembly program. LawHelp Interactive incorporates A2J Author software as an optional interface to collect data. A2J incorporates website standards for low-literacy users, including graphics, to effectively guide self-represented individuals through the process of assembling legal documents. A2J is also utilized in many legal aid online intake initiatives.
  • Statewide Website Platforms. LawHelp.org is the national gateway to the LSC-funded statewide website network. Through LawHelp, legal aid clients, advocates, and partners can access links to all the statewide websites for the 50 states, District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. A Spanish version of the LawHelp.org gateway page is also available. Pro Bono Net has developed the LawHelp.org template. Drupal for Legal Aid Websites (DLAW) is a free and open source website management software built specifically for legal aid organizations.
  • Document Assembly Best Practices Guide for Court System Development and Implementation Using A2J Author. Developed by the New York State Courts Access to Justice Program, this best practices guide advocates for court systems to take a leadership role in the creation of document assembly programs that can enhance access to justice and improve overall court operations. The best practices section focuses on issues such as technical development, partnerships, statewide uniformity of documents, e-filing, and ethical considerations. The guide also provides a road map for courts seeking to utilize document assembly services to improve assistance to the unrepresented public.
  • HotDocs. HotDocs is an industry-leading document assembly application that is available to legal services programs at a negotiated nonprofit discount through HotDocs Limited. Programs have leveraged the HotDocs software to provide legal aid clients and advocates thousands of automated legal documents.
  • LawHelp Interactive Computer Station Best Practices for Self-Help Centers. This resource provides best practices for any legal aid organization, law library, library, police department, victims center, shelter, or court to set up a self-help center. It includes diagrams, workstation requirements, and signage tips that help minimize distractions for self-represented litigants to support the completion of forms and to help users feel secure in their use of the computers.
  • LiveHelp Administrator’s Toolkit. LiveHelp is a chat-based, real-time support service that helps people find legal resources and referral information on the LawHelp.org websites. LiveHelp has been launched in 11 states and assists more than 10,000 users annually. Pro Bono Net has compiled a toolkit and best practices for developing and maintaining a LiveHelp project on an access to justice website.
  • The Non-Profit Guide to Internet Marketing. LawHelp/NY developed this guide to search engine optimization (SEO) and social marketing for nonprofits. It describes the techniques and strategies used by LawHelp/NY to improve its search engine rankings and maximize online outreach. The toolkit explains in detail how other nonprofits can follow the steps LawHelp/NY took to expand its online outreach efforts, including developing keyword lists and link building to optimize web pages, as well as increasing its presence on social networking platforms and via blogging. Key metrics and evaluation are also covered.
  • Open Source Telephony in Legal Aid. By adopting an open source phone solution, Legal Aid of the Bluegrass (LAB) was able to enjoy significant cost savings and greater system flexibility. This document explores open source telephony and summarizes LAB's experience deploying a Trixbox PBX system. LAB hopes that the document will help other providers explore open source telephony and develop better communications systems for advocates and clients.
  • ReadClearly and WriteClearly. Many of the people LSC grantees serve have limited literacy skills. OpenAdvocate’s ReadClearly and WriteClearly are free tools to optimize websites so clients can more easily understand and navigate them. ReadClearly enables website visitors to look up explanations for complex legal terms on a specific website; WriteClearly analyzes the reading grade level of a web page and makes suggestions for improving readability. Both projects were funded in part by LSC.