LSC Awards Nearly $3.5 Million in 2014 Technology Grants to Legal Aid Organizations: Local Releases

October 17, 2014
image of 2014 TIG awards LSC
New York:
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. Awarded $195,527 Technology Initiative Grant to Support Legal Aid Website and Innovative Programs.

 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY) will receive $195,527 through the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program to enhance its statewide legal aid website and develop innovative programs that engage clients through text messaging and reach out to non-traditional access-to-justice partners in different ways.
 
The TIG program supports legal aid organizations in developing, testing, and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality assistance in the full range of legal services for low-income clients.
 
LawNY will use its TIG grants for three projects:
  • $28, 737 to develop a reminder system that will notify clients of upcoming office appointments, clinics, court appearances, and deadlines through text message integration with LegalServer, the program’s case management system.
  • $82,895 to use technology to support innovative programs, including the Court Navigator program, LiveHelp, and community-based pilots that engage non-traditional justice partners. This project will provide high-quality, critical information, and referrals to thousands of people in need.
  • $83, 895 to enhance LawHelpNY.org, the statewide legal information website for low-income New Yorkers, by targeting key improvements to the site's extensive provider referral system, its overall content organization, and other key areas.
Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26) said, “We are living in a time of ever-changing technological advancements. These advancements allow for increased and improved access to necessary information and services. Thousands of Western New Yorkers in need of legal services will benefit from the improvements put in place through this grant.”
 
Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23) said, “This technology initiative is great news for Western New York.  It’s another way for us to care for low-income members of our community, and provide high-quality, critical information to those in need.”
 
Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-25) said, “Court action can be costly and intimidating, and we need to ensure that everyone in America has equal access to justice. That’s why I’m proud to support the Legal Services Corporation and Legal Assistance of Western New York who help to ensure that Americans’ constitutional rights to a fair trial and equal protection under the law are upheld.”
 
LawNY is one of 38 recipients of 2014 LSC-TIG funding totaling nearly $3.5 million.
 
“This latest round of grants continues LSC’s history of leadership in expanding access to justice through innovations in technology,” said LSC president James J. Sandman. “The grants reflect the creativity and resourcefulness of legal aid programs in using technology to get assistance to people when and where they need it.” 
 

Maine:

Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc. Awarded $138, 139 in Technology Initiative Grants to Support Veterans Legal Aid and Consumer Protection Websites 

WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation today announced that Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc. will receive $138,139 through the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program to expand its  national veterans legal assistance website, develop new tools for women veterans, and create web-based expert consumer protection systems.
 
The TIG program supports legal aid organizations in developing, testing, and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high-quality assistance in the full range of legal services for low-income clients.
 
Pine Tree Legal Assistance received:
  • $75,270 to support expansion of the national veterans  legal assistance website, Stateside Legal, and develop new user-friendly tools specifically for women veterans in need of legal help.   
  • $62, 869 to develop web-based expert systems involving key legal issues associated with debt collection defense in Maine. These systems will be made accessible to both unrepresented litigants and legal aid staff.
Senator Angus S. King, Jr. said: "Pine Tree Legal Assistance provides critical legal support to low-income people across Maine who otherwise would have a difficult time affording the counsel and advice that they need. These grants will play a vital role in helping bolster the organization as it continues to provide high-quality legal services and further expands its reach in support of our women veterans."
 
Senator Susan Collins said, “Pine Tree Legal Assistance has been providing indispensable legal services to Mainers for many years. The generous LSC grant to expand online and web-based legal services will provide tailored assistance to Maine’s population of female veterans and increase access for the unrepresented.”
 
Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01) said, “This is important funding because it will help Maine people connect with legal aid in new and innovative ways through the use of technology. And I'm especially glad that these funds will help two groups of Maine people who often go without the legal assistance they need – women veterans and people who find themselves the target of a debt collector.”
 
Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc. is one of 38 recipients of 2014 LSC-TIG funding totaling nearly $3.5 million.
 
“This latest round of grants continues LSC’s history of leadership in expanding access to justice through innovations in technology,” said LSC president James J. Sandman. “The grants reflect the creativity and resourcefulness of legal aid programs in using technology to get assistance to people when and where they need it.”
 

Virginia:

Virginia Legal Aid Organizations Awarded $494,200 in Technology Initiative Grants
 
WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation today announced three legal aid organizations in Virginia will receive $494, 200 in total funding through the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program to develop a cloud-based software application, text messaging services, and automated systems to better serve low-income Virginians.
 
The TIG program supports legal aid organizations in developing, testing, and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high quality assistance in the full range of legal services for low-income clients.
 
Three legal aid nonprofits received TIG funding to develop the following projects:
  • $251,400 to Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Inc. to produce a cloud-based software application called JusticeServer that will improve case management for legal aid and pro bono attorneys. The system will allow multiple legal aid organizations to add cases to an online portal. Volunteer attorneys across a state or jurisdiction will be able to accept cases through the portal with no limitation on the number of organizations or users on either side.
  • $91,400 to Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Inc. to create the Virginia Legal Aid Help 2 Go Project, which will use text messaging to guide users to a mobile-friendly website that offers a series of video vignettes on family, consumer, and housing law matters in both English and Spanish.
  • $151,400 to Virginia Legal Aid Society to automate the telephone intake system to assess the type of service needed by the caller, route the caller to the most appropriate service, prioritize case types, and assemble data into the intake fields of the case management system.

Senator Tim Kaine said, “I’m happy to see that Legal Services Corp. awarded almost $500,000 in grants to three legal aid offices in Virginia. The grants will help implement much-needed technology upgrades to better serve Virginians seeking to access and navigate the legal system. With this new technology, dedicated legal aid staff will have the resources they need to coordinate casework, communicate with clients, and educate the public in both English and Spanish.”

 
“Congratulations to the awardees of the Legal Services Corporation technology initiative grants,” Senator Mark Warner said. “Technological innovation and entrepreneurship are crucial to moving our country forward. I want to thank these legal aid start-ups as well as the Legal Services Corporation for their efforts to provide critical services to all Virginians.”
 
Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Inc., Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Inc., and Virginia Legal Aid Society are three of 38 recipients of 2014 LSC-TIG funding totaling nearly $3.5 million.
 
“This latest round of grants continues LSC’s history of leadership in expanding access to justice through innovations in technology,” said LSC president James J. Sandman. “The grants reflect the creativity and resourcefulness of legal aid programs in using technology to get assistance to people when and where they need it.”
 

Florida:

Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. Awarded $104,756 Technology Initiative Grant to Support Development of Multilingual Online Intake System
 
WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) today announced Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. will receive $104,756 through the Technology Initiative Grants program to create an online intake system available in Creole, English, and Spanish.
 
The TIG program supports legal aid organizations in developing, testing, and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high quality assistance in the full range of legal services for low-income clients.
 
Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. will use the TIG grant to create a multi-program online intake system available in English, Spanish, and Creole to serve the predominant populations in the Miami area. The system will integrate with FloridaLawHelp.org, which provides legal service providers' contact information and legal information including self-help information, forms, and videos to assist low-income Floridians.  
 
Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24) said, “This grant from Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is much needed funding. It will allow Legal Services of Greater Miami  to improve its services to our immigrant rich district by expanding access to legal assistance through technology.”
 
Online intake allows prospective clients to apply for services at any time through the web, whether from home, at a library, or at a community center. The online intake system will also be integrated into Legal Services of Greater Miami Inc.’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.
 
“Legal Services of Greater Miami has played an important role in our community. They have been a leader in advocating for and helping our residents. I'm glad to see their leadership and services be recognized and supported,” Rep. Joe Garcia (FL-26) said. “Grants like this are critical to helping our community, especially the less fortunate who rely on these important programs in navigating the legal system. More importantly, as we combat national challenges like the immigration crisis, these funds allow people who might not otherwise know how to seek assistance, or be able to afford assistance, the ability to do so. I am grateful this grant from the Legal Services Corporation has been awarded for the benefit of my constituents and their families.”
 
Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. is one of 38 recipients of 2014 LSC-TIG funding totaling nearly $3.5 million.
 
“This latest round of grants continues LSC’s history of leadership in expanding access to justice through innovations in technology,” said LSC president James J. Sandman. “The grants reflect the creativity and resourcefulness of legal aid programs in using technology to get assistance to people when and where they need it.”
 

Ohio:

Ohio State Legal Services Association Awarded $735,200 Technology Initiative Grant to Support Legal Aid Website
 
WASHINGTON - The Legal Services Corporation announced today that Ohio State Legal Services Association will receive $735,200 through the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program to support its LawHelp Interactive website.
 
The TIG program supports legal aid organizations in developing, testing, and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high quality assistance in the full range of legal services for low-income clients.
 
Ohio State Legal Services Association will use the TIG grant to enhance LawHelp Interactive (LHI), a national online document assembly service that is used by self-represented individuals and legal services, court, pro bono, and law school programs in more than 40 states. Funds will also support the fine-tuning of LHI performance following the launch of a newly re-architected system and continue to support the adoption of online forms by new partners.
 
Senator Sherrod Brown said, “Ohioans have a right to high-quality legal counsel. Ohio’s legal aid organizations are leading the way in making sure that all have access to equal justice under the law, and this grant will support the work they already do by improving information sharing and increasing efficiency to better serve all Ohioans.”
 
Ohio State Legal Services’ LHI website features automated forms designed by legal aid, pro bono, and access-to-justice court programs, whose legal experts use HotDocs and A2J Author to make templates for the forms and documents.
 
Ohio State Legal Services Association partnered with Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit committed to increasing access to justice with technology, to develop the website, increasing opportunities for self-represented litigants to research their own legal assistance online, in addition to improving efficiency for access-to-justice programs.
 
Senator Rob Portman said, “LawHelp Interactive gives Ohioans and people across the country easy and understandable access to important legal services. I am pleased that the Legal Services Corporation has awarded this funding to the Ohio State Legal Services Association so that it can continue and improve the services LawHelp Interactive provides to people in need.”
 
Ohio State Legal Services Association is one of 38 recipients of 2014 LSC-TIG funding totaling nearly $3.5 million.
 
“This latest round of grants continues LSC’s history of leadership in expanding access to justice through innovations in technology,” said LSC president James J. Sandman. “The grants reflect the creativity and resourcefulness of legal aid programs in using technology to get assistance to people when and where they need it.” 
 

California:

Bay Area Legal Aid Awarded $168,324 Technology Initiative Grant to Support New Cloud-Based Communication Platform and Consumer Protection Program
 
WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation today announced Bay Area Legal Aid will receive $168,324 through the Technology Initiative Grants (TIG) program to support two projects focused on using cloud-based communication and automated technology to better reach low-income clients.
 
The TIG program supports legal aid organizations in developing, testing, and replicating technologies that improve efficiency and provide greater access to high quality assistance in the full range of legal services for low-income clients.
 
Bay Area Legal Aid received:
  • $53,990 to use a cloud-based communication platform that sends and receives text messages, allowing staff to connect directly to clients who prefer this mode of communication. The platform will also be used for scheduling appointments and sending reminders via text message.
  • $114,334 to use technology to automate manual tasks, including form preparation, to allow pro bono attorneys, law students, and staff attorneys to more efficiently assist self-represented individuals in consumer law cases. 
Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) said, “This important funding will enhance technology and communication so that clients can connect with legal aid in new ways. Everyone should be able to get quality legal assistance when he or she needs it, and these grants will help make that possible.”
 
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) said, “With these federal grant dollars, Bay Legal will be able to expand its legal services by implementing new technology that keeps clients better informed of their casework and optimizes the efforts of Bay Legal’s attorney’s to help their clients. I congratulate Bay Legal on this step forward.”
 
Bay Area Legal Aid is one of 38 recipients of 2014 LSC-TIG funding totaling nearly $3.5 million.
 
“This latest round of grants continues LSC’s history of leadership in expanding access to justice through innovations in technology,” said LSC president James J. Sandman. “The grants reflect the creativity and resourcefulness of legal aid programs in using technology to get assistance to people when and where they need it.”
 
 

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.